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GUINNESS PRO12: Round 9 Preview

GUINNESS PRO12: Round 9 Preview

As the international period draws to a close, Ireland are the only PRO12 Union to record three straight wins during the autumn. Victory over Australia combined with their earlier win over South Africa maintained their third place position in the World Rugby Rankings.

Scotland, Italy and Wales also recorded some good victories but will be seeking more consistency during the 2015 RBS 6 Nations and going forward into the Rugby World Cup.
On the domestic front, the pick of the GUINNESS PRO12 round 9 action must be 3rd v 2nd placed game between Munster and Ulster at Thomond Park on Friday night. Munster are the form team of the moment, while the Ulstermen have lost only one PRO12 game this season, so this is sure to be an epic contest.
The table-topping Ospreys have a tough ask as they visit the RDS on Saturday to face fifth-placed Leinster, a ground where their hosts have built a formidable record.

Leinster’s 24-all draw in Treviso last weekend was only the second occasion in PRO12 history where both teams have claimed a try-scoring bonus point in a drawn game, the other being Scarlets v Ulster in round 1 this season.
Should Leinster lose on Saturday the winners of the Connacht v Scarlets clash, later the same evening, will overtake them in the table. While current form may point to a home win for Pat Lam’s men, the Scarlets have not lost in the PRO12 at the Sportsground since 2011.
Glasgow Warriors, the final team in the play-off zone at present, wrap up the round on Sunday by hosting the Newport Gwent Dragons at Scotstoun Stadium, a venue where they have not lost a game since January. 
Following this round of league fixtures, attention will turn to Europe once again where PRO12 teams Glasgow Warriors and Munster lead two of the five pools in the Champions Cup, while Leinster are joint-top with Harlequins in their pool.

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Friday, November 28 –

Cardiff Blues (9th) v Benetton Treviso (12th), BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Wales/Nuvolari TV)

MUNSTER (3rd) v ULSTER (2nd), Thomond Park, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC 2 Northern Ireland)

Saturday, November 29 –

Zebre (11th) v Edinburgh (8th), Stadio XXV Aprile, 4pm local time (live Nuvolari TV)

LEINSTER (5th) v Ospreys (1st), the RDS, 5.15pm (live TG4/Sky Sports 2 HD)

CONNACHT (6th) v Scarlets (7th), the Sportsground, 7.30pm (live TG4/Sky Sports 2 HD)

Sunday, November 30 –

Glasgow Warriors (4th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (10th), Scotstoun Stadium, 4pm (live BBC ALBA/S4C)