The second round of the RaboDirect Pro12 competition is scheduled for this weekend. Four of the games will be played on Friday night with the remaining two games taking place on Saturday.
The first two games will see Cardiff Blues and Zebre at home against Edinburgh and Connacht respectively. Zebre’s game against Connacht will the tournament newcomer’s first Pro12 game at their home ground.
The third game on Friday night will be also be a historical occasion as Glasgow Warriors host Scarlets in their first game at their new home ground Scotstoun.
The last game of the round, on Saturday, will see the Ospreys enjoy home ground advantage against Ulster.
Full list of fixtures
|Date||Kick off time (SA time)||Teams||Venue|
|Fri 7 Sep||20.05||Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh||Cardiff Arms Park|
|Fri 7 Sep||20.05||Zebre v Connacht||Stadio XXV Aprile|
|Fri 7 Sep||20.35||Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets||Scotstoun|
|Fri 7 Sep||21.00||Munster v Treviso||Thomond Park Stadium|
|Sat 8 Sep||19.15||Leinster v Dragons||Royal Dublin Society|
|Sat 8 Sep||19.30||Ospreys v Ulster||Liberty Stadium|
Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh
Cardiff Blues began the new season of RaboDirect PRO12 action with a 13-9 victory in Connacht. The Blues won both matches they played at the Arms Park last season, against Connacht and Ulster. Cardiff Blues won their opening two encounters last season.
Edinburgh Rugby gained a losing bonus point in their reversal to Munster at Murrayfield last Saturday, and have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions.
The Scotsmen’s only away win in their last 19 trips in the PRO12 was at Treviso last November. Edinburgh Rugby have not won in Wales since a visit to Scarlets on 4 December 2009.
The Blues have won their last four games against Edinburgh Rugby in the RaboDirect PRO12, whilst Edinburgh have been victorious on four of their last five visits to the Arms Park.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Gavin Evans, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Andries Pretorius (captain), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 James Down, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Rhys Williams, 1 Taufa’ao Filise
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Thomas Davies, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Thomas Williams.
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 John Houston, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 9 Richie Rees, 8 Stuart McInally, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Willem Nel, 19 Perry Parker, 20 Netani Talei, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 Sep Visser.
Referee: David Wilkinson (Irish Rugby Football Union; IRFU, 15th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell, Jason Langdon ( both Welsh Rugby Union; WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Aurwel Morgan (WRU)
TMO: Neil Ballard (WRU)
Zebre v Connacht
Stadio XXV Aprile becomes the 36th different ground, and the third in Italy, to host a game in the history of this tournament. The new Italian Franchise, Zebre, lost 6-37 to Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on their debut in RaboDirect PRO12 last Friday.
Connacht have lost their last two matches in the competition, to Glasgow Warriors and Cardiff Blues, whilst their only victory on the road since round one last season was 27-19 at the Dragons on 30 March. The Irishmen have won just one previous RaboDirect PRO12 game in Italy: 11-9 at Treviso on 3 September 2011.
The two sides have never met before.
Zebre: 15 Sinoti Sinoti, 14 Giovanbattista Venditti, 13 Alberto Benettin, 12 Gonzalo Garcia (captain), 11 Samuele Pace, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Alberto Chillon , 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Josh Sole, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 David Ryan, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Andrea De Marchie, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Nicola Belardo, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Alberto Chiesa, 23 Ruggero Trevisan.
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy (captain), 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Mata Fifita, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Miah Nikora, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Johnny O’Connor, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Nathan White, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Frank Murphy, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Robbie Henshaw.
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 2nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Roscini, Elia Rizzo (both Federazione Italiana Rugby; FIR)
Citing Commissioner: Archile Reali (FIR)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (FIR)
Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets
Scotstoun Stadium becomes the 35th different ground to host a game in the history of this tournament.
Glasgow Warriors tripped up 10-18 at Ulster in round one of the RaboDirect PRO12. The Warriors lost their opening two games of the 2011/12 season. The Warriors have lost just one of their last nine matches against the Welsh regions.
Scarlets defeated Leinster 45-20 at Parc y Scarlets on Friday and are now unbeaten in their last four PRO12 encounters.
Scarlets have lost on their last two visits to Scotland.
Both clashes between the two sides last season were won by the home side on the day, whilst Scarlets have won just once in Glasgow on their last seven visits.
Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Alex Dunbar, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 John Barclay, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (captain), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Moray Low, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Mike Cusack, 18 Gordon Reid, 19 James Eddie, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Peter Horne.
