Rainbow Cup Pro14, Round Two - teams and predictions
SEEKING RETRIBUTION: After a dramatic first round, this weekend serves up a bumper schedule.
Benetton will be looking to follow up their shock victory over Glasgow in Round One of the Rainbow Cup Pro14 when they visit Zebre on Friday, before the Warriors welcome Edinburgh and Ulster head to Munster.
Ulster will be keen to bounce back from their recent defeats while Munster will hope to build on a big win over Leinster, who visit Connacht on Saturday.
The Welsh derbies round off the weekend, as the Ospreys visit Parc y Scarlets on Saturday, before the Dragons take on Cardiff Blues in the capital on Sunday.
We look at the Pro14 Round Two action below the video
Lions Reaction – Surpise picks, big names sidelined and picking the test team https://t.co/Qd6VuCZZ1c
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) May 6, 2021
Friday, May 7
Zebre v Benetton
(Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma – Kick-off: 19.00; 17.00 GMT)
Zebre did the double over Benetton during the regular Pro14 season, but it is the men from Treviso who will come into this derby clash with confidence following their victory over Glasgow.
Benetton had failed to win a single Pro14 fixture this season prior to that triumph over the Warriors, and their only away victory this term came at Stade Francais in the European Challenge Cup in December.
Zebre have won three of the last four meetings between these sides, with the exception being an away victory for Benetton in August 2020.
@rugby365com: Benetton by five points
Zebre: 15 Michelangelo Biondelli, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Federico Mori, 12 Tommaso Boni (captain), 11 Gabriele Di Giulio, 10 Paolo Pescetto, 9 Nicolò Casilio, 8 Renato Giammarioli, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Potu Junior Leavasa, 5 Ian Nagle, 4 David Sisi, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Danilo Fischetti.
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Paolo Buonfiglio, 18 Matteo Nocera, 19 Leonard Krumov, 20 Iacopo Bianchi, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Enrico Lucchin.
Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Ignacio Brex, 12 Marco Zanon, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage (captain), 8 Toa Halafihi, 7 Michele Lamaro, 6 Riccardo Favretto, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolò Cannone, 3 Filippo Alongi, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Irné Herbst, 20 Sebastian Negri, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Callum Braley, 23 Ratuva Tavuyara.
Referee: Andrea Piardi
Assistant referees: Manuel Bottino, Riccardo Angelucci
TMO: Stefano Roscini
Munster v Ulster
(Thomond Park, Limerick – Kick-off: 20.15; 19.15 GMT)
Ulster will still be smarting from their defeats to Connacht in the opening round of the Rainbow Cup and then Leicester in the Challenge Cup semifinals.
The Ulstermen have not suffered three first-team losses on the bounce since 2018, but they hold a positive record over the Pro14 runners-up, having lost just two of the last seven meetings.
That said, their most recent success in Limerick was a 19-17 victory in May 2014, while Munster’s only two home defeats this season have come against Pro14 winners Leinster and Heineken Champions Cup finalists Toulouse.
@rugby365com: Munster by 11 points
Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Dan Goggin, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Shane Daly, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Fineen Wycherley, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O’Byrne, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 Roman Salanoa, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Nick McCarthy, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Damian de Allende.
Ulster: 15 Jacob Stockdale, 14 Rob Lyttle, 13 Will Addison, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Ethan McIlroy, 10 Michael Lowry, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 David McCann, 7 Marcus Rea, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Iain Henderson (captain), 4 Alan O’Connor, 3 Tom O’Toole, 2 John Andrew, 1 Andrew Warwick.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Callum Reid, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Nick Timoney, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Angus Curtis, 23 James Hume.
Referee: Craig Evans
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher, Rob O’Sullivan
TMO: Olly Hodges
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh
(Scotstoun, Glasgow – Kick-off: 20.15; 19.15 GMT)
Glasgow will be aiming to build on their strong home form as they bid to swiftly recover from their defeat to Benetton a fortnight ago.
Danny Wilson’s side has lost just once at Scotstoun since early December, while Edinburgh have hit a rough patch on the road.
Since their dramatic late win at Connacht in the latter stages of the regular Pro14 season, the capital club have been beaten at Cardiff Blues, the Dragons and Racing 92.
These two sides have taken four wins apiece from their last eight meetings, but Edinburgh have won just twice in nine visits to Scotstoun.
