Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pro12 Week 3 preview

A look at Round 3 of the Pro12 with a non-Irish slant by Liam Sinclair…

non Irish Pro12

Rugby news has been dominated this week by dick swinging the on-going debate over the future of the European competition. As I’ve said before I can see merits to both sides of the argument and just hope that some arrangement is made to keep the competition/a competition showing on our screens. In the meantime I’ll continue talking about what we do have as we get to the point where cobwebs should be well and truly shaken off. Some very even matches this weekend with the headline definitely being the showdown at Scotstoun.

Dragons; A mixed start for the Dragons. Big props for their opening day defeat of Ulster was followed by falling short against a team they’re likely to be finishing near come season’s end. While inconsistency might be seen as maddening it’s an improvement on consistently falling short. They seem to be using the grunt available to them well and I can see them continuing their upward curve.

Scarlets; Threw off opening day disappointment in a comfortable victory over Treviso. Early days yet but looking at how other teams are performing I’m getting the feeling that Scarlets are going to have a tough time matching last year’s top 4 finish. The next couple of matches are against The Dragons and Edinburgh, great chance to set a foundation for proving me wrong.

Match; It’s a close one but I think the Scarlets have enough quality to squeak a victory.

Cardiff; Have set themselves up decently for the season getting 5 points in their first 2 matches. Defeat was a close thing from a good performance and victory was an awful affair in bad conditions. Covering off all the necessary skills and with key men on the way back there’s reason for a bit of optimism around Arms Park.

Zebre; Flew out of the traps against Munster, built a decent lead but ended up the wrong side of a hammering. Only positive to be taken is the continued good performances of Orquera at out half. Surely only a matter of time before he attracts the attention of some brighter lights and gets to test himself at a higher level?

Match; Zebre continue to be a parody of themselves and Leigh Halfpenny’s Blues should see this out with relative ease.

Glasgow v Leinster; Played 2, won 2. There’s really not much more you can ask for at this stage of the season. Beating Ulster away adds a decent shine to the stat and must be taken as a serious statement of intent. The tests come thick and fast though with Leinster next it’s man or boy time. Interesting clash as they are on an 8 game unbeaten run at home and Leinster an 8 game unbeaten run away. Somebody’s record has to end this weekend. Time to shine for The Warriors? I think so. It’ll be a tough one on the eyes but they’ll scrape victory here.

Treviso v Munster; Treviso have not started well at all and are second last in the table with one losing BP to show for their toils. Next up are Munster, sitting pretty with as many points as have been available to them. It’s hard to call them since even Munster fans I was talking to before the start of the season weren’t expecting much from them this year. If this was the first match of the season I’d be comfortable calling home win here but a lot has changed in that short space of time. Still having a tough time, can I come back later? No? OK Munster victory it is, somewhere between 3 and 7 points.

Ospreys; Showed up at the RDS and left us, once again, with that ‘’what just happened’’ feeling. Making chances and taking chances is a decent way to win matches and when defence is sorted out this clinical approach will reap serious dividends. Resembling their former selves again this will be a big season for the ‘Spreys.

Edinburgh; A win is a win. Some points on the board for Edinburgh and hopefully looking upwards and wanting more. Still question marks over the mental strength of this squad and some tough matches ahead I feel that their season is going to be defined before Christmas. Makes all these upcoming matches, Ospreys, Scarlets, Cardiff, Treviso, very important with at least 2 wins needed. A big ask and probably too much, foundations being set for another disappointing season.

Match; Ospreys really impressed me so far and I think there’s 5 points for them here if they want them.

Not much to it again, enjoy the rugby.

Liam Sinclair (@liam_bs) – Guesses, generalisations and clichés.

PS; Glasgow Warriors will have a ‘’resident referee providing background to the decisions made by the referees’’ on Twitter. Sounds dead interesting. Anyone that agrees follow @rugbyreflink.

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