Friday, September 27, 2013

Pro12 Week 4 preview

A look at Round 4 of the Pro12 with a non-Irish slant by Liam Sinclair…

non Irish Pro12

The tedious European wrangling continues and is actually threatening a move on my nerves. A chink of light comes through on the home front to break the monotony! That rarest of rare things! Three cheers for the team who, just last weekend, popped their competitive cherry. Hip Hip! Zebre! Just one part of an unpredictable weekend. Frustrating for the predictors but makes for great watching. Weekend coming, let’s have a look.

Ulster v Treviso; Managed a good win against Munster at the weekend to get their season up and running. Have grown in stature every year they’ve been in this contest and can only be good if they continue on this path. Toughness is a big part of their game which next opponents Ulster can match. It’s going to be a close one but you have to feel Ulster will find their flow. A close game, home victory.

Zebre; At long last! This day has been a long time coming. The day we could take a break from the norm and finally talk about Zebre in a positive way. And away from home and all! So congratulations Zebre it’s good to be able to say good things about you however…….. I think some of the talk has been over the top. One match is not an upsurge or proof of a turn in fortunes. It’s a step alright but it’s just the first. I stated a minimum aim of three wins for the Parmesan upstarts and I stand by this. Great result but let’s not get too excited yet.

Glasgow; Continued their excellent start to the season with victory over champs Leinster. It wasn’t the most stylish of victories but will be taken gleefully. Still 100%, the only team that can claim that. Ringing in the changes for the match upcoming. Ringing the changes for the upcoming game but still a strong team. Will feel they can continue setting the pace.

Match; Glasgow to win a nice, flowing game.

Leinster v Cardiff; Somebody had to be the first team to lose to Zebre. A few close calls did happen but The Blues have taken the spoils. There’s no need for alarm bells just yet, we won’t judge on one performance! The first step on the road to absolution is Dublin. A toughie. Leinster, who did not perform well last weekend welcome back some first teamers and will also be looking to make amends. It’s like a Disney movie. Positive for Cardiff that another Lion comes back in the shape of Captain Sam but, most likely, not enough. Leinster to win fairly comfortably.

Edinburgh; Disappointing if not surprising. Edinburgh have already been on the receiving end of 2 hidings which leaves them bottom. At the risk of repeating myself I think this team have the ability to beat anyone on their day. It’s not a very strong team going out however, a mystical ‘day’ needed even more. Murrayfield is the venue and it really looks an awful place when it’s empty. This can’t be helping the players, must be an alternative?

Scarlets; Loss to the Dragons will have stung. The Pro12 can split into those competing and those not very quickly and if they want to be competitive at the top these are the games they need to be winning. It’s another away trip coming up against a similar team and some serious amends need to be made.

Match; I think I spelt it out pretty well up there. Victory for a determined Scarlets team.

Connacht v Ospreys; So far we’ve seen the Osprey’s team we all know and admire. Playing with style and penetration they are 2nd in the table with the highest amount of points scored. They travel to Galway with an unbeaten record and a renewed reputation. Defence has been decent and I can’t see past them in this match. Victory for the ‘Spreys.

Munster v Dragons; Underestimate the Dragons at your peril! Victory against 2 teams perceived as stronger is a boost for the underachievers. Does kinda compound the disappointment of losing to equals Edinburgh. Instinct still wants to back Munster. Playing well mostly and at home. Musgrave isn’t the fortress that Thomond is but they should still have enough after a good fight.

Here’s hoping for another unpredictable weekend!

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

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