Guinness PRO14 2017/18: Round 7 Predictions

Rugby Predictions

Connacht v Munster

After just one victory in their opening six domestic matches, European rugby proved a welcome respite for Kieran Keane’s Connacht side as they return to Pro14 action in high spirits following back-to-back Challenge Cup wins. Opponents Munster will be looking to consolidate a solid start that sees them sit second in Conference A with four wins from six matches, although they did suffer defeat to Leinster last time out. A tough trip for the Munstermen, but given Connacht’s struggles this season they should shade this one. Munster by 6

Glasgow v Southern Kings

Table-toppers Glasgow will expect to maintain their 100% record in the Pro14 this season, against the only side in the competition without a win this campaign. The Southern Kings lie bottom of Conference B without any match points and it is difficult to see them posing any sort of threat to Glasgow’s unbeaten start on Friday at Scotstoun. Having gone down to consecutive defeats in the Champions Cup over the last two weekends, Dave Rennie will be expecting a big performance from his men. Glasgow by 24

Ospreys v Dragons

Steve Tandy’s Ospreys side return to domestic action hoping that their impressive displays in Europe will provide the momentum to kickstart their domestic campaign. Despite losing to Clermont and Saracens, the Ospreys produced some of their best rugby of the season so far against two of the favourites for this season’s Champions Cup. The Dragons may have only won two of six matches domestically but there have been signs of improvement under coach Bernard Jackman, and having solved their away day problems with victory in Europe last week they will be hoping to do the same in the Pro14 at the Liberty this weekend. Given both sides’ starts to the season this could be a tight contest, but the Ospreys should prevail for an overdue win. Ospreys by 8

Benetton v Edinburgh

Just a matter of weeks after the Italians secured a surprise win in the Scottish capital, Benetton and Edinburgh meet again this time in Treviso. The two sides have had contrasting fortunes since their last meeting with Edinburgh winning just one of their next three Pro14 matches, whilst Kieran Crowley’s Benetton have won two of their three matches. With identical records in the league this season they sit alongside each other in mid-table in Conference B, so this could have the makings of an interesting game. Benetton are a tough nut to crack at home but Richard Cockerill’s side are out for revenge and could sneak this one. Edinburgh by 2

Zebre v Cheetahs

Zebre have had a promising start to the season with two wins from six games leaving them fourth in Conference A. Their opponents the Cheetahs have been by far the most entertaining side in the competition this season running in plenty of tries that have seen them win three of their six matches. Having ran in 13 tries in their previous meeting this season – a 54-39 Cheetahs win in Bloemefontein – many will be hoping for an equally exciting game, although with Zebre having beaten Ulster already at home this season, the Italian side have proven they are no mugs on their own patch. The Cheetahs are a classy team in attack and may have just too much firepower for their hosts. Cheetahs by 7

Ulster v Leinster

Two sides both on 23 points in the table after five wins so far, something will have to give when Leinster travel to the Kingspan this weekend. Ulster go into the match looking to preserve an unbeaten home record this season but with some of Leinster’s big-hitters like Jonny Sexton building up their match sharpness, Leo Cullen’s men are likely to step it up a gear over the coming weeks. An intriguing match-up that could swing either way but the home support might just edge it for Ulster. Ulster by 5

Scarlets v Blues

The second Welsh derby of the weekend sees two sides at opposite ends of their respective conferences go head-to-head at Parc Y Scarlets. Wayne Pivac’s Scarlets may have a lot of work to do in Europe after consecutive Champions Cup defeats but they will be happy to return to Pro14 action where they lead the way in Conference B with five wins from six as they look to repeat last season’s title-winning success. The Blues have had a tough start but seem to be gradually improving with each game having won their last three matches in all competitions including a big comeback win over local rivals the Dragons in round six. The Scarlets did the double over the Blues last season, and it is difficult to see any change in fortunes this time around for the Capital region. Scarlets by 12

By Jon Davies

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