The PRO12 returns with an unusual game schedule for Round 15. Leinster took a trip to Cardiff last night, no doubt due to Wales’ upcoming clash with France tonight, and with the exception of the Scarlets hosting Edinburgh on Saturday, all the other games are scheduled for Sunday. Having no teams named for any of these clashes as I write this, and most of the big talent away on international duty, a lot of these predictions are far from certainties and should be treated thusly.
Llanelli Scarlets vs Edinburgh
On Saturday Scarlets host Edinburgh. Not having the teams named forces me to go on form and history. Current home form for Scarlets is not good, having only beaten Ulster and Treviso there so far. Their record against Edinburgh is good, however, with six wins out of their last seven encounters. Edinburgh’s away record isn’t very exciting either so I think the Scarlets will pick up the win here.
Prediction: Scarlets by 8
Benetton Treviso vs Ulster
I’ve said it before many times – Treviso at home are a tricky game for any team. But this weekend both teams are down some key players who are away participating in vital Six Nations clashes. The question is, which team has more depth? The answer: Ulster.
Prediction: Ulster by 17
Newport Gwent Dragons vs Glasgow Warriors
Under normal circumstances I’d back Glasgow to win this, but this is their second game in a row on the road and that can be tiring for any team, let alone one decimated by international call-ups. Also, while Glasgow’s form is certainly better than the Dragons at the moment, it should be pointed out that Newport have already beaten Glasgow already this season in Scotstoun and will be looking to do a rare double over the Warriors this season. The counter argument is that Glasgow have set a new competition record after garnering seven consecutive away wins. They will no doubt be aiming to make that eight in a row. As always Glasgow throw a spanner in the works vis-à-vis my predictions, evidenced by their late surge to victory over the Blues last weekend. I’ve backed them to win here, so you know what that means….
Prediction: Glasgow by 5
Ospreys vs Munster
A visit to Liberty Stadium is no easy ask at any time, and certainly not for a Munster side who will be lacking the likes of Paul O’Connell and Connor Murray. Ospreys easily swept Treviso aside last weekend with a record rout of 75 points to 7. They’ll find Munster a tougher prospect but I reckon they’ll still carry the day.
Prediction: Ospreys by 10
Zebre vs Connacht
Under normal conditions, I’d probably be tempted to stump for a rare win for Zebre here, given that Connacht’s away record is usually very poor with this season being no exception. However, these aren’t normal conditions and Connacht always tend to perform better during the Six Nations and Autumn Internationals windows due to their lack of any significant contribution to their national side. They ran Glasgow close in Scotstoun a few weeks ago and surprised many to beat Edinburgh last weekend at the Sportsground. I think they’ll pick up their first away win of the season here.
Prediction: Connacht by 8
By John O’Brien (@tiptackler)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images