Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PRO14: Round Eight Preview

PRO14: Round Eight Preview

 Leinster captain Scott Fardy speaks to his team

Darry Worthington takes a look at the six Round Eight PRO14 fixtures that are being played between Friday the 20th and Saturday the 21st of December. 

It's a weekend of derbies in the PRO14 with only the South African sides not playing national rivals. While most of these fixtures should be absolute crackers, the real standouts are Friday's clash between Irish giants Leinster and Ulster and Saturday's duel between their fellow Irish provinces, Connacht and Munster.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sport

Leinster v Ulster
Friday 20 December
RDS Arena


To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 1/16
Draw 30/1

Ulster 13/2

We kick proceedings off with an absolute cracker as reigning champions Leinster take on domestic rivals Ulster. The hosts have been nothing short of sensational this term and are yet to lose a game in any competition. They head into this one off of big back-to-back Heineken Cup victories over the Northampton Saints.

Ulster have also enjoyed a solid fortnight racking up home and away wins over Harlequins in the Heineken Cup.

Verdict: Leinster 1/16
Irish derbies are generally tight affairs but I don't think this one will be. I can see the hosts winning it by more than 14 points. 

Zebre v Benneton Treviso
Saturday 21 December

Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

To Win (80 Mins)
Zebre 26/10
Draw 20/1
Treviso 3/10

We move from an all-Irish affair to an all Italian one with Zebre and Treviso set to square off in Saturday's opener.

The two Italian sides have struggled this term with Zebre only winning one of their seven PRO14 fixtures, while Treviso have won only two.

Both teams head into this one off of a couple of decent weeks in Europe with Zerbe beating Brive before going down to the same opponents in the return leg, while Treviso registered an identical record in their double-header against Lyon.

Verdict: Treviso 3/10
They are by far the stronger side and I think it will tell here. 

Dragons v Scarlets
Saturday 21 December

Rodney Parade

To Win (80 Mins)
Dragons 43/20
Draw 20/1
Scarlets 4/10

We head back to the home nations for our next derby which sees the Dragons and Scarlets square off. The two Welsh sides have endured contrasting fortunes this term with the hosts only winning two of the seven PRO14 fixtures they've played and the visitors winning five of their seven.

The Dragons do head into this one off the back of a nine-point Challenge Cup victory over Worcester, so their tails will be up for this one. The Scarlets also fared well during the European break beating Bayonne home and away.

Verdict: Dragons 43/20
I'm going for an upset here. These local derbies tend to go the way of the home side. And despite their poor form, I do give the hosts a chance. 

Connacht v Munster
Saturday 21 December


To Win (80 Mins)
Connacht 5/10
Draw 18/1
Munster 7/4

The final Irish derby is up next with Connacht playing host to Munster. Both teams have enjoyed solid starts to the season winning five of their seven fixtures.

The duo were hit-and-miss in the Heineken Champions Cup over the past fortnight with Munster beating Saracens at home before going down to the same opponents in London and Connacht losing to Gloucester in England before getting revenge by beating the same opponents last weekend.

Verdict: Connacht 5/10
Last weekend's come-from-behind victory ver Gloucester with have given the hosts a heap of confidence. I can see them impressing again this weekend. 

Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh
Saturday 21 December

Scoutstoun Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Glasgow 6/10
Draw 18/1
Edinburgh 14/10

The penultimate game of the weekend will be the Scottish derby between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The visitors have enjoyed a far better start to this season's PRO14 and have won five of their seven games, whereas the Warriors have only won three of there's.

In terms of recent form, Glasgow beat La Rochelle away from home before losing to them in Scotland. Edinburgh had a better time of it in the Challenge Cup as they beat Wasps both home and away.

Verdict: Glasgow 6/10
This is likely to be a hard-fought affair but I can see the hosts coming out on top. 

Ospreys v Cardiff
Saturday 21 December
Liberty Stadium


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

Cardiff 7/10

The round will come to a closeout in Swansea where the Ospreys hosts local rivals, the Cardiff Blues.

Both teams have struggled in the PRO 14 with the hosts only winning one fixture thus far and the visitors only winning three.

The duo head into this one off the back of defeats as well with Cardiff going down by five points to Pau in the Challenge Cup and the Ospreys going down by 13 points to Racing Metro in the fourth round of the Heineken Champions Cup.

Verdict: Ospreys 5/4
I think home ground advantage may just spur the Ospreys on to a much-needed win over their local rivals. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

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