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GUINNESS PRO12: Round 15 Preview

GUINNESS PRO12: Round 15 Preview

All four teams in the GUINNESS PRO12 play-off zone won last weekend – Ulster remain top of the table, but a bonus point win by Connacht drew them level on league points, and as both teams have 10 wins apiece they are separated purely on points difference in their matches played.

The Scarlets could be considered the unluckiest losers. Despite beating Edinburgh by the narrowest of margins, they dropped to fourth place, level with Leinster on points but Leo Cullen’s men still have a game in hand over their top four opponents.
Round 15 of this weekend’s GUINNESS PRO12 opens with three fixtures on Friday night. Glasgow Warriors break new PRO12 ground with the move to Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, for their game against sixth-placed Munster. Warriors have two games in hand compared to many of their opponents and will be looking to turn that advantage into points on their quest to finish in the top four.
Also on Friday night the Ospreys host Edinburgh, a bonus point victory could see the Welshmen overtake their Scottish opponents in the table, but European Champions Cup qualification is more complicated as there must be a representative from each country in the PRO12 in the final mix.
Benetton Treviso will be looking for a second consecutive home victory when the Newport Gwent Dragons are the visitors to Stadio di Monigo and reclaim ground on Zebre who face joint leaders Connacht in Parma a day later.

Treviso’s first triumph of the 2015/16 campaign pulled them to within seven points of Zebre and the Italian qualification spot for next season’s Champions Cup. The gap between the two Italians is closing but to date, Zebre have recorded more victories than their compatriots.
Cardiff Blues will want to put their round 14 defeat at the hands of Treviso behind them when they face Leinster on Saturday. Danny Wilson’s team will need to be at the top of their game to overcome Cullen’s side who are back on form following their 52-0 thrashing of Zebre.
The round wraps up in Belfast on Sunday with table-topping Ulster hosting the fourth-placed Scarlets at Kingspan Stadium. Only one point separates the teams in the table and the result of this clash could see yet another set of changes in the potential make-up of the PRO12 play-offs.
The GUINNESS PRO12 final will take place at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Saturday, May 28. See www.pro12rugby.com for ticket details.

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Friday, February 19 –

Ospreys (7th) v Edinburgh (5th), Liberty Stadium, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Wales/BBC Sport Scotland)

Benetton Treviso (12th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (10th), Stadio di Monigo, 7.10pm local time (live Rai Sport)

Glasgow Warriors (8th) v MUNSTER (6th), Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, 7.35pm (live Sky Sports 5 HD)

Saturday, February 20 –

Cardiff Blues (9th) v LEINSTER (3rd), BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 3pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)

Zebre (11th) v CONNACHT (2nd), Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 5.30pm local time/4.30pm Irish time (live Rai Sport/TG4)

Sunday, February 21 –

ULSTER (1st) v Scarlets (4th), Kingspan Stadium, 2.30pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/S4C)