Round 3 of the GUINNESS PRO14 was a record-breaking affair with a remarkable 51 tries across the seven matches at an average of more than seven per game.
Glasgow Warriors and Ulster are now the only remaining unbeaten sides in the competition, while arguably the most impressive performance was Zebre coming from 21-0 down to beat Cardiff Blues in dramatic fashion in Parma. Round 4 will see the unbeaten pair of Glasgow and Ulster away in South Africa, and Munster travel to Cardiff in a potentially exciting game on Friday night.
The season may still be in its early stages but all sides will have their hopes on reaching the GUINNESS PRO14 final on Saturday, May 25 which will take place at Celtic Park in Glasgow – fans can book their places now by clicking here.
The round 4 action begins on Friday in Bloemfontein when Ulster travel to take on the Toyota Cheetahs at Toyota Stadium. Following last week’s victory over the Isuzu Southern Kings, Ulster are now three from three in the competition and looking good under new head coach Dan McFarland.
John Cooney was the star of their first two victories before a more comfortable 28-7 win in Port Elizabeth and they will be keen to finish their South African trip on a high in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs come into the game off the back of a high-scoring loss to Glasgow. While they started very well, the five second half tries conceded will be a concern and something Franco Smith’s men cannot afford a repeat of in this fixture.
The second match on Friday sees Cardiff host Munster at Cardiff Arms Park. The Blues are still searching for a first win of the season but they will wonder how they have not yet managed it, with a points difference of just -5 across those three losses.
The last one will have hurt the most, letting a 21-0 lead slip to Zebre and they will be keen to put things right at home to Munster. While the province have won on four of their last six visits to the Arms Park, they were beaten there last season.
On Saturday a new stadium will be used in Port Elizabeth when the Isuzu Southern Kings play host to Glasgow at Nelson Mandela University Stadium. The Kings are yet to be pick up a win this season, losing their first home match of the season last time out against Ulster. The Warriors, meanwhile, are three from three, including victories on the road against Connacht and the Cheetahs, as they start the season on a winning run for the second straight year. The Warriors won the only previous meeting of these teams last October in Scotstoun.
Connacht entertain the Scarlets at the Sportsground, looking to get back to winning ways. Andy Friend’s men had to settle for a losing bonus point away in Edinburgh last week, while the Scarlets won a thriller against Benetton.
Wayne Pivac’s charges have now won two straight games at home, but they were beaten on the road at Ulster on the opening weekend. Connacht, meanwhile, will be looking to end a run of three straight losses to the west Walians since a win at the Sportsground in January 2016.
The action continues on Saturday at Rodney Parade where the Dragons play host to Zebre. The Italians have won two from three to start the season but have only ever won one match in Wales, against Cardiff back in 2013. They have won three of their last four games against the Dragons, with a bonus point on each occasion, but all of those have come at home. The Dragons return to Newport where they won against the Kings in round 2.
The early pacesetters face one another as the Ospreys clash with Benetton Rugby. Both teams won their first two games before losing last weekend. For the Ospreys, that was a heavy defeat in Munster, while Benetton were on the wrong end of a ten-try classic away to the Scarlets, an impressive effort considering they played more than 50 minutes with 14 men.
Benetton have won their last two encounters with the Ospreys, but they are still searching for a first victory at the Liberty Stadium, having lost 11 in-a-row there in all competitions. The Ospreys have won seven straight fixtures at home at the Liberty Stadium.
Meanwhile, in the pick of the round this week, defending champions Leinster welcome Edinburgh to the RDS on Saturday night. Leo Cullen’s men bounced back from their narrow defeat to the Scarlets with a thumping win over the Dragons and are up to second in the Conference B table.
They host an Edinburgh side who won their first game of the campaign at home to Connacht last week after near misses in rounds 1 and 2. They face a tall order winning in Dublin though. Glasgow, in 2011, are the only Scottish side to have previously come away from the RDS with a win.
