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This weekend sees the fifth round of the 2012/13 Pro12 competition, with four games taking place on Friday night and the remaining two fixtures in the round scheduled for Saturday.

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Despite their defeat to Ospreys last weekend (and subsequent loss of the only remaining 100% record in this season’s competition) Scarlets still sit atop of the table and travel to Treviso in one of two Saturday games.

The other fixture on Saturday sees Ospreys host Munster, the team they defeated in the play-offs on the way to becoming champions, at the Liberty Stadium.

Before all that, the round opens with four games on Friday night, including the all-Ireland clash at the Sportsground in Galway, when Connacht host European Champions, Leinster.

Even though the visitors have an impressive record against fellow Irish Provinces, Connacht can take heart from the fact that they were the victors in this equivalent fixture in 2010.

There are also two games in Wales on Friday: Dragons host Edinburgh Rugby and Cardiff Blues take on Ulster.

The Blues have attracted large crowds since their return to the Arms Park and they will be hoping they can maintain their seven year unbeaten record against the Ulstermen.

In nearby Newport the visitors, Edinburgh Rugby must cast their minds back to May 2006 for their last victory against the Dragons but can take heart from the recent win in Wales over Cardiff and last weekend’s spirited showing against Leinster, securing a losing bonus point, despite being reduced to 13 men for ten minutes.

The remaining fixture in the round sees new franchise Zebre make their second trip to Scotland, this time to face Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.

The visitors will be looking for a better return this time having gone down 41-10 at Murrayfield in round three.  ENDS.

Full list of fixtures
Date Kick off time (SA time) Teams Venue
Fri 28 Sep 20.00 Dragons v Edinburgh Rodney Parade
Fri 28 Sep 20.05 Cardiff Blues v Ulster Cardiff Arms Park
Fri 28 Sep 20.35 Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Scotstoun
Fri 28 Sep 21.00 Connacht v Leinster Sportsground
Sat 29 Sep 19.30 Ospreys v Munster Liberty Stadium
Sat 29 Sep 20.05 Benetton Treviso v Scarlets Stadio Monigo
Predictions
Dragons v Edinburgh

The Dragons have not had the best of starts to their season with only one win to boast of from their four outings so far. Their solitary win was back in August in their first game of the season, against bottom team Zebre.

Edinburgh have not been that consistent this season having won two and lost two so far with their most recent result being a loss away from home against Leinster. However they have managed to secure losing bonus points on both of occasions by coming within seven points of less of both Leinster and Munster.

While one may be tempted to favour the home team I think we can expect Edinburgh to head back home with a win under their belts.

Dragons : 15 Dan Evans, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Andy Tuilagi, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Lewis Evans (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Ian Nimmo, 3 Dan Way, 2 Steve Jones, 1 Phil Price

Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Nathan Buck, 19 Jevon Groves, 20 Tom Brown, 21 Liam Davies (Bedwas), 22 Ashley Smith, 23 Will Harries

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Tom Brown, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Stuart McInally ,5 Sean Cox (capt), 4 Robert McAlpine, 3 Geoff Cross , 2 Andy Titterrell,  1 Allan Jacobsen

Replacements:  16 Alun Walker, 17 John Yapp, 18 Lewis Niven, 19 Dimitri Basilaia, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Chris Leck, 22 John Houston, 23 Dougie Fife

Cardiff Blues v Ulster

Cardiff Blues are currently in third place on the log, having only lost once so far this season.

Ulster are unbeaten this season and are in fifth position with a game in hand over the Blues. They have the game in hand as their game against Zebre last weekend was cancelled following the tragic death of their young promising centre 22 year old Nevin Spence in an accident on the family farm. Spence’s older brother and father also passed away in the accident and an emotional memorial service attended by thousands of fans was held last Sunday at Ravenhill, Ulster’s home ground.

