Fri 6 Nov 2020 | 04:12

Pro14, Round Five - Predictions and Teams

Pro14, Round Five - Predictions and Teams
Fri 6 Nov 2020 | 04:12
Pro14, Round Five - Predictions and Teams
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BOK BOOST: Unbeaten Irish side Ulster will be boosted by the return of their talisman Marcell Coetzee ahead of their Pro14 Round five clash against Glasgow Warriors on Monday.

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Coetzee missed his team’s win over the Cardiff Blues on Monday because of an ankle strain and his return will be welcomed by the Belfast side who have been in red-hot form this season thus far.

Coetzee’s return, as well as the availability of fellow talisman John Cooney, who was left out of the Ireland squad this weekend, means that coach Dan McFarland will be in good spirits hoping to win a fifth consecutive game in the competition.

Coetzee, despite missing the game still leads the season stats on most carries (45) and offloads (9) and has certainly been one of the stars for his team in their bid to catch Leinster in Conference A this season.

Kingspan is one of the hardest venues to visit and Ulster have won their last 16 home games since drawing with Benetton in January 2019. In contrast, Glasgow have won just once this season but have not lost to Ulster in two-and-a-half years. The Warriors have struggled against Irish opposition however, with their last win against a side from the Emerald Isle coming against Ulster in the 2019 Semi-Finals.

Sunday’s round of games will answer the question whether the Welsh sides can bounce back from their tough losses in round four, where not one of their sides was on the right side of the scoreline.

The Ospreys will try and fly the flag and bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Zebre on Monday, and now have to face the unbeaten Leinster side. While the Ospreys have not lost successive Pro14 games since January, they face a side that will be looking for their nine straight win against Welsh opposition, with their last defeat coming against the Scarlets in September 2018. And with Leinster on a massive unbeaten run, chances are the Ospreys will be hard-pressed to change these fortunes.

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The Dragons were forced to postpone their game against Connacht following seven new positive COVID-19 tests at the Welsh side. The region has been closed for a fortnight and both this game and their round six game against Glasgow Warriors has been postponed. The Round Seven fixture with Edinburgh will be under review as players are put through a testing programme.

Munster, who played against Dragons last weekend, have returned a full list of negative results from their PCR testing this week. Munster and Benetton’s game on Saturday afternoon was postponed thanks to a second COVID-19 outbreak at the Italian side.

Connacht have now had their last two games postponed because of COVID, with their Round Four game against Benetton also being postponed because of the virus.

The Italian side Zebre will look to make history of their own, having not won back-to-back Pro14 games since September 2018, and will be looking to take another Welsh scalp in Scarlets. Their chances though may look tough judging by history as the Welsh side have an unbeaten 13-game record in clashes between the two sides.

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The other Monday game will see Edinburgh look to build on their close 6-3 win over Scarlets, a win that broke a five game losing streak in Pro14.

And they should feel confident, with Edinburgh suffering just one defeat from their last eight matches with Welsh opposition, while they have won their last two encounters with Cardiff Blues.

The Blues have lost their last two Pro14 matches but have not lost three for more than a year, while they have won on five of their last seven trips to Murrayfield.

We take a closer look at the Round Five matches!

Sunday, November 8:

Ospreys v Leinster
(Liberty Stadium, Swansea – Kick-off: 15.00; 15.00 GMT)

Ospreys suffered a disappointing defeat to Zebre on Monday, going down 17-23 in Parma, while Leinster head to Wales following an ominous 32-19 success at Glasgow Warriors.

Ospreys have not lost successive Pro14 matches since January but face a tall task against a Leinster team that boasts a 100 percent winning record this season.

Recent history also favours Leo Cullen’s men as they chase a ninth straight win against Welsh opposition, with their last defeat coming against Scarlets in September 2018.

Ospreys have won just one of their last ten meetings with the defending champions but have made an encouraging start to the new campaign with two wins from four following an underwhelming 2019/20.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Leinster by five points

Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Cai Evans, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Joe Hawkins, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Josh Thomas, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Dan Lydiate (captain), 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Olly Cracknell, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Callum Carson, 23 Hanno Dirksen.

Leinster: 15 Jimmy O’Brien, 14 Cian Kelleher, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Tommy O’Brien, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Harry Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 7 Scott Penny , 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 James Tracy, 1 Michael Milne.
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Ciarán Parker, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Hugh O’Sullivan, 22 David Hawkshaw, 23 Liam Turner.

Referee: Sam Grove-White
Assistant Referees: Adam Jones, Ben Whitehouse
TMO: Tim Hayes

Scarlets v Zebre
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli – Kick-off: 17:15; 17.15; 18.15 Italy time)

Zebre have not won back-to-back Pro14 matches since September 2018 but will be flying high after a morale-boosting win against Ospreys on Monday.

Overcoming Scarlets on the road is an all-together different prospect though, with the Llanelli-based side protecting an unbeaten 13-game head-to-head record.

Zebre have won just two away games in Wales altogether, although the latest of those was only a year ago when they beat Dragons in November 2019.

