A look at Round 2 of the Pro12 with a non-Irish slant by Liam Sinclair…
A fairly standard bunch of matches to kick off. One shock, always nice so thanks Dragons. Coming thick and fast now so let’s jump back in. Week 2!
Cardiff v Connacht; A decent outing against Glasgow sees Cardiff start the year with a losing BP. Not an ideal start sure, but not the worst. Coming up next is a home game against one of the league’s lesser lights. This is the type of match Cardiff need to be winning with a minimum of fuss and how this goes could set the tone for the season. I do like what I saw at the weekend so I’m calling a home win here. Fuss probably won’t be minimal though.
Ulster v Glasgow; Glasgow did what they had to on opening day. Their net two fixtures come against last year’s finalists and having some points in the bag will stand to them. Up first are Ulster who were the shock of the week in defeat to The Dragons. One match does not a bad team make though and Glasgow will be up against it in the shiny new Ravenhill. A close one but Ulster look the most likely to take the spoils after a close, messy, game.
Zebre v Munster; There is a temptation with Zebre to just keep predicting they’ll win until it happens and then tell everyone you knew that you saw it coming. It would definitely be more fun than the glib, cynical tone I’d descended into last year. Not yet. Munster will have too much for the beasts of the savannah and I expect them to win comfortably. There’s two doable matches for Zebre next month where ‘’the plan’’ might be sprung!
Edinburgh; Disappointing. A heavy defeat that couldn’t be glossed over by a late surge. Edinburgh are the team most in need of a good start because they will, as like as anything, stop putting the effort in. Is it a bit early to talk about a season unravelling? Probably but the sooner the better we get some positive results. Concentration will be the key, forward and back, for the full 80 minutes.
Dragons; Pulled off the shock of the weekend by beating, an admittedly off colour, Ulster. That said there’s some great points in the bag to serve as a jumping off point for the men of Gwent. Big question now is if they can build on this?
Match; A clash unlikely to go down in the ages. Motivation for both teams will be two sides of the same coin. Edinburgh need to find their feet and The Dragons will want to build on a positive start. As things stand these teams can be considered equals. Have to pick someone so Edinburgh it is.
Leinster v Ospreys; Job done for the ‘Spreys on day one. These are the wins they need to be getting to hit the heights they’ve gotten used to over the last few seasons. Not as dominant as they’d hope but Treviso would never lie down and die for anyone. A tricky one coming up this weekend. Leinster will still be short few first teamers and if they’re to be taken, now’s the time. Definitely think they’ll bring a scare but Leinster will win in front of the RDS faithful.
Scarlets; A strange one for Scarlets at the weekend. Looked comfortable at the start but ended up on the wrong end of a hammering. A lot of positives but definitely need to be turning possession into points. If they can cut out the handling errors a force to be reckoned with.
Treviso; Showed their usual grunt and vigour to get out of the weekend with a losing BP. Their development is well on track and still think they will equal their league finish from last year.
Match; A lot depends on Scarlets ability to close this off. If they get the phases going they should be good value for the win.
Not out on a limb on any of these I don’t think. Enjoy the weekend.
Liam Sinclair (@liam_bs) – Guesses, generalisations and clichés.