It is difficult to know how the Ulster players will respond to this tragedy but they should play with a lot of passion. However, given Cardiff’s form this season and the fact they are the home team, one would expect Cardiff to win.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Dan Fish, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Dafydd Hewitt, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tom James, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Andries Pretorius (capt), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Robin Copeland, 5 James Down, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Andi Kyriacou, 1 Nathan Trevett

Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Lou Reed, 20 Rory Watts-Jones, 21 Rob Lewis, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Tom Williams.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Michael Allen, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry (capt), 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Neil McComb, 3 John Afoa, 2 Nigel Brady, 1 Tom Court.

Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Black, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Mike McComish, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Paddy Wallace, 23 Craig Gilroy

Glasgow Warriors v Zebre

Glasgow Warriors have made a staggering 13 changes to the starting 15 from their previous game against Connacht as well as various changes to the bench.

The Scottish Rugby Union have an arrangement with Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh that require their Scottish international players to have a rest after five games.  With Zebre firmly rooted to the bottom of the table it would seem that  Glasgow are taking the opportunity to give some of their players a break a week early.  Some of the changes are also due to various newly signed players being handed their debuts, while they also have the bonus of the return to action, earlier than previously expected, of star fullback Stuart Hogg who is on the bench.

It will be interesting to see how cohesive Glasgow are with all the changes and initially they may struggle against a Zebre team who will be very keen to get their first win of the campaign. Ultimately though,  Glasgow should pull off their second win in the Pro12 at their new Scotstoun ground.

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Fraser Thompson, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Byron McGuigan, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 DTH vd Merwe, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro (capt), 6 Angus Macdonald, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cussack, 2 Finley Gillies, 1 Gordon Reid

Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Ofa Fainga’anuku, 18 Moray Low, 19 James Eddie, 20 Ryan Wilson,  21 Niko Matawalu,  22 Peter Horne, 23 Stuart Hogg

Zebre: 15 Daniel Halangahu, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Gonzalo Garcia (capt), 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Filippo Cristiano, 5 Michael  van Vuren, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Luca Redolfini,, 2 Davide Giazzon,  1 Matias Aguero

Replacements: 16 Andrea Mancini, 17 Carlo Fazzari, 18 Andrea de Marchi, 19 Emiliano Caffini, 20 Nicola Belardo, 21 Luca Martinelli, 22 Paolo Buso, 23 Samuele Pace

Connacht v Leinster

Leinster did not start this season on the best of notes with a loss in their opening game to the Scarlets. However, they have gone on to win their last three games and are currently in fourth position on the table, merely two points behind leaders the Scarlets.

In spite of being the hosts one cannot see Connacht, who are struggling this season, managing to be strong enough. Expect Leinster to win this one fairly comfortably.

Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O’Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry,
11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7. Johnny O’Connor, 6. Eoin McKeon, 5. Mike McCarthy, 4. Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White (capt), 2 Adrian Flavin, 1 Denis Buckley

Replacements: 16 Jason Harris-Wright, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Willie Faloon, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 Mata Fifita

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 John Cooney, 1 Heinke van der Merwe, 2 Thomas Sexton, 3 Jamie Hagan, 4 Quinn Roux, 5 Tom Denton, 6 Ben Marshall, 7 Shane Jennings(capt), 8 Leo Auva’a

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Fionn Carr

Ospreys v Munster

This game is possibly one of the hardest ones of the weekend to call.

The Ospreys are hosts and after a slow start to the tournament they finally got their first win last weekend, a surprise victory away from home against fellow countrymen and log leaders Scarlets.

The Ospreys have also managed to pick up two bonus points for losing games by seven points or less, although they would not have been happy with their opening game against Treviso where they would have expected at least 4 points for a win.

Munster are sitting in second place with only one point separating themselves from the leaders. The only game that Munster lost so far was by the narrowest of margins, namely 1 point, against Ulster. Munster will also be rather confident following a comprehensive win, by 20 points, over the Dragons last weekend.

