Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PRO 14: Round 19 Preview

PRO 14: Round 19 Preview

Rugby Players enter a scrum

After a week's break for the Champions and Challenge Cup, the PRO14 will return with Round 19 of the tournament sure to be a cracker.

The PRO14 is fast approaching the round-robin phase run-in with only three sets of fixtures remaining until May's play-off fixtures. It seems we're destined for an absolute 'bunfight' over the course of April with a number of teams in the running for a place in the play-offs.

Munster v Cardiff Blues
Friday 5 April
Irish Independent Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Munster 7/20
Draw 16/1
Cardiff  49/20

Munster will head into Friday's clash with the Cardiff Blues in high spirits having seen off a dogged Edinburgh side 13-17 at Murrayfield last weekend to secure a spot in the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-finals.

The Blues, on the other hand, had the weekend off as they exited Europe during the pool phase. Their last outing was a positive one, however, as they beat local rivals, the Scarlets, 41-17 a fortnight ago.

Verdict: Munster 7/20
Both teams have been in impressive form in the PRO 14 of late suffering just one loss in their last five respective fixtures. As such, this should be a tight affair that is likely to see the home side take the spoils by no more than seven points. 

Glasgow Warriors v Ulster
Friday 5 April
Scoutstoun Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Glasgow 3/10
Draw 18/1
Ulster 51/20

Next up a wounded Glasgow Warriors side will take on what will be an equally heartbroken Ulster outfit. Both teams were eliminated from the European Rugby Champions Cup last weekend with Glasgow being hammered 56-27 by English outfit Saracens and Ulster going down 21-18 to local rivals Leinster. With both teams now out of Europe, their attention will be solely focused on the PRO14.

Prior to last week's European defeats, both sides were in decent touch in the PRO14 and were unbeaten in their last five games. The two sides put in respectable showings in Round 18 with Ulster beating the Southern Kings 33-19 and Glasgow beating the Cheetahs 35-17.

Verdict: Glasgow 3/10
The Scottish outfit will be looking to make a big statement here after last weekend's drubbing. I can see them doing just this by beating Ulster by more than seven points. 

Cheetahs v Ospreys
Saturday 6 April
Toyota Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Cheetahs 11/20
Draw 18/1
Ospreys 15/10

The Cheetahs will be looking to salvage some pride from what has been a disappointing second year in the PRO 14 when they take on an Ospreys side that is still in with a shout of qualifying for the play-offs.

Bloemfontein has been a far happier hunting ground for the South Africans this season and they should be able to give this hit and miss Ospreys side a real run for their money there. The hosts do come into this one off the back of a taxing European tour that saw them lose four successive fixtures.

The past few months haven't been much kinder to the Ospreys who have suffered four defeats in their last five PRO14 fixtures

Verdict: Cheetahs 11/20
I can see a return to home soil seeing the Cheetahs return to winning ways. I actually think the hosts will win this one by more than a converted try. 

Zebre v Connacht
Saturday 6 April
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

To Win (80 Mins)
Zebre 28/10
Draw 16/1
Connacht 3/10

We return to Europe for our next fixture which will see Zebre take on Connacht out in Italy. The Italians are out of the running for play-off qualification and currently sit at the foot of the Conference A standings. Their opponents, on the other hand, are third in the same conference and are in with a massive shout of securing a play-off berth.

Verdict: Connacht 3/10
Connacht may be a bit mentally fatigued headed into this one with the Irish Province bowing out of the European Rugby Challenge Cup after a 20-10 defeat to Sale this past weekend. They are taking on a Zebre side that has only recorded three wins this season, though, so even if Connacht aren't firing on all cylinders they should still have enough about them to claim a vital away win. 

Scarlets v Edinburgh
Saturday 6 April
Parc Y Scarlets

To Win (80 Mins)
Scarlets 7/20
Draw 20/1
Edinburgh 23/10

The Scarlets and Edinburgh will go head-to-head in a crucial Conference B game this Saturday. Only two points separate the sides on the standings with the visitors currently stationed in fourth place - three points off third-placed Treviso.

Edinburgh head into this one off the back of a disheartening 13-17 Champions Cup defeat to Munster, while the Scarlets lost there last fixture - which took place two weeks ago - 41-17 to local rivals, the Cardiff Blues.

Verdict: Edinburgh 23/10
I'm backing the away team to use last week's disappointment as a motivating factor to spur them on to victory here.

Leinster v Treviso
Saturday 6 April
Royal Dublin Society Arena

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 1/11
Draw 35/1
Treviso 57/10

Leinster will be looking to claim their 16th win of the campaign when they tackle a Treviso side that has taken the PRO14 by storm this year.

The hosts are likely to field a slightly weakened side this weekend after a number of their first stringers were involved in last weekend's hard-fought narrow Champions Cup victory over local rivals Leinster. This shouldn't really limit their ability, however, as Leinster have fielded a number of fringe players this term and still come up trumps on multiple occasions.

Verdict: Leinster 1/11
Yes, Treviso have been great this year but Leinster are a different class and should have no problems putting up a big score against the Italians this weekend. 

Kings v Dragons
Sunday 7 April
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Kings 19/20
Draw 14/1
Dragons 19/20

The Kings and Dragons go head-to-head in the battle to avoid the Conference B wooden spoon in the final game of the weekend. The hosts currently occupy sixth place on their conference standings but sit only a point above the last-placed Dragons.

Both sides have been in horrendous form this season with the Dragons only winning four of their 18 fixtures and the Kings only registering two wins. Both of the South African franchise's victories did come on home soil.

Verdict: Kings 19/20
I think the home side offer terrific value here as they are a much better outfit on South African shores. I'll be having a solid crack on them to notch up their third win of the season this Sunday. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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