Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Looking back at the Pro14 semi-finals

Looking back at the Pro14 semi-finals

Shaun Goosen highlights some of the talking points from this past weekend's Pro14 fixtures. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Leinster machine marches on

Leinster maintained their 100% record this season by seeing off Munster 13-3 at a rainy Aviva Stadium on Friday to qualify for a ninth Pro14 final from their last 11 attempts. It’s a bonkers stat that underlines just how much power and prestige the Dublin-based club possess, and a win in the final this weekend will hand them their third title in a row.

Johann van Graan’s Munster, who were pipped by just two points against the same opponents in a thrilling all-Irish derby just a fortnight ago, now preside over eight losses from their last nine against their traditional foe. If it’s any consolation, the future does look to be promising, with Damian de Allende and RG Snyman (once he recovers from injury) sure to play a big part in the Red Army’s upcoming seasons.

Madigan snatches win for Ulster at the death

Saturday’s second semi-final was a positively riveting affair, with Edinburgh and Ulster putting on a memorable show at BT Murrayfield. As it happened, it went down to an Ian Madigan penalty after the 80th-minute to see the men from Belfast go through at the hosts’ expense. As always, ever-industrious Ulster Springbok Marcell Coetzee was influential and must surely be in Jacques Nienaber’s plans ahead of the British & Irish Lions tour next year.

Edinburgh were in control for virtually the entirety of the first half, but Ulster struck back to deny the Scottish side what would have been just their second-ever appearance in a final. It’s a shame for Richard Cockerill’s charges, who topped Conference B on points-difference, but they will rue not putting the game to bed when they were in the ascendency.

Perennial underdogs Ulster have massive task on their hands

An Ulster win over Leinster in the season finale in Dublin this weekend would surely rank among the competition’s greatest upsets. Dan McFarland’s men, who are all too used to playing second-fiddle to big brothers Leinster and Munster, will have it all to do if they are to topple the European powerhouses in blue. The unfancied Northern Irishmen are often written off by scribes, but it is much to their credit that they are seemingly the “second team” of many a rugby supporter.

But how’s this: Leinster have yet to taste defeat since losing to Saracens in the Champions Cup final of May last year; a run comprised of 22 wins on the bounce. Like I said, they’re a bonkers side. But it’s always possible for the luck o’ the Irish to switch hands to those a little further north this weekend. 

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