Munster’s flyhalf Ian Keatley is currently the joints top points scorer and although his expected direct opposition Dan Biggar is a class player one feels his forwards will provide him with a better platform from which to play once he  comes off the bench and so possibly this will see Munster emerging victorious.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Isaacs, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington

Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Jonathan Thomas, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Ross Jones

Munster: 15 Dennis Hurley, 14 Doug Howlett (capt), 13 Keith Earls, 12 Casey Laulala, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O’Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Paddy Butler, 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Tommy O’Donnell, 5  B Holland, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Mike Sherry,  1 Wian Du Preez

Replacements: 16 Damian Varley, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 BJ Botha, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Peter O’Mahony,21  Peter Stringer, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 James Downey

Benetton Treviso v Scarlets

Treviso are second from bottom on the log and their only win of the season thus far was in their first outing during the last weekend in August.

The Scarlets may have stumbled in their last game but have otherwise been in fine form this season and are well deserved leaders of the Pro12 at this stage. Scarlets should win this one fairly comfortably.

Benetton Treviso: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Alberto Sgarbi, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Simone Favaro, 5 Valerio Bernabò, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo

Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet, 18 Pedro Di Santo, 19 Francesco Minto, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Paul Derbyshire, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo

Scarlets: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Jon Davies, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (captain), 7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 George Earle, 4 Sione Timani, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Phil John

Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Peter Edwards, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Kieran Murphy, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Kristian Phillips

Table after 4 rounds
  Team P W D L F A BP PTS
1 Scarlets 4 3 0 1 103 67 3 15
2 Munster 4 3 0 1 94 57 2 14
3 Cardiff Blues 4 3 0 1 82 53 2 14
4 Leinster 4 3 0 1 106 104 1 13
5 Ulster 3 3 0 0 54 42 0 12
6 Edinburgh 4 2 0 2 96 74 3 11
7 Glasgow 4 2 0 2 78 63 2 10
8 Ospreys 4 1 0 3 52 72 2 6
9 Connacht 4 1 0 3 67 81 1 5
10 Newport-Gwent Dragons 4 1 0 3 80 100 1 5
11 Treviso 4 1 0 3 54 78 1 5
12 Zebre 3 0 0 3 33 108 0  
Scoring Records
Top try scorers
Player Position and Club No. Tries (no. Games played)
Tim Visser Wing – Edinburgh 6 (4)
George North Wing – Scarlets 5 (4)
Daniel Evans Fullback/Wing – Dragons 4 (4)
DTH vd Merwe Wing – Glasgow Warriors 4 (3)
Robert Barbieri Flanker – Benetton Treviso 3 (4)
 Leading points scorers
Player Position and Club Points Scored (no. games played)
Ian Keatley Flyhalf – Munster 51 (4)
Greg Laidlaw Flyhalf – Edinburgh 41 (4)
Ian Madigan Flyhalf – Leinster 33 (4)
Tom Prydie Wing – Dragons 32 (4)
Mia Nicorah Flyhalf – Connacht 30 (3)

 

2 Responses to RaboDirect Pro12: Round five – UPDATED

  • 1

    Pro12 Friday night results:
    Cardiff Blues 19 – 48 Ulster – fantastic win for Ulster getting 7 tries!
    Connacht 34 – 6 Leinster – simply unbelievable
    Glasgow 22 – 19 Zebre – hard fought win as expected
    Dragons 32 – 12 Edinburgh – good win for Dragons, surprised by win and the margin of victory

  • 2

    Pro12 Saturday results:
    Ospreys 30 – 15 Munster – did think this one was going to be tough to call so even though went with Munster in the end am not entirely surprised to see Ospreys winning although the margin of victory is a bit surprising. Poor Munster discipline cost/earned them a yellow and a red card.
    Benetton Treviso 22 – 20 Scarlets – a big surprise win for the Italians going into the weekend 2nd from bottom against team on top of table.


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