GUINNESS PRO14 – ROUND 4 FIXTURES:
Friday, September 21 –
Toyota Cheetahs (7th, Con A) v ULSTER (1st, Con B), Toyota Stadium, 7.15pm local time/6.15pm Irish time (live SuperSport 1/Premier Sports/deferred eir Sport 1&2)
Cardiff Blues (6th, Con A) v MUNSTER (2nd, Con A), Cardiff Arms Park, 7.35pm (live eir Sport 1&2/TG4/Premier Sports)
Saturday, September 22 –
Isuzu Southern Kings (7th, Con B) v Glasgow Warriors (1st, Con A), Nelson Mandela University Stadium, 3pm local time (live SuperSport 1/Premier Sports/eir Sport 1/Free Sports)
CONNACHT (5th, Con A) v Scarlets (3rd, Con B), the Sportsground, 5.15pm (live TG4/eir Sport 2/Premier Sports)
Dragons (6th, Con B) v Zebre (3rd, Con A), Rodney Parade, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports/S4C/DAZN/deferred eir Sport 2)
LEINSTER (2nd, Con B) v Edinburgh (5th, Con B), the RDS, 7.35pm (live eir Sport 1/Premier Sports/highlights TG4)
Ospreys (4th, Con A) v Benetton Rugby (4th, Con B), Liberty Stadium, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports/eir Sport 2/DAZN)
TOP PERFORMERS IN GUINNESS PRO14 AFTER ROUND 3 (Powered by Opta Statistics):
TOP POINTS SCORERS –
John Cooney (Ulster) 44
Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby) 37
Carlo Canna (Zebre) 29
Jack Carty (Connacht) 28
Simon Hickey (Edinburgh) 25
TOP TRY SCORERS –
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) 3
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 3
Rhys Marshall (Munster) 3
George North (Ospreys) 3
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) 2
Niyi Adeolokun (Connacht) 2
Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby) 2
Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Bryan Byrne (Leinster) 2
Paul Boyle (Connacht) 2
Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre) 2
Callum Gibbins (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Jason Harries (Cardiff Blues) 2
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby) 2
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 2
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 2
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) 2
Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 2
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 2
Justin Tipuric (Ospreys) 2
Michael Willemse (Isuzu Southern Kings) 2
Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby) 2
METRES GAINED –
Jordan Williams (Dragons) 349
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 326
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 315
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 275
Henry Speight (Ulster) 253
MOST CARRIES –
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 52
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 47
Will Addison (Ulster) 43
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 42
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 42
CLEAN BREAKS –
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 9
Darren Sweetnam (Munster) 8
Edoardo Padovani (Zebre) 7
Gareth Davies (Scarlets) 6
George North (Ospreys) 6
Jordan Larmour (Leinster) 6
Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) 6
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 6
DEFENDERS BEATEN –
Jordan Williams (Dragons) 14
Renato Giammarioli (Zebre) 14
Jordan Larmour (Leinster) 14
DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors) 14
Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 13
MOST OFFLOADS –
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 8
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 7
Nico Lee (Toyota Cheetahs) 6
Jamison Gibson-Park (Leinster) 5
Kieron Fonotia (Scarlets) 5
Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton Rugby) 5
Will Addison (Ulster) 5
Mattia Bellini (Zebre) 5
MOST TACKLES –
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 49
Cory Hill (Dragons) 49
Nico Lee (Toyota Cheetahs) 46
Tienie Burger (Isuzu Southern Kings) 45
Arno Botha (Munster) 45
TURNOVERS WON –
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 5
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) 5
James Davies (Scarlets) 5
Benhard Janse van Rensburg (Toyota Cheetahs) 4
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 4
Paul Boyle (Connacht) 4
Jarrad Butler (Connacht) 4
Darren Cave (Ulster) 4
LINEOUT STEALS –
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 3
Junior Sipato Pokomela (Toyota Cheetahs) 3
Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 3
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) 3
Matthew Screech (Dragons) 2
Cory Hill (Dragons) 2
George Biagi (Zebre) 2
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 2
Scott Fardy (Leinster) 2
John-Charles Astle (Isuzu Southern Kings) 2
For more statistics, please visit www.pro14rugby.org/statistics/powered-by-opta/