Pro 14: Round 9 Preview

Rugby Players enter a scrum

The Pro14 returns after a two-week break this coming weekend. Darry Worthington takes a look at the seven Round 9 fixtures below.

With the international window winding down, Pro14 teams will soon be able to field full-strength squads which means we're less likely to see upset results. As such, this weekend could prove a pivotal one for some of the less glamorous sides who will be looking to hay while the big boys are still missing a few of their key men.

Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues
Friday 23 November

Scoutstoun Stadium
21:35


To Win (80 Mins)
Glasgow
Draw
Cardiff


The Warriors will be looking to maintain top spot on the Conference A standings when they take on the conference rivals Cardiff in Friday's opener. The hosts have enjoyed a solid start to the season and have only suffered two defeats in their opening eight games.

Cardiff have been far less prolific thus far winning half of their fixtures. The Blues have struggled on the road this term with their only away day victory being an eight-point win over the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Verdict: Glasgow
The Warriors have a very deep squad and shouldn't be to badly affected by the absence of their Scottish internationals. My money is on the hosts winning this one by nine points or more.

Leinster v Ospreys
Friday 23 November
RDS Arena
21:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster
Draw

Ospreys

Leinster will be without a host of their international stars when they take on an Ospreys side that also have a handful of their big guns still away on international duty.

The hosts and reigning champions have picked up from where they left off last year winning seven of their opening eight fixtures with their only defeat being a 23-21 away loss to the Scarlets.

The Ospreys have fared slightly less-better this campaign winning five of their opening eight. The Welsh outfit have lost two of their last three games with their most recent defeat being a 20-29 loss to Glasgow.

Verdict: Leinster
They may be devoid of a host of their stars but I can still see the reigning champions winning this one by eight points or more.

Scarlets v Ulster
Friday 23 November
Parc ye Scarlets
21:35


To Win (80 Mins)
Scarlets
Draw

Ulster

We round out Friday night's action with yet another Welsh/Irish clash as Conference B's third-placed side, the Scarlets, take on second-placed Ulster. This game is sure to be a hard-fought one as there is only a solitary point separating the two sides on the Conference B standings.

Both teams have were off the boil prior to the international break with Ulster scraping to a five-point victory over Italian side Treviso, and the Scarlets by 10-points to Edinburgh.

Verdict: Scarlets
This should be a very tight fixture that could really go either way. As such, I won't be having a strike on the game. If you must have a punt, I recommend backing the hosts on the straight for a very minimal amount.

Cheetahs v Benetton Treviso
Saturday 24 November

Toyota Stadium
14:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Cheetahs
Draw

Treviso

The Cheetahs will be looking to make the most of Treviso missing a handful of Italian internationals when they two sides lock horns out in Bloemfontein this Saturday. The hosts have only won a solitary game this season and currently reside at the foot of Conference A, while Treviso sit in fifth-place in Conference B having won three of their opening eight fixture.

The Cheetahs have been a much better side on home soil than they have been on the road beating Cardiff 21-10 and going down 26-30 to Munster in the last two games that they have played at the Toyota Stadium.

Verdict: Cheetahs
I'm expecting the Cheetahs to improve greatly from here on in. They now know their participation in next year's Currie Cup is secure and that is a big monkey off their back. My money is on the hosts taking this one by 10 points or more. 

Kings v Connacht
Saturday 24 November

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Kings
Draw

Connacht

We remain in South Africa for our next fixture which will see the Kings take on Irish outfit Connacht. The hosts have proved a tough nut to crack at home this term having already beaten the Warriors by 10 points.

Connacht will be wary heading into this one and are unlikely to take the Kings lightly as the Irish province know what it's like to be labelled an underdog and cause an upset.

Verdict: Connacht
The visitors haven't really been affected by international call-ups, and I can see them taking a dogged approach into this one. My money is on the Irish side taking the spoils here.

Zebre v Munster
Saturday 24 November
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
17:30


To Win (80 Mins)
Zebre
Draw
Munster


Saturday's final fixture pits Italian minnows Zebre up against Irish powerhouses Munster. The hosts have only won three games this term and currently reside in sixth place on the Conference A standings, while visitors have won five of their eight and sit in second place.

Zebre head into this one off the back of some patchy form with the Italian side losing four of their last five but beating Edinburgh at home. Munster have been far more consistent and come into Saturday's fixture off the back of two wins.

Verdict: Munster
Despite the Munster men missing a plethora of their international stars, I can still see the Irish province claiming the win here.

Dragons v Edinburgh
Sunday 25 November

Rodney Parade
19:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Dragons
Draw

Edinburgh

We close out the Round 9 action with a clash between the Dragons and Edinburgh at Rodney Parade. The Dragons currently reside at the foot of the Conference B standings have only claimed two wins from their opening eight fixtures.

Edinburgh have fared far better this term winning half their games, which has seen them to the relatively comfortable position of fourth. The Scottish outfit will be without talismanic losos forward Josh Strauss, as the former Golden Lions man is still involved with the Scottish national team.

Verdict: Edinburgh
They have far fewer players in the national set-up then domestic rivals Glasgow so Edinburgh will have the majority of their first-stringers available this Saturday. I can see the visitors piling more misery upon their hosts here.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets


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