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GUINNESS PRO14: Round 2 Preview

GUINNESS PRO14: Round 2 Preview

Rugby did all the talking on the opening weekend of the GUINNESS PRO14 with expansive rugby and nail-biting finishes on offer in equal measure.

In all, 10 bonus points were won – a tally that equals the record for most in a round – while round 1 saw wins for both Italian teams, Benetton Rugby and Zebre, in their season openers for the first time. Fans in Cardiff, Galway and Belfast were treated to results that went right to the wire as every game was broadcast live in the UK by Premier Sports with eir Sport (Republic of Ireland) and DAZN (Italy) also making their debuts.

Round 2 will have a lot to live up to, but with a host of mouth-watering fixtures the GUINNESS PRO14 will be up to the test with Glasgow Warriors hosting Munster, the Scarlets welcoming Leinster to west Wales and Ulster facing Edinburgh just some of this weekend’s headline matches.

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The season may only be beginning but all sides will have their hopes on reaching the PRO14 final on Saturday, May 25 which will take place at Celtic Park in Glasgow – the first time the showpiece decider will be played outside of a rugby venue. However, fans can book their places now by clicking here to get their hands on the best seats available.

On Friday night Munster take on Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium in a game that will have lasting consequences in Conference A come the end of the season with both of these former champions eager to make another title run. Munster hold a good record over Warriors, but Dave Rennie’s men are formidable at home having won all fixtures last year in the regular season at Scotstoun, failing just once to collect a try-scoring bonus point.

Pipped to a PRO14 final series spot last season by this weekend’s opponents, Ulster will host Edinburgh at Kingspan Stadium aiming to build on their opening win over the Scarlets. Back-to-back victories would be a great way to start the new era under Dan McFarland, but Richard Cockerill’s charges will be fully focused for this Conference B clash. Ulster have won their last six games at Kingspan Stadium, but Edinburgh will be buoyed by their two wins on Irish soil last season over Connacht and Ulster.

On Saturday the Dragons will be out to make amends against the Isuzu Southern Kings at Rodney Parade, following their opening round defeat to Benetton Rugby. The Kings, however, will be encouraged by their performance in the loss to Zebre, and having already beaten the Dragons in Port Elizabeth, they may sense an opportunity to win their first away game in the PRO14.

Connacht have their second home outing of the campaign when they entertain Zebre at the Sportsground. Zebre head coach Michael Bradley returns to his old stomping ground having instilled a free-flowing attacking game at the Parma club who have won their previous three encounters with the westerners and their last four PRO14 games. Connacht, however, are looking to right the ship and showed plenty of encouraging signs under new head coach Andy Friend in their narrow defeat to Glasgow Warriors last Saturday. 

The Ospreys will look to build on their victory over Edinburgh by seeing off the Toyota Cheetahs at the Liberty Stadium, with the South Africans needing to regroup quickly after a heavy defeat to Munster. George North racked up two tries on his debut for the Ospreys and his new region will want to continue that vein of form in order to put the disappointment of last season behind them. 

If Benetton Rugby can get a positive result against Cardiff Blues in Treviso, then the Stadio di Monigo will continue to regain its former position as one of the toughest places to play on the fixture list. In Benetton’s opening season in the Championship they were robust at home, and if they can emulate that it would go some way to lifting their challenge for a PRO14 final series place. However, the Blues showed plenty of attacking intent against Leinster and harbour their own end-of-season ambitions.

For the second weekend in a row defending champions Leinster make the trip to Wales, this time to face the Scarlets in Llanelli. These teams met in last season’s final and are the two most recent champions of the PRO14 and during that time they have built up a very tasty rivalry.

The Scarlets’ recent form against the Irish provinces has not been what they want it to be, but Leinster have not won at Parc y Scarlets since 2013 and can expect to face a fired-up home team eager to make up for last weekend’s late 15-13 loss away to Ulster.


Friday, September 7 –

Glasgow Warriors (3rd, Con A) v MUNSTER (1st, Con A), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 1/highlights TG4)

ULSTER (3rd, Con B) v Edinburgh (6th, Con B), Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 2)

Saturday, September 8 –

Dragons (5th, Con B) v Isuzu Southern Kings (7th, Con B), Rodney Parade, 3pm (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 1/SuperSport 6)

CONNACHT (6th, Con A) v Zebre (2nd, Con A), the Sportsground, 5.15pm (live TG4/Premier Sports/DAZN)

Ospreys (4th, Con A) v Toyota Cheetahs (7th, Con A), Liberty Stadium, 5.30pm (live Premier Sports/S4C/eir Sport 2/SuperSport 1)

Scarlets (4th, Con B) v LEINSTER (1st, Con B), Parc y Scarlets, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 1/TG4)

Benetton Rugby (2nd, Con B) v Cardiff Blues (5th, Con A), Stadio di Monigo, 8.35pm local time (live DAZN/Free Sports)



Jack Carty (Connacht) 16
John Cooney (Ulster) 15
JJ Hanrahan (Munster) 13

Carlo Canna (Zebre) 12
Masixole Banda (Isuzu Southern Kings) 11


Bryan Byrne (Leinster) 2
Jason Harries (Cardiff Blues) 2
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 2
George North (Ospreys) 2
Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby) 2


Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) 2


Cian Kelleher (Connacht) 141
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 134

George North (Ospreys) 133
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 117
Dave Kearney (Leinster) 111


Rhys Ruddock (Leinster) 17
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 17
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 16
Caolin Blade (Connacht) 16

Bill Mata (Edinburgh) 16


Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 5
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 5
George North (Ospreys) 4
Jason Harries (Cardiff Blues) 3
Tian Schoeman (Toyota Cheetahs) 3
Cian Kelleher (Connacht) 3
Arno Botha (Munster) 3
Dave O’Callaghan (Munster) 3

Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) 3


Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 8
George North (Ospreys) 7
Jarrad Butler (Connacht) 6
Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) 6
Mattia Bellini (Zebre) 5
Dave O’Callaghan (Munster) 5
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) 5
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 5
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 5
Rhodri Williams (Dragons) 5


John Cooney (Ulster) 104
Rhodri Williams (Dragons) 81
Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) 79
Shaun Venter (Toyota Cheetahs) 77
Aled Davies (Ospreys) 72


Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 4
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 4
Albert Sgarbi (Benetton Rugby) 3
Carlo Canna (Zebre) 3
Will Addison (Ulster) 3
Nico Lee (Toyota Cheetahs) 3
Rory O’Loughlin (Leinster) 3


John Cooney (Ulster) 14
Masixole Banda (Isuzu Southern Kings) 12
Luke McGrath (Leinster) 11
Billy Burns (Ulster) 10

Carlo Canna (Zebre) 8


James King (Ospreys) 22
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 20
David Bulbring (Scarlets) 20
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) 19
Scott Otten (Ospreys) 18
Alberto Sgarbi (Benetton Rugby) 18
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 18
James Davies (Scarlets) 18


Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Toyota Cheetahs) 4
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 4
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) 4
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 3
James Davies (Scarlets) 3

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