Scarlets’ only win this season came against Zebre’s Italian rivals Benetton 11-3 in Round Three and they are bidding to avoid a third straight home defeat since 2007/8 – when they were playing in their former home, Stradey Park.

The hosts will be seeking more tries, with only Paul Asquith and Samson Lee dotting down in this young campaign.

Prediction

@rugby365com: Scarlets by 12 points

Teams:

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Ryan Conbeer, 13 Steff Hughes (captain), 12 Paul Asquith, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Dane Blacker, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Morgan Jones, 4 Jac Price, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements:
16 Taylor Davies, 17 Kemsley Mathias, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Danny Drake, 20 Ed Kennedy, 21 Will Homer, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Tyler Morgan.

Zebre: 15 Junior Laloifi, 14 Pierre Bruno, 13 Giulio Bisegni (c), 12 Enrico Lucchin, 11 Giovanni D’Onofrio, 10 Antonio Rizzi, 9 Joshua Renton, 8 Lorenzo Masselli, 7 Antoine Koffi, 6 Nardo Casolari, 5 Ian Nagle, 4 Leonard Krumov, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Marco Manfredi, 1 Paolo Buonfiglio.
Replacements:
16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Matteo Nocera, 19 Gabriele Venditti, 20 Massimo Ceciliani, 21 Nicolò Casilio, 22 Paolo Pescetto, 23 Michelangelo Biondelli.

Referee: Sean Gallagher
Assistant Referees: Craig Evans, Gwyn Morris
TMO: Wayne Davies

Monday, November 9:

Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues
(Murrayfield, Edinburgh Kick-off: 20:15; 20.15 GMT)

Edinburgh finally got off the mark for the new season with a scratchy 6-3 win away at Scarlets in Round Four, a result which ended a five-game losing streak in the Pro14.

Now it’s time for Richard Cockerill’s team to banish another growing concern and end their four-game losing streak at Murrayfield.

The history book makes for pleasant reading, with Edinburgh suffering just one defeat from their last eight matches with Welsh opposition, while they have won their last two encounters with Cardiff Blues.

The Blues have lost their last two Pro14 matches but have not lost three for more than a year, while they have won on five of their last seven trips to Murrayfield.

Away days have become a slog, however, with the Blues’ opening-day 16-6 success at Zebre their only away win in 2020.

Prediction:

@rugby365com: Edinburgh by nine points

Teams:

Edinburgh:

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Blain, 14 Eroni Sau, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Jamie Farndale, 10 Nathan Chamberlain, 9 Henry Pyrgos (captain), 8 Ally Miller, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Jamie Hodgson, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Lee-Roy Atalifo, 2 David Cherry, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Sam Grahamslaw, 18 Dan Gamble, 19 Marshall Sykes, 20 Connor Boyle, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Charlie Shiel, 23 James Johnstone

Cardiff Blues: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Max Llewellyn, 11 Owen Lane, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Lewis Jones, 8 Will Boyde, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 James Ratti, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kristian Dacey (captain), 1 Brad Thyer
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Sam Moore, 21 Jamie Hill, 22 Ben Thomas, 23 Matthew Morgan

Referee: Andrew Brace
Assistant Referees: Hollie Davidson, Ian Kenny
TMO: Sam Grove-White

Ulster v Glasgow Warriors
Kingspan Stadium, Belfast – Kick-off: 20:15; 20.15 GMT)

They may have lost in the Pro14 Final two months ago but Ulster have refused to let it get them down, matching Leinster stride for stride in Conference A so far.

On Monday, they face Glasgow Warriors – the 2018-19 beaten finalists – hoping to make it five wins from five this season.

Kingspan is one of the hardest venues to visit and Ulster have won their last 16 home games since drawing with Benetton in January 2019.

In contrast, Glasgow have won just once this season but have not lost to Ulster in two-and-a-half years. The Warriors have struggled against Irish opposition, however, with their last win against a side from across the Irish Sea.

Prediction:

@rugby365com: Ulster by seven points

Teams:

Ulster: 15 Michael Lowry, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stewart Moore, 11 Matt Faddes, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Matty Rea, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Marty Moore, 2 John Andrew, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Eric O’Sullivan, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Alan O’Connor, 20 Marcus Rea, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Bill Johnston, 23 Ethan McIlroy

Glasgow Warriors: 15 Glenn Bryce, 14 Ratu Tagive, 13 Robbie Fergusson, 12 Stafford McDowall, 11 Niko Matawalu, 10 Pete Horne, 9 Jamie Dobie, 8 TJ Ioane, 7 Tom Gordon, 6 Ryan Wilson (captain), 5 Kiran McDonald, 4 Rob Harley, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Grant Stewart, 1 Aki Seiuli
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’arcy Rae, 19 Lewis Bean, 20 Hamish Bain, 21 Fotu Lokotui, 22 Sean Kennedy, 23 Brandon Thomson

Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy, Chris Busby
TMO: Joy Neville

@PRO14Official

PV: 38
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Pro14, Round Five - Predictions and Teams | Rugby365