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RaboDirect PRO12: Round 9 Preview

RaboDirect PRO12: Round 9 Preview

The two-week break for European competition has seen the RaboDirect PRO12 teams return with an impressive record having performed well in both cup competitions.

Edinburgh, Leinster and the Scarlets top three of the Heineken Cup pools, with the Ospreys sharing the lead in a fourth, while the Newport Gwent Dragons head their pool in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

In the top tier competition, RaboDirect PRO12 teams have won 11 of the 18 games played against teams from other European leagues, with the Welsh regions doing particularly well as they have not yet lost a game.

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The RaboDirect PRO12 action resumes on Thursday at the Cardiff City Stadium where the Blues face Aironi Rugby.

Cardiff, who find themselves sitting second to Edinburgh in their European pool, will be aiming for a double over their Italian opponents this season, and in the process perhaps reclaiming their place in the play-off zone.

The following evening sees an intriguing Welsh derby with the Scarlets hosting the Dragons at Parc y Scarlets. Both teams have performed well over the past two European weekends.

The Scarlets, along with Edinburgh, are one of only two teams in Europe’s premier tournament to have claimed nine out of a possible 10 match points, so this promises to be an intriguing fixture as the Dragons themselves are also unbeaten in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Also on Friday, Ulster will be hoping to get back to winning ways after losing away to Leicester Tigers in round 2 of the Heineken Cup. Their opponents, Glasgow Warriors, will have home advantage and will be looking to continue their good start which has seen them climb to fourth in the table.

The Ospreys, top of the table for the fourth round running, travel to Connacht on Saturday a ground where the visitors have not lost since May 2008.

The Ospreys were the only Welsh region not to win in Europe last weekend, being held to a thrilling 26-26 draw by Benetton Treviso.

Treviso are also in league action themselves on Saturday, welcoming the reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster, to the Stadio di Monigo.

The Italian outfit have started the league well this season, with four wins from eight, and are currently just outside the play-off zone. Leinster need no reminding that Treviso won this same fixture last season.

The round wraps up in Limerick where reigning league champions Munster, having slipped to third in the table, will be looking for a home victory to get their campaign back on track, however they face a resurgent Edinburgh, who are heading Pool 2 in the Heineken Cup.


Friday, November 25 –

Scarlets v Newport Gwent Dragons, Parc y Scarlets, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Wales)

Cardiff Blues v Aironi Rugby, Cardiff City Stadium, 7.30pm (live S4C)

Glasgow Warriors v ULSTER, Firhill Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/RTÉ Two/BBC ALBA)

Saturday, November 26 –

Benetton Treviso v LEINSTER, Stadio di Monigo, 3pm local time/2pm Irish time (live RTÉ Two/Rai Sport)

CONNACHT v Ospreys, the Sportsground, 6.30pm (live TG4/S4C)

MUNSTER v Edinburgh, Thomond Park, 8.30pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)