Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PRO14: Round 3 Preview

PRO14: Round 3 Preview


Darry Worthington previews all of the 2020/21 Round 3 PRO14 action, which will get underway on Friday the 23rd of October. 

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

European international rugby will restart this weekend with Ireland and Italy playing the sole Round 4 Six Nations catch-up game. This game, coupled, with Englands friendly with the Baa-Baas and France's friendly with Wales, will have a massive bearing on Round 3 of the PRO14 with a number of Northern Hemisphere stars in camp with their national sides. 

While some of the gloss will be diminished from the tournament due to the absence of world-class talent, it does leave the door open for some major upsets this weekend. 

Leinster v Zebre 
Friday 23 October
RDS Arena
20:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 1/100
Draw 30/1
Zebre 13/1


A Leinster side sans a number of Irish internationals will take on Zebre in the Round 3 opener this Friday evening. 

The hosts have enjoyed a fast start to their title defence beating the Dragons 35-5 in Round 1 before going onto beat Zebre's Italian compatriots, Treviso, 25-37 in Round 2. 

Zebre, on the other hand, have endured a tough old start to the campaign going down 6-16 to the Cardiff Blues in Round 1 and 26-18 to the Dragons in Round 2. Like Leinster, Zebre will be without a number of Italian internationals as the national side will take on Ireland this weekend. 

Verdict: Leinster 1/100
They may be without a number of their internationals but Leinster will still be too much for Zebre. Any handicap less than 25 points and I'm on the minus. 

Treviso v Scarlets
Friday 23 October
Stadio Comunale Di Monigo
21:15


To Win (80 Mins)
Treviso 13/10
Draw 18/1
Scarlets 13/20

Treviso will be looking to bounce back from their 12 point home defeat to Leinster when they take on a Scarlets side that 20-7 to the Glasgow Warriors in Round 2. 

Neither side has managed to bag a win thus far with Treviso going down 35-24 to Ulster in Round 1 and the Scarlets beaten 27-30 by Munster during the opening weekend. 

While the hosts will be without a handful of Italian internationals, the visitors will be able to call upon dynamic utility back Liam Williams, who has been released from the Welsh squad in a bid to build-up his fitness for next weekend's Round 5 Six Nations game. 

Verdict: Trevisio 13/10
This should be a scrappy old affair, which I think the hosts will just edge. 

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Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors
Saturday 24 October
Liberty Stadium
18:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Ospreys 17/10
Draw 18/1
Glasgow 5/10

Moving onto Saturday's action now and the Ospreys and Glasgow will get things underway in Wales. Both teams will be missing a number of first-stringers due to Six Nations commitments. 

The Ospreys have been a bit hit and miss during the early salvos of the season as they followed up a fantastic 10-25 opening day win over Edinburgh with a 12-24 home defeat to Ulster. 

Glasgow have given a slightly better account of themselves running Connacht close in Round 1 before ultimately going down 28-24 and then beating the Scarlets 20-7 in Round 2. 

The Warriors have won four of the last five games between the sides with the last meeting ending 9-3 in favour of the Scottish outfit. 

Verdict: Ospreys 17/10
I've got a feeling the Ospreys are going to take this one. Glasgow are missing some key players and I feel the hosts have been less affected by national call-ups. 

Ulster v Dragons
Sunday 25 October
Kingspan Stadium
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Ulster 1/11
Draw 30/1 
Dragons 6/1

It's on to Sunday's action now with the first game of the day seeing Ulster tackle the Newport Gwent Dragons at the Kingspan Stadium. 

The hosts have enjoyed a solid old start to the campaign and head into this one off the back of wins over Treviso (35-24) and the Ospreys (12-24). Conversely, the Dragons haven't enjoyed as impressive a start as they went down by 30 points to Leinster in Round 1 before beating a week Zebre side 26-18 in Round 2. 

Verdict: Ulster 1/11
I cannot see the hosts having any trouble beating the Dragons by a comfortable margin. Any handicap under 17 points and I'm firmly on the hosts minus. 

Edinburgh v Connacht
Sunday 25 October
Murrayfield
12:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Edinburgh 9/20
Draw 20/1
Connacht 37/20

The penultimate game of the weekend will see Edinburgh take on Connacht out in Scotland. Both sides have been heavily hit with international call-ups and will be missing some big-name players this weekend. 

Edinburgh have really struggled during the embryonic phase of the 2020/21 season losing to the Ospreys 10-25 in Round 1 before going down 25-23 to Munster in Round 2. 

Connacht have fared slightly better over the first two rounds beating the Glasgow Warriors 28-24 but then going down 29-7 to the Cardiff Blues in Round 2. 

In terms of recent head to head clashes, Edinburgh hold the advantage with the Scottish outfit having won the last three games between the sides. 

Verdict: Connacht 37/20
I'm going for the outsides here as I think they have a deeper squad then Edinburgh.  

Munster v Cardiff Blues
Saturday 24 October
Thomond Park
21:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Munster 1/10
Draw 28/1
Cardiff 11/2

The Round will come to a close in a rather untraditional slot of a Monday evening. The PRO14's first Monday night fixture will see Munster play host to the Cardiff Blues. 

Munster have enjoyed a great start to the season registering a dramatic 27-30 come from behind victory over the Scarlets in Round 1 before following that up with a nail-bitting 25-23 win over Edinburgh in Round 2. 

Cardiff haven't been as are also undefeated headed into this one with the Welsh side registering wins over Zebre (6-16) and Connacht (29-7). 

Verdict: Munster 1/10
They may be without a good number of their Irish stars but Munster will still have the like of Damien de Allende to call upon. I think their superior squad depth sees them to a big win here. 

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