Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PRO14: Round 2 Preview

PRO14: Round 2 Preview

Darry Worthington takes a look at the six Round 2 2020/21 PRO14 games which will get underway on Friday the 9th of October. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The rugby action comes think and fast this weekend. And with a number of big tournaments getting underway, one could be forgiven for forgetting that the second round of 2020/21 PRO14 is starting on Friday. 

The second round of the tournament throws up some rather intriguing fixtures, with the headline clash seeing Munster square off against Edinburgh on Saturday evening. 

Newport-Gwent Dragons v Zebre
Friday 9 October
Rodney Parade

To Win (80 Mins)
Dragons 2/9
Draw 22/1
Zebre 32/10

Our first port of call this weekend is Newport, Wales where the Dragons will play host to Italian outfit Zebre. 

The hosts had a rough old start to the new season as they went down 35-5 to reigning champions Leinster. The visitors also had an opening round to forget as they were beaten 16-6 by the Cardiff Blues in Italy. 

The two sides met twice last season with both games being high-scoring affairs which went the way of whoever was the visiting side. The first game ended 12-39 to Zebre while the return leg saw the Dragons win 28-52. 

Verdict: Dragons 2/9
Zebre are notorious for struggling on the road and I think they are on for yet another disappointing away day this Friday. 

Benetton Treviso v Leinster
Saturday 10 October
Stade Communale Di Monigo

To Win (80 Mins)
Treviso 8/1
Draw 22/1
Leinster 1/20

We cross over to Italy for Saturday's next fixture which will see reigning champions Leinster take on a Treviso side that impressed in the opening round. 

The visitors bagged yet another PRO14 win last week as they beat the Dragons by 30 points. The win came at a cost, however, with star fly-half, Johnny Sexton, picking up yet another hamstring injury which will rule him out of Saturday's encounter. 

As alluded to earlier, Treviso started their campaign with a decent display as they gave Ulster a run in Ireland. While it was a fruitless jaunt to the 'Emerald Isle' in terms of points, Treviso will take a lot of confidence from being able to rack up 24 points against a big gun such as Ulster. 

Verdict:  Leinster 1/20
I reckon Trevsio will actually run the reigning champions close. While Leinster will win it, it won't be by much so any plus handicap in excess of 15 points should be snatched up.  

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Ospreys v Ulster
Saturday 10 October
Liberty Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)

*Odds to be added upon release

We remain in Wales for our next encounter which will see the Ospreys take on last season's runners-up, Ulster. 

The Welsh side head into this one having garnered a solid win in Round 1 as they beat Edinburgh 10-25 in Scotland. Ulster were slightly less impressive in the opening round as they recorded a 35-24 win over Italia side Treviso. There will be some real concerns about Ulster's defensive game after they shipped those 24 points against the Italian minnows. 

Verdict: Ospreys
I'm on the hosts here. Ulster really didn't impress me last week and I think they are still rather mentally drained after their PRO14 Final loss to Leinster a month ago. 

Munster v Edinburgh
Saturday 10 October
Thomond Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Munster 2/9
Draw 24/1
Edinburgh 32/10

Munster will be looking to make it two wins on the trot when they take on an Edinburgh side that had a rather disappointing start to the new campaign. 

The hosts for this weekend pulled off a minor miracle in the opening week as they overturned a 27-17 deficit with only 14 men on the park. The manner of their 30-27 victory will give Munster a lot of confidence for the remainder of the season as they will believe they are capable of turning a game around even when the odds are stacked against them. 

Edinburgh had a far worse weekend as Richard Cockerill's men were beaten 10-25 by the Ospreys on home soil. 

Verdict: Munster 2/9
While I fully expect a better showing from Edinburgh this week, it won't be enough to beat a Munster side that will be high on confidence headed into the clash. 

Cardiff Blues v Connacht 
Saturday 10 October
Rodney Parade

To Win (80 Mins)
Cardiff 6/10
Draw 20/1
Connacht 14/10

The Cardiff Blues and Connacht will go head to head in Saturday's final fixture. Both teams head into this one off the back of victories with the Blues beating Zebre 6-16 and Connacht beating Glasgow 28-24. 

One man to keep an eye on this Saturday is Ireland centre, Bundee Aki. The big man was in sensational touch last week and was the catalyst for his side's come from behind victory over the Warriors. Expect him to cause Cardiff's midfield all sorts of problems. 

Verdict: Connacht 14/10
I'm on the upset win here. If Aki fires then Connacht should be able to see off this Cardiff side. 

Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets
Sunday 11 October

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

The Warriors will be looking to bounce back from their four-point defeat to Connacht when they take on a Scarlets side that opened their 2020/21 PRO14 campaign with a dramatic three-point defeat to Munster. 

Both sides were in the ascendancy during the final quarter of their respective opening round games before blowing substantial leads. With this in mind, the final 20 minutes of Sunday's encounter could prove vital as there may well be some nerves floating around both squads. 

Verdict: Warriors 7/10
I reckon we're in for a tight old affair on Saturday. As such, I won't be having a big strike on this one. If pushed for a tip, I'd recommend backing the home side. 

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