The opening round of the GUINNESS PRO12 saw an increase in crowds and tries as three of the league’s top contenders – the Ospreys, Glasgow Warriors and Ulster – all posted bonus point wins to kick off their campaigns.
In addition, Cardiff Blues strengthening of their squad paid dividends with a bonus point victory over Edinburgh which means they have won 11 of their last 15 GUINNESS PRO12 games dating back to last December.
Former champions Leinster and Munster also won their round 1 fixtures as the 34 tries scored on the weekend eclipsed last season’s figure of 29, while attendances were also up over 13,000 on last year’s total with 48,500 at PRO12 fixtures.
Five teams will play their first home games of the season in round 2 and after their defeat to the Ospreys, Zebre have remained in Wales to prepare for their visit to Rodney Parade to face the Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday night.
Defending champions Connacht will be looking to bounce back from their opening round defeat to Glasgow Warriors when they test the title credentials of the Ospreys in Galway.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 2 FIXTURES:
Friday, September 9 –
Newport Gwent Dragons (10th) v Zebre (12th), Rodney Parade, 7.15pm
MUNSTER (6th) v Cardiff Blues (4th), Irish Independent Park, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC 2 Wales)
Edinburgh (9th) v Scarlets (7th), BT Murrayfield, 7.35pm (live BBC ALBA)
Saturday, September 10 –
Glasgow Warriors (2nd) v LEINSTER (5th), Scotstoun Stadium, 3pm (live Sky Sports 3 HD)
Benetton Treviso (8th) v ULSTER (3rd), Stadio di Monigo, 6.05pm local time/5.05pm Irish time (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland)
CONNACHT (11th) v Ospreys (1st), the Sportsground, 7.35pm (live TG4/S4C)
Glasgow Warriors will run out on their new artificial surface at Scotstoun fresh from their bonus point win over Connacht by hosting four-time winners Leinster on Sky Sports 3.
Gregor Townsend is looking to get his men back to the top of the tree after winning their inaugural PRO12 title in 2015, but Leo Cullen’s men will be buoyed by the performance of debutant out-half Joey Carbery, who scored two tries against Benetton Treviso in round 1.
Leinster have also just brought in former England head coach Stuart Lancaster to their backroom team ahead of this highly-anticipated encounter in Scotland.
TOP PERFORMERS IN GUINNESS PRO12 ROUND 1 (Powered by Opta Statistics):
METRES GAINED –
Liam Williams (Scarlets) 166
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster) 134
Cian Kelleher (Leinster) 127
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 119
Dan Evans (Ospreys) 111
Liam Williams (Scarlets) 20
Sam Davies (Ospreys) 19
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 19
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 18
Olly Cracknell (Ospreys) 17
CLEAN BREAKS –
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 5
Jacob Stockdale (Ulster) 5
Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow Warriors) 4
Tomos Williams (Cardiff Blues) 3
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 3
DEFENDERS BEATEN –
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 7
Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow Warriors) 7
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 6
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) 6
Joey Carbery (Leinster) 6
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 3
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 3
Scott Williams (Scarlets) 3
Stuart Olding (Ulster) 3
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 3
TACKLES MADE –
Nic Cudd (Newport Gwent Dragons) 20
Billy Holland (Munster) 19
Lewis Evans (Newport Gwent Dragons) 17
Ed Jackson (Newport Gwent Dragons) 17
Tommy O’Donnell (Munster) 17
TURNOVERS WON –
Marco Barbini (Benetton Treviso) 3
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Cory Hill (Newport Gwent Dragons) 2
For more statistics, please visit www.pro12rugby.com/powered-by-opta