PRO 14: Round 12 Preview

Rugby Players enter a scrum

The festive season is in full swing and rugby fans will be treated to yet another round of European derby fixtures this coming weekend.

Well, last week's set of European derbies certainly didn't disappoint with Lazarus like comebacks and scintillating tries being par for the course in Round 10. Let's hope the second serving of derby fixtures is just as tasty as the first offering.

Connacht v Ulster
Friday 28 December

The Sportsground

To Win (80 Mins)
Connacht 7/20
Draw 20/1

Ulster 23/10

First up we have an all-Irish affair with Connacht playing host to Ulster. Connacht head into this one off the back of disappointing results with the hosts blowing a significant half-time lead to go down 33-29 to Leinster last week.

This weekend's visitors enjoyed a far more profitable Round 10 as they beat Munster 19-12 at the Kingspan. The results have seen the Ulster men move three points clear of the third-placed Scarlets on the Conference B standings.

Verdict: Connacht
The hosts will be desperate to atone for last week's second-half display. I can fully see them redeeming themselves in front of their home faithful on Friday evening. 

Treviso v Zebre
Saturday 29 December
Stadio Comunale di Monigo

To Win (80 Mins)
Treviso 3/10
Draw 20/1

Zebre 26/10

We move from Ireland to Italy for our next fixture which will see Treviso host arch-rivals Zebre. The two sides locked horns last week with Treviso edging a rather dull affair 8-10. Hopefully, a change in venue will see these two sides up the ante on attack this coming weekend.

Verdict: Treviso
The hosts have a far superior squad than their local rivals and should have no problems bagging the double over Zebre here. I can see Treviso taking this one by more than ten points.

Glasgow v Edinburgh
Saturday 29 December

Scoutstoun Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Glasgow 3/10
Draw 21/1
Edinburgh 28/10
The headline Scottish derby is up next with the men from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The two sides locked horns last week with Edinburgh pulling off something of a shock as they ran out 16 point victors at Murrayfield.

While Glasgow were poor last week, they should be a lot better this weekend as they will have a few key players set to return to the starting XV.

Verdict: Glasgow
They'll be fired up for this one after last week's dismal showing, and I can see the Warriors bouncing back on home soil.

Scarlets v Cardiff Blues
Saturday 29 December
Parc ye Scarlets

To Win (80 Mins)
Scarlets 7/20
Draw 20/1

Cardiff 23/10

We return to Wales for our next fixture that will see the Scarlets take on the Blues. The visitors enjoyed a far more positive Round 11 than their hosts did as they beat the Dragons by three points while Cardiff went down to the Ospreys 19-12. The Scarlets did give a good account of themselves against the high-flying Ospreys, however, and should be a tough nut to crack on home soil.

Verdict: Scarlets7/20
As we saw last week, the Welsh derbies tend to go the way of the hosts and I'm can't see that trend-bucking here.

Munster v Leinster
Saturday 29 December
Thomond Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Munster 21/20
Draw 17/1

Leinster 8/10

The penultimate fixture of the round is certainly the best with arch-rivals Munster and Leinster set to square off at Thomond Park. The sides experienced contrasting fortunes last week with a weakened Leinster squad pulling off a miracle of a comeback - that saw them score three tries in the final ten minutes - to beat Connacht away from home, and Munster going down by seven points to Ulster.

Leinster will welcome back a handful of full-stringers for this match which will only make the best side in European rugby that much stronger.

Verdict: Leinster 8/10
While this is likely to be a close fought affair, it's one I can see the away side winning.

Dragons v Ospreys
Sunday 30 December

Rodney Parade

To Win (80 Mins)
Dragons 7/4
Draw 18/1
Ospreys 5/10

We close out the round with Sunday's solitary fixture that will see Welsh rivals the Dragons and Ospreys square off at Rodney Parade. The two sides experienced contrasting fortunes last weekend with the hosts going down by three points to the Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys beating the Scarlets by seven points.

Verdict: Ospreys 5/10
This should be a very tight run thing but I can see the Ospreys sneaking a rare away derby win here.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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