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Andy Fenby 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Rob McCusker (captain), 7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Richard Kelly, 4 George Earle, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Rhodri Jones
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Phil John, 18 Peter Edwards, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Adam Warren.
Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU, 27th competition game)
Assistant Referees: David Changleng, Graeme Marshall (both Scottish Rugby Union; SRU)
Citing Commissioner: Douglas Hunter (SRU)
TMO: Jim Yuille (SRU)
Munster v Benetton Treviso
Munster began their 2012/13 RaboDirect PRO12 campaign with a 23-18 victory against Edinburgh at Murrayfield.
The Munstermen have won seven of their last eight home games in the competition. Munster lost their most recent encounter with an Italian opponent: 17-21 at Aironi in March.
Benetton Treviso beat Ospreys 12-6 at Stadio Monigo in round one. Treviso had a won 2, lost 6 record against Irish provinces last season, with both victories coming away from home in Belfast and Galway.
Treviso’s only previous win against Munster was 19-18 at Stadio Monigo in February 2011.
Munster: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Luke O’Dea, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Duncan Williams, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Sean Dougall, 6 Dave O’Callaghan, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Scott Deasy, 23 Ivan Dineen.
Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Paul Derbyshire, 7 Dean Budd, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Valerio Bernabò, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Michele Rizzo
Replacements: 16 Giovanni Maistri, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 19 Corniel Van Zyl, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Alessandro Zanni, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Kristopher Burton.
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (SRU, 13th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Haycock, David Keane (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: John Cole (IRFU)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (IRFU)
Leinster v Newport Gwent Dragons
Leinster have now slipped to back to back defeats in the RaboDirect PRO12 – they have not lost three in a row in the competition since October 2008.
The only visiting team to have beaten the Leinstermen at the RDS in any competition in the last three years, other than Ospreys, was Glasgow in September 2011.
Newport Gwent Dragons top the RaboDirect PRO12 table after round one, courtesy of their bonus point win over newcomers, Zebre.
The Welshmen have three times before led the league after one week (2005, 2007 and 2008) and on all three occasions have lost in round two and surrendered top spot.
The Men from Gwent have won just one of their last dozen encounters with Irish provinces: 22-9 at home to Ulster on 30 September 2011. Dragons solo victory in Ireland since 2004 came at Ulster in September 2008.
Leinster have taken the last four clashes with Newport Gwent Dragons, whilst Dragons have never overturned the Leinstermen on their own soil!
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 John Cooney, 8 Leo Auva’a, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Ben Marshall, 5 Quin Roux, 4 Leo Cullen (captain) Damian Browne, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack Mc Grath
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Colm O’Shea, 23 Darren Hudson
Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Will Harries, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Jevon Groves (captain), 6 Hywel Stoddart, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Ian Nimmo, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nathan Williams
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Tim Ryan, 19 Lewis Evans, 20 Tom Brown, 21 Liam Davies, 22 Ashley Smith, 23 Hallam Amos
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 9th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Mark Patton, Jonathon Peak (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Tom McCormack (IRFU)
TMO: Alan Rogan (IRFU)
Ospreys v Ulster
Ospreys’ seven game winning streak in the RaboDirect PRO12 ended in Italy last Friday, with their 6-12 reversal to Benetton Treviso.
Ospreys have won their last three matches at Liberty Stadium and lost only once to an Irish province last season: 14-15 to Ulster at Ravenhill on 24 February.
Ulster began the new season with an 18-10 victory over Glasgow at Ravenhill, but have tripped up in their last two away games in the PRO12, at Connacht and Munster.
The Ulstermen have won three of their last four encounters against Welsh regions, but have lost on their last four visits to the Principality.
The last four fixtures between the two sides have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Ulster’s only victory at Liberty Stadium since 2006 was 20-16 on 12 September 2009.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Isaacs, 10 Matthew Morgan, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Ian Gough, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Joe Rees, 19 George Stowers, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Tom Grabham
Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 M Allen, 10 Niall O’Connor, 9 Michael Heaney, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Sean Doyle, 6 Robbie Diack, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Tom Court, 18 John Afoa, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Stephan Ferris, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Andrew Trimble
Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU, 42nd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Phil Fear (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Russell Howell (WRU)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (WRU)
Last week saw a disastrous start to the Pro12 predictions with a return of 2 out of 6 correct picks. Hopefully this weekend will yield better returns. Once again though some difficult matches to call, but expect the following to win, Cardiff Blues, Connacht, Scarlets, Munster, Leinster and Ospreys.
Table after Round 1