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GUINNESS PRO14: Round 11 Preview

GUINNESS PRO14: Round 11 Preview

The GUINNESS PRO14 returns with a festive bang in round 11, and with derby season beginning, it should be a thrilling weekend. It all kicks off on Friday night when Ulster host provincial rivals Munster, while Cardiff Blues play host to the Dragons.

On Saturday there are derbies in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, with the Ospreys entertaining the Scarlets, then Edinburgh welcoming Glasgow Warriors in the 1872 Cup, followed by Leinster hosting Connacht. And finally on Sunday, Zebre will look to carry their European form into their all-Italian clash with Benetton Rugby. 

The 2018/19 season is well underway and every team has hopes of 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 to get their hands on the best seats available.

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Two teams who are well-placed in Europe will meet at Kingspan Stadium on Friday when Munster travel to take on Ulster. Dan McFarland’s men welcome their provincial rivals to Belfast on the back of two impressive bonus point wins over the Scarlets in the Heineken Champions Cup. 

With just one defeat in their last six, McFarland’s side are starting to hit some form, but when it comes to Irish derbies, recent history is against them. Ulster have won just one of their last seven derbies, although the lone victory came about when Munster last visited them almost a year ago.

Munster, meanwhile, will be looking to find some away form, having struggled on the road this season. Last Saturday’s loss to Castres Olympique leaves them with just two away wins all season, and that has also been an issue in derbies, with a victory over Connacht in Galway in 2016 the last time they got the better of Irish opposition on their own soil.

At the same time on Friday, Cardiff Blues will play host to the Dragons at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park as both sides look to get back to winning ways. The Blues led at half-time in both clashes with English champions Saracens, but could not close out either game, while the Dragons lost away to Clermont Auvergne last time out. In their first game since coach Bernard Jackman’s departure, the Dragons will be looking to end a run of eight straight defeats to the Blues.

On Saturday there is another Welsh derby when the Ospreys and the Scarlets collide at the Liberty Stadium. The Scarlets head into the game having won 10 straight Welsh derbies, including their last trip to Swansea, but their record on the road this season has seen them enjoy just one away triumph so far. The Ospreys have a formidable home record, with just one defeat in 12 in all competitions, while the last three clashes between the teams have been decided by a total of just seven points.

Later on Saturday it is up to Scotland where two teams in flying form face off. Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors meet at BT Murrayfield with both sides having completed European doubles. Edinburgh’s twin successes against Newcastle Falcons included a first away win of the campaign, while Glasgow took nine points from a possible ten against French side Lyon.

Edinburgh have had the better of recent meetings between the Scottish clubs, with three wins in the last four encounters, and the home team has won every game they have been involved in so far in the PRO14 season. Glasgow will take plenty of encouragement from their own form, though, having won five in a row in all competitions.

The action continues into Sunday over in Italy when Zebre host Benetton Rugby at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi. Zebre’s 58-14 win over Enisei-STM in Europe was the biggest in their short history, while the nine tries scored were also a record. They will look to carry that form back into the PRO14 against a Benetton side who enjoyed a fine win of their own against Harlequins. Zebre won the last meeting between the two teams, also in Parma, ending a run of four straight Benetton successes.

Meanwhile, in the pick of the round, it is the defending champions against their 2016 conquerors as Leinster welcome Connacht to the RDS on Saturday night. Leo Cullen’s side have opened up a 15-point gap at the top of Conference B and have lost just two games all season.

Their record at home to Connacht is a good one, with just one defeat (in 2002) at home since 1955. However, Andy Friend’s charges ended an even worse run in Belfast with victory over Ulster, and come into the game on the back of five straight victories in all competitions.


Friday, December 21 –

ULSTER (3rd, Con B) v MUNSTER (2nd, Con A), Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 1 & 2/deferred TG4)

Cardiff Blues (5th, Con A) v Dragons (6th, Con B), BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports 2/S4C/eir Sport 1 & 2)

Saturday, December 22 –

Ospreys (4th, Con A) v Scarlets (2nd, Con B), Liberty Stadium, 3pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 2)

Edinburgh (5th, Con B) v Glasgow Warriors (1st, Con A), BT Murrayfield, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 2)

LEINSTER (1st, Con B) v CONNACHT (3rd, Con A), the RDS, 7.45pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 1 & 2/deferred TG4)

Sunday, December 23 –

Zebre (7th, Con A) v Benetton Rugby (4th, Con B), Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 3pm (live DAZN/Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 1)



Sam Davies (Ospreys) 80
Jack Carty (Connacht) 75
Masixole Banda (Isuzu Southern Kings) 70
Simon Hickey (Edinburgh) 68
John Cooney (Ulster) 60


Sibahle Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs) 7
Luke Morgan (Ospreys) 6
Bryan Byrne (Leinster) 5
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 5
Niko Matawalu (Glasgow Warriors) 5
Yaw Penxe (Isuzu Southern Kings) 5


Jordan Williams (Dragons) 700
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 696
Sibahle Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs) 542
Masixole Banda (Isuzu Southern Kings) 477
Henry Speight (Ulster) 475


Luke Hamilton (Edinburgh) 134
Bill Mata (Edinburgh) 125
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 122
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 108
Nico Lee (Toyota Cheetahs) 103


Sibhale Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs) 15
Jason Harries (Cardiff Blues) 14
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 13
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) 12
Harlon Klassen (Isuzu Southern Kings) 12


Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 36
Jordan Williams (Dragons) 30
Tom Farrell (Connacht) 28
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 28
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) 27


Tom Farrell (Connacht) 16
Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton Rugby) 14
Mattia Bellini (Zebre) 14
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 12
Marco Barbini (Benetton Rugby) 11


Olly Cracknell (Ospreys) 119
Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues) 118
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 113
John-Charles Astle (Isuzu Southern Kings) 112
Nico Lee (Toyota Cheetahs) 111
Jarrad Butler (Connacht) 111


Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 16
Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues) 16
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) 12
Nick Williams (Cardiff Blues) 11
Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 10


Junior Sipato Pokomela (Toyota Cheetahs) 7
Scott Fardy (Leinster) 5
George Biagi (Zebre) 5
James King (Ospreys) 5
Cory Hill (Dragons) 4
Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 4
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 4
Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys) 4
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 4

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