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RaboDirect PRO12: Round 8 Preview

RaboDirect PRO12: Round 8 Preview

After a weekend that saw the Ospreys fall to their first defeat of the season and Benetton Treviso gain their first ever try-scoring bonus point, the top four teams in the RaboDirect PRO12 stayed the same.

Two of those teams, Leinster and Munster, face each other in what must be the biggest game of the weekend, if only in crowd size, in the round 8 clash at the Aviva Stadium.

Fortune must favour the home team, who have not lost any game they have played at the Lansdowne Road venue since 2006, however the visitors are the reigning league champions and have been successful in their last six interprovincial derbies.

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With Rugby World Cup stars returning to action, this promises to be the tie of the round.

In the only other game on Friday night, the fourth-placed Cardiff Blues will be looking to maintain their presence in the top four when they travel to Welsh rivals the Newport Gwent Dragons.

The Dragons currently have an excellent record at Rodney Parade where they will be celebrating the opening of their new stand.

The remaining round 8 matches all take place on Saturday, with two games in Italy in the afternoon, both involving Scottish opposition – Aironi host Glasgow Warriors and Benetton Treviso welcome Edinburgh.

After the impressive victory Treviso recorded in the last round against the Dragons, Edinburgh cannot be looking forward to the journey, especially as each side won its respective home game last season.

Glasgow Warriors on the other hand, with a won 4, lost 3 record so far this season, will be looking to improve on the margin of victory they achieved on their last trip to Aironi when they won by just a single point.

The remaining two games are Welsh and Irish derby clashes, the Ospreys facing the Scarlets and Ulster hosting Connacht.

Victory over the table-topping Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium will be a tough ask for the Scarlets who have only won there once before in 2007.

Connacht’s record against Ulster, especially in Belfast, is not good, however their hosts lost their unbeaten record to Benetton Treviso last time out at Ravenhill. Ulster and Ospreys are both still searching for that elusive 100th league win.


Friday, November 4 –

Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Wales)

LEINSTER v MUNSTER, Aviva Stadium, 8pm (live TG4)

Saturday, November 5 –

Aironi Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, Stadio Zaffanella, 2.30pm

Benetton Treviso v Edinburgh, Stadio Monigo, 3pm

ULSTER v CONNACHT, Ravenhill, 5.35pm (BBC 2 Northern Ireland/RTÉ Two)

Ospreys v Scarlets, Liberty Stadium, 6.30pm (live S4C)