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Magners League: Round 18 Preview

Magners League: Round 18 Preview

With only five full rounds of games remaining the competition for the Magners League title is hotting up with some intriguing ties in this weekend’s Round 18 games.

Defending Champions Ulster have a free weekend – which could allow Leinster to extend their lead at the top of the table when they travel to Glasgow Warriors in one of Friday night’s three games. Leinster may have five wins on the bounce in the league and only one defeat since October, but the Scottish team has a strong home record and will have the motivation that a win could take them above Edinburgh in the table and put them in pole position to finish as top Scottish side.

That quest would be helped by a Newport Gwent Dragons win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield. The Welsh region come into the game on the back of their European Challenge Cup quarter final win last weekend and will be looking for a League double over Edinburgh – although they have not won at Murrayfield since October 2004.

Friday’s third game is at Stradey Park with the Scarlets – gearing up for a Heineken Cup semi-final against Leicester Tigers – facing the Border Reivers who will be playing their last few games as one of Scotland’s three Magners League sides. The Scarlets, with games in hand over the top sides, will still be eyeing a late run towards title contention and victory over the Reivers would see them equal Munster’s all time league record of 15 successive undefeated home matches. For the Reivers, Friday night offers the last chance to record their first ever win in Wales.

Saturday’s two games see Welsh v Irish clashes with The Ospreys trying to inflict more Welsh misery on Munster after the Irish Province’s European exit to the Scarlets last weekend. A bonus point win for the Ospreys would lift them into second place and although Munster have beaten the Ospreys on five of the last six occasion that they have met in all competitions the Welsh Region have won their last eight Magners League matches at Liberty Stadium.

The round’s final game has the Cardiff Blues travelling to the Sportsground in Galway with the Welsh Region still harbouring title hopes. They are nine points behind second placed Ulster with three games in hand and, having lost just once to Connacht in their last seven meetings will see Saturday evening as a chance to propel themselves right into the title race.

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