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GUINNESS PRO14: Round 13 Preview

GUINNESS PRO14: Round 13 Preview

The GUINNESS PRO14 has plenty of story lines to offer in round 13 with more Welsh and Irish derbies on the fixture list, while the South African teams return to action after their winter break.

The festive derbies drew bumper crowds with close to 150,000 attending during rounds 11 and 12 across Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Round 12 also saw a number of nail-biting finishes with Cardiff Blues v Scarlets, Leinster v Connacht and Zebre v Benetton going right down to the final play of the game.

This weekend the northern teams will look to cement their places before returning to European action, while the Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings will face each other in back-to-back games after their trips to Italy and Scotland.

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The Southern Kings return to GUINNESS PRO14 action with a trip to Scotland to face Edinburgh, who will be buoyed by their derby win over Glasgow Warriors in round 11, and the Scots will be keenly aware that they could close the gap on third-placed Ulster. Although the Kings have been improving, Richard Cockerill’s men are in form and chasing their tentth win out of 12 games in all competitions.

Reigning champions, the Scarlets, entertain the Dragons having shown some serious grit in the previous derby clashes with the Ospreys and Cardiff Blues to stay on top of Conference B. The Scarlets are just two points ahead of second-placed Leinster and have not lost in their last 16 home outings in the Championship.

The Dragons, however, will provide plenty of muscle in this contest having performed well in their past two derbies despite losing both, and if Wayne Pivac’s table toppers take their eye off the ball then the visitors may well spring a shock.  

On Saturday, Benetton Rugby take on the Toyota Cheetahs after two wins over Zebre. This out-of-Conference fixture will have an impact on both teams with the hosts trying to stay in touch with Edinburgh, who currently occupy the Champions Cup play-off place in Conference B, while the South Africans have some ground to make up on Munster who are second in Conference A. If Benetton can get a win here, it will be their third consecutive Championship victory, a feat they last achieved in 2012.

Munster take on Connacht at Thomond Park and the hosts need to regain momentum after losses to both Leinster and Ulster in recent rounds. The men in red have lost all four of their interprovincial derbies in the PRO14 this season, including away to Connacht in the reverse fixture.

History is against the westerners with Connacht having won just two away derby games in the history of the Championship, but Kieran Keane’s side have improved over the past six weeks and they will draw inspiration from Connacht’s 2015 victory at the Limerick ground.

The Ospreys face Cardiff Blues in Swansea and this will an intense match-up between two sides will plenty to play for. Despite a slow start to the season, the Ospreys can still make up ground to get into the Champions Cup play-off position. The Blues will be keen to qualify automatically and their current hold on fourth place would be enough to make it into the Champions Cup if the Cheetahs, who are ineligible, finish above them.

The Conference B meeting of Leinster and Ulster will have a bearing on the title ambitions of both teams with Leinster, in second, looking to stretch the gap between themselves and Ulster in third. After a record defeat to Connacht in round 11, Ulster produced a record comeback against Munster in round 12 and the stakes are high going into this game in Dublin.

Leinster enjoyed back-to-back wins over Munster and Connacht and need another victory here to keep on the heels of the pace-setting Scarlets. This promises to be a fiery affair with so much at stake for both teams and their players, who are eager to impress ahead of Europe and the Six Nations.


Friday, January 5 –

Edinburgh (4th, Con B) v Southern Kings (7th, Con B), Myreside, 7.35pm (live BBC ALBA/SuperSport 1)

Scarlets (1st, Con B) v Dragons (6th, Con B), Parc y Scarlets, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Wales)

Saturday, January 6 –

Benetton Rugby (5th, Con B) v Toyota Cheetahs (3rd, Con A), Stadio di Monigo, 2.15pm local time (live Eurosport Italia/SuperSport 1)

Ospreys (7th, Con A) v Cardiff Blues (4th, Con A), Liberty Stadium, 3.15pm (live S4C/Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Action)

Zebre (6th, Con A) v Glasgow Warriors (1st, Con A), Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 4.30pm local time (live Eurosport Italia/BBC ALBA)

LEINSTER (2nd, Con B) v ULSTER (3rd, Con B), the RDS, 5.35pm (live TG4/BBC 2 Northern Ireland/Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Action)

MUNSTER (2nd, Con A) v CONNACHT (5th, Con A), Thomond Park, 7.45pm (live TG4)



Carlo Canna (Zebre) 87
Ross Byrne (Leinster) 86
Jack Carty (Connacht) 85

Gavin Henson (Dragons) 77
John Cooney (Ulster) 75


Makazole Mapimpi (Toyota Cheetahs) 9
Angelo Esposito (Benetton Rugby) 7
Alex Wootton (Munster) 7
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh) 6
Mattia Bellini (Zebre) 5
Elliot Dee (Dragons) 5
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 5
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 5
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 5
Rory O’Loughlin (Leinster) 5
Steff Evans (Scarlets) 5
Andrew Trimble (Ulster) 5
Torsten van Jaarsveld (Toyota Cheetahs) 5


Steff Evans (Scarlets) 8
Luke McGrath (Leinster) 7
John Cooney (Ulster) 6

Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 6


Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 945
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 816
Tiernan O’Halloran (Connacht) 804
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 747
Matteo Minozzi (Zebre) 715


Tom Farrell (Connacht) 156
Olly Cracknell (Ospreys) 151
Bundee Aki (Connacht) 149
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 138

Tommaso Castello (Zebre) 126


Makazole Mapimpi (Toyota Cheetahs) 19
Mattia Bellini (Zebre) 17
Steff Evans (Scarlets) 16
Jeff Hassler (Ospreys) 14
John Cooney (Ulster) 14
Giulio Bisegni (Zebre) 14


Tom Farrell (Connacht) 44
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 43

Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 37
Ashton Hewitt (Dragons) 37
Alex Wootton (Munster) 36


John Cooney (Ulster) 827
Marcello Violi (Zebre) 800
Kieran Marmion (Connacht) 796
Tom Habberfield (Ospreys) 700
Luke McGrath (Leinster) 454
Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues) 454


Tom Farrell (Connacht) 34
Charles Piutau (Ulster) 21

Steff Evans (Scarlets) 20
Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 19
Alex Wootton (Munster) 18


Carlo Canna (Zebre) 84
Jack Carty (Connacht) 80
Gavin Henson (Dragons) 77
Sam Davies (Ospreys) 73
Ian Keatley (Munster) 70


James Benjamin (Dragons) 146
Olly Cracknell (Ospreys) 143
Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Blues) 132
Andisa Ntsila (Southern Kings) 132
Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues) 130


Reniel Hugo (Toyota Cheetahs) 56
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) 41
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) 40
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) 37
Cory Hill (Dragons) 36


Tadhg Beirne (Scarlets) 20
Carlo Canna (Zebre) 11
Nick Williams (Cardiff Blues) 11
Derick Minnie (Zebre) 10
Josh van der Flier (Leinster) 9
Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) 9
Will Boyde (Scarlets) 9

For more statistics, please visit www.pro14rugby.org/powered-by-opta