@rugby365com: Glasgow by nine points
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Cole Forbes, 14 Ratu Tagive, 13 Nick Grigg, 12 Stafford, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 Ross Thompson, 9 Ali Price, 8 Ryan Wilson (captain), 7 Thomas Gordon, 6 Fotu Lokotui, 5 Scott Cummings, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Tom Lambert, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Kiran McDonald, 21 George Horne, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Niko Matawalu.
Edinburgh: 15 Damien Hoyland, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 George Taylor, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Nathan Chamberlain, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Viliame Mata, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (co-captain), 4 Jamie Hodgson, 3 Willem Nel, 2 David Cherry, 1 Pierre Schoeman (co-captain).
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Boan Venter, 18 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Mesu Kunavula, 21 Charlie Shiel, 22 Charlie Savala, 23 James Johnstone.
Referee: Adam Jones
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White, Finaly Brown
TMO: Hollie Davidson
Saturday, May 8
Connacht v Leinster
(The Sportsground, Galway – Kick-off: 19.35; 18.35 GMT)
Connacht claimed a shock victory over Leinster when these sides met in Dublin in January, while their win against Ulster last time out halted a four-game losing run in all competitions.
However, the Westerners have picked up only one win in Galway since early December and have not beaten Leinster twice in the same season since the 2015-16 campaign.
Leo Cullen’s men were beaten by Munster in the opening round and suffered Heineken Champions Cup semifinal defeat to La Rochelle at the weekend. They have not lost three successive first-team matches since 2015.
Leinster have won their last five away games played against fellow Irish provinces.
@rugby365com: Leinster by eight points
Connacht: 15 John Porch, 14 Peter Sullivan, 13 Sean O’Brien, 12 Tom Daly, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Conor Fitzgerald, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Jarrad Butler (captain), 7 Conor Oliver, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Gavin Thornbury, 4 Niall Murray, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Dave Heffernan, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Matthew Burke, 18 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 19 Cian Prendergast, 20 Abraham Papali’i, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Sammy Arnold, 23 Oran McNulty.
Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Cian Kelleher, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ciarán Frawley, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Jack Conan, 7 Scott Penny, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 James Tracy, 1 Peter Dooley.
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Rowan Osborne, 22 Rory O’Loughlin, 23 Jordan Larmour.
Referee: Frank Murphy
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace, Peter Martin
TMO: Brian MacNeice
Scarlets v Ospreys
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli – Kick-off: 19.35; 18.35 GMT)
The Ospreys have waited a long time to collect a victory at rivals the Scarlets, having not won in Llanelli since they were 27-26 victors on Boxing Day 2015.
They were edged out 16-14 on their last visit in December – a match for which the Ospreys were actually classed as the home side while work was carried out on the Liberty Stadium playing surface.
The Scarlets, who have won just one of their last four matches, are on a three-match losing run against their fellow Welsh regions, while the Ospreys have won three of their last four such fixtures.
@rugby365com: Scarlets by six points
Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Kieran Hardy, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Alex Jeffries, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Dane Blacker, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Joe Roberts.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Cai Evans, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 11 Mat Protheroe, 10 Luke Price, 9 Matthew Aubrey, 8 Ethan Roots, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Sam Cross, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Rhys Henry, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Rhys Davies, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Luke Morgan.
Referee: Ben Blain
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse, Aled Evans
TMO: Ian Davies
Sunday, May 9
Cardiff Blues v Dragons
(Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Kick-off: 13.00; 12.00 GMT)
The Dragons have been in encouraging form of late, having won three of their last four matches and thumped the Scarlets 52-32 in their Rainbow Cup opener.
But they head to the capital having lost their last 10 meetings with the Blues, although they have been generally tight affairs, with only one of the last five producing a winning margin greater than five points.
The Dragons, who last triumphed at the Arms Park on Boxing Day 2014, have won their last two matches against Welsh opposition and have not won three such fixtures in row since 2011.
@rugby365com: Cardiff by eight points
Cardiff Blues: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Jason Harries, 13 Owen Lane, 12 Max Llewellyn, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Ben Thomas, 9 Jamie Hill, 8 Sam Moore, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Cory Hill, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Kirby Myhill (captain), 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Will Davies-King, 19 Teddy Williams, 20 James Ratti, 21 Ellis Bevan, 22 Jarrod Evans, 23 Willis Halaholo.
Dragons: 15 Ioan Davies, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Aneurin Owen, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Rio Dyer, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Ross Moriarty (captain), 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Taylor Davies, 1 Josh Reynolds.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Chris Coleman, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Harrison Keddie, 21 Dan Babos, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Jack Dixon.
Referee: Mike Adamson
Assistant referees: Dan Jones, Mike English
TMO: Sean Brickell