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GUINNESS PRO14: Round 3 Preview

GUINNESS PRO14: Round 3 Preview

Round 2 of the GUINNESS PRO14 continued the trend of games going down to the wire with two matches decided with last-gasp penalties, while just four teams are still unbeaten even at this early stage – Ulster, Benetton Rugby, Glasgow Warriors and the Ospreys.

Round 3 this weekend will provide more mouth-watering fixtures in the GUINNESS PRO14, including Glasgow Warriors travelling to the Toyota Cheetahs, the Scarlets entertaining Benetton Rugby, and Munster playing host to high-flying Ospreys.

The season may only be beginning but all sides will have their hopes on reaching the GUINNESS PRO14 final on Saturday, May 25 which will take place at Celtic Park – fans can book their places now by clicking here to get their hands on the best seats available.

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The action begins at BT Murrayfield tonight as Edinburgh entertain Connacht in a game that could be crucial in the race for a PRO14 final series spot. Edinburgh finished last season on fire but have lost each of their opening two matches, both on the road, against the Ospreys and Ulster.

The Scottish side will be keen to put that right against a Connacht team who had won four straight games between the teams prior to last year’s 29-22 Edinburgh success at the Sportsground. The westerners have also won on three of their last four visits to BT Murrayfield.

Saturday’s schedule begins in west Wales where the Scarlets host in-form Benetton Rugby. The Scarlets come into the game in confident mood after their narrow win over champions Leinster last time out. That was some form of revenge for defeat in last May’s final and was an important win after succumbing to Ulster in round 1.

Benetton, meanwhile, will still be bouncing from Tommaso Allan’s last-gasp conversion that saw them beat Cardiff Blues and go top of Conference B. Their recent record against Welsh opposition is good, including a victory over the Scarlets in Treviso in February.

Leinster return to the RDS on Saturday against Bernard Jackman’s Dragons, with both teams having won one and lost one so far. Leinster have been virtually unbeatable at home in recent times – Benetton are the only side to come away from Dublin with a win of the last 15 teams to travel to the Irish capital.

The Dragons were victorious away to Leinster in 2015 – their only away win over the province – but they come in with confidence following victory over the Isuzu Southern Kings. Jackman also returns to the team he played for as the Dragons director of rugby looks to get one over former team-mate Leo Cullen.

The first encounter of the PRO14 season in South Africa will take place in Bloemfontein where the Toyota Cheetahs entertain Glasgow Warriors. This was one of the games of last season as the Warriors became the first team to win away to the Cheetahs, earning a 29-26 success.

The Warriors, under Dave Rennie, have made a strong start to the current campaign with triumphs away to Connacht and at home to Munster to date. However, they take on a Cheetahs side who were beaten just twice on their own patch in all of their debut year. This is also a clash between two of last year’s final series teams in Conference A.

On Saturday evening Zebre entertain Cardiff Blues in Parma with both teams looking to bounce back from defeats in round 2. Zebre saw their four-match winning streak in the competition ended away to Connacht, while the Blues were downed by that dramatic Allan conversion away to Benetton.

John Mulvihill’s Cardiff charges are still searching for a first win of the campaign, having come out on the wrong side of two heart-breaking finishes so far. Zebre will have fond memories of playing the Blues, it was against the Welsh side that they won their first ever match in the competition.

Round 3 concludes on Sunday when the Kings host Ulster in Port Elizabeth. Ulster won a 79-point thriller the first time these two met in South Africa, at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium last November. They have picked up two late wins under new head coach Dan McFarland and face a Kings side who will take some confidence from their two bonus points in a defeat to the Dragons.

In the pick of the round, Munster will be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s loss to Glasgow when they welcome the Ospreys to Irish Independent Park. Munster have lost just once at home in any competition since February 2017, but the Ospreys are on a roll thanks to two straight wins over Edinburgh and the Cheetahs. This could turn out to be a crucial clash in the race for final series spots in Conference A, even at this early stage in the season.


Friday, September 14 –

Edinburgh (6th, Con B) v CONNACHT (3rd. Con A), BT Murrayfield, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 2/highlights TG4)

MUNSTER (4th, Con A) v Ospreys (1st, Con A), Irish Independent Park, 7.35pm (live eir Sport 1/TG4/Premier Sports)

Saturday, September 15 –

Scarlets (5th, Con B) v Benetton Rugby (1st, Con B), Parc y Scarlets, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports/S4C/eir Sport 2/DAZN)

LEINSTER (3rd, Con B) v Dragons (4th, Con B), the RDS, 5.15pm (live eir Sport 1/TG4/Premier Sports)

Toyota Cheetahs (7th, Con A) v Glasgow Warriors (2nd, Con A), Toyota Stadium, 7.30pm local time (live SuperSport 1/eir Sport 2/Free Sports)

Zebre (5th, Con A) v Cardiff Blues (6th, Con A), Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 8.35pm local time (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 1/DAZN)

Sunday, September 16 –

Isuzu Southern Kings (7th, Con B) v ULSTER (2nd, Con B), Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, 2.15pm local time/1.15pm Irish time (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 2/SuperSport 1)



John Cooney (Ulster) 35
Simon Hickey (Edinburgh) 25
Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby) 23
Jack Carty (Connacht) 23
Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) 21


George North (Ospreys) 3
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) 2
Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Bryan Byrne (Leinster) 2
Paul Boyle (Connacht) 2

Jason Harries (Cardiff Blues) 2
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 2
Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 2
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) 2
Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby) 2


Jordan Williams (Dragons) 272
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 271
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 214
Will Addison (Ulster) 181
George North (Ospreys) 172


Will Addison (Ulster) 43
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 35
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 34

Bill Mata (Edinburgh) 33
Rhys Ruddock (Leinster) 31
Jack Dixon (Dragons) 31


George North (Ospreys) 6
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 5
Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) 5
Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) 5
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby) 5
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 5


George North (Ospreys) 12
Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) 11
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 11
Jordan Williams (Dragons) 10
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) 9
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby) 9
Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) 9


Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 7
Will Addison (Ulster) 5
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 5

Nico Lee (Toyota Cheetahs) 4
DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors) 3
Alberto Sgarbi (Benetton Rugby) 3
Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby) 3
Carlo Canna (Zebre) 3
Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton Rugby) 3
Jack Dixon (Dragons) 3
Hallam Amos (Dragons) 3
Ruan Lerm (Isuzu Southern Kings) 3
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) 3
Rory O’Loughlin (Leinster) 3
Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby) 3


Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 39
Tommy O’Donnell (Munster) 36
Arno Botha (Munster) 36
Rhys Ruddock (Leinster) 33

James Davies (Scarlets) 30


Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 5
James Davies (Scarlets) 5
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) 5
Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Toyota Cheetahs) 4
Cian Kelleher (Connacht) 3
Rhys Ruddock (Connacht) 3
Paul Boyle (Connacht) 3
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 3

Marco Barbini (Benetton Rugby) 3
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 3


Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 3
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) 3
Junior Sipato Pokomela (Toyota Cheetahs) 2
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Paul Boyle (Connacht) 1
JP du Preez (Toyota Cheetahs) 1
George Biagi (Zebre) 1
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) 1
Cory Hill (Dragons) 1
Scott Fardy (Leinster) 1
Iain Henderson (Ulster) 1

Ryan Bevington (Dragons) 1
Seb Davies (Cardiff Blues) 1
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) 1
Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby) 1
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh)
John-Charles Astle (Isuzu Southern Kings) 1

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