We’re not happy here at HoR covering just the Irish provinces in the RaboPro12, so throughout the season Liam Sinclair will keep an eye on the rest of the league for us.
Round 5 coming up with two gems offered up from the Non-Irish teams in their matches against Irish Provinces. Munster and Ulster are travelling to Wales to play Ospreys and Cardiff. Sparks could fly.
A healthy 4/5 predicted on this old typewriter so we’re still a force to be reckoned with in the prediction stakes. Here’s the usual look at how close my world (right) is to the RaboPRO12. (left)
Still very close with the top 7 matching the top 7 in names if not in positions and the rest not a million miles away. BP are killing me so I may just have a look at leaving them out next week.
Dragons v Edinburgh
N.G.D: Another weekend, another defeat for The Dragons. Not many had high hopes for the men from Newport and they’re doing their very best to prove them right. The telly wasn’t even turned on Saturday and they were 7-0 down and things didn’t really get better from there with Munster ruthlessly putting them to the sword to the delight of the home fans. Teams will see the Dragons as an easy try BP at home and an opportunity to record a win on the road.
Edinburgh: The second team in as many weeks to suffer defeat at the hands of mighty Leinster yet leave with a feeling that this was a missed opportunity. Strong in defence and stylish, at times, in attack. Richie Rees and Nick De Luca looking particularly good. If they had shown more ambition from the starting whistle this could have been a different result. Positives to be taken though and when master finisher Tim Visser is back in the team they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The Match: Edinburgh will put on a display for us here. The Dragons defence will be eviscerated by the probing Scottish attack and will have a staunch defence to smother any rare Welsh attacks. Comfortable Edinburgh victory.
Warriors v Zebre
Warriors: The wait for a Scotstoun victory wasn’t a long one and it was delivered with style. There was always an element of control in the host’s play and they left Connacht chasing shadows at times. Some momentum being built with this, their second win on the trot after opening with back to back defeats, leading nicely to a home match against league whipping boys Zebre.
Zebre: A week off for Zebre will leave them rested but behind in early season fitness. Rock bottom and winless things are tough in Parma.
The Match: Freshness aside (It was mainly brought up because there’s not much else to say) this is Glasgow’s game to lose. Zebre will, as usual, have to try start fast and keep the pace up for the match. Glasgow are tough enough to kill any momentum though and I expect them to smother in the first half and go for the kill in the second. BP victory for the home side.
Treviso v Scarlets
Treviso: Struggling since their shock open day win against Ospreys the rot continued in Cardiff. Treviso named a strong team for their trip so must surely have had expectations. The Blues didn’t use subtlety in killing these expectations handing out a harsh lesson to the travelling team. Won’t have much time to dwell on this with the pace setters up next. Hard to see what they are doing wrong and the feeling here is that they need more time to gel and keep doing what they’re doing. The results will come.
Scarlets: A disappointing end to an excellent run of wins. Was it pressure of expectation or were The Ospreys just due one? Dethroning doesn’t happen overnight and the champions have made the statement. They still see themselves as the big boy on the Welsh block and aren’t going to give up that title easily. Still top of table by grace of the BP earned here and, as always in sport, eyes forward. This gives the lads from Llanelli an early chance to show what they’re made of when things haven’t gone their way. I can’t wait.
The Match: Scarlets have shown already this season with victory in The Sportsground that they can go where the going will be rough and stand their ground, coming out with a victory. A similar challenge awaits them in Stadio De Monigo and I expect them to pass the test again. Scarlets to win this brawl.
Blues v Ulster
Cardiff got themselves a stylish victory in the last round to complement the scrap from the previous week and will feel confident playing this game in front of their own fans. Another boon is seeing Sam Warburton playing at his disruptive best. Ulster are the opponents this weekend and are a team more than capable of derailing Cardiff’s ambitions. Should be an attractive fixture with a blend of scrapping and back play and is a hard one to call. I’m not paid to predict enjoyment though so I’ll plump for a Cardiff victory.
Ospreys v Munster
Ospreys played the part of coupon busters supreme again this week ruining some gifted gamblers well thought out accumulators. Shouldn’t be too much of a shock though as good teams don’t go bad overnight and Ospreylians will be looking at this as a return to where they should be. They’ve beaten the table toppers and up next are the team in second. What better way to solidify your claim for a return to the big hitters? Munster are looking good at the moment and will offer the champs a challenge worthy of them. I do think they’ve reached a peak though and Ospreys should be able to close this one out. Home victory.
PS; Leinster will defeat Connacht.
Another weekend of cracking rugby ahead of us, I’ll catch you on the other side.
Liam Sinclair (@liam_bs) – Guesses, generalisations and clichés.