Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Pro 14: Round 9 Preview

Pro 14: Round 9 Preview

Edinburgh vs Cardiff - Murrayfield

After a couple of weeks off, the Pro 14 returns to our screens from Boxing Day with a full set of fixtures.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Saturday 26 December

Zebre v Benetton
15h00
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

To Win Match
Zebre
Draw
Benetton

Zebre host Benetton in an all-Italian affair at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Saturday.

The hosts have recorded just one win all season while the visitors have none. Both outfits have so far endured extremely difficult campaigns and are desperate for positive results.

Benetton did manage to bag a 44-20 away win over Stade Francais in the first round of the Challenge Cup, while Zebre were held to a 25-all draw with Bayonne. In the second round, Zebre bounced back to pip Brive 18-16 away but Benetton’s home match against Agen was cancelled, resulting in a 28-0 win for the visitors.

This weekend’s match up will be a physical affair but the hosts should come away with the goods.

Verdict: Zebre


Dragons v Cardiff Blues
17h00
Rodney Parade

To Win Match
Dragons
Draw
Cardiff

The Dragons take on the Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade despite the absence of Cardiff coach John Mulvihill. 

Mulvihill came into contact with a Covid positive player and is self-isolating. The game is set to go ahead, however.

The visitors have three wins from eight in Conference B and sit fourth. They’ll be favourites to knock over the hosts.

The Dragons come off the back of big losses to Wasps and Bordeaux in the Champions Cup and will be low on confidence.

Verdict: Cardiff

Ospreys v Scarlets
19h15
Park y Scarlets

To Win Match
Ospreys
Draw
Scarlets

Ospreys face a stern test when they tackle countrymen Scarlets at the Park y Scarlets.

The venue of the fixture was changed after the Liberty Stadium required urgent works.

Last season, Ospreys suffered a 44-0 loss in Llanelli to this week’s opponents. It shouldn’t be that one-sided this time round, but Scarlets will still do enough in the absence of Alun Wyn Jones.

Verdict: Scarlets

Munster v Leinster
21h35
Thomond Park

To Win Match
Munster 31/20
Draw 19/1
Leinster 11/20

The pick of the weekend’s action sees Munster host Leinster at Thomond Park on Saturday.

Neither side has lost a match this season, with the hosts leading the way in Conference B with 32 points and Leinster second in Conference A with 35.

Johann van Graan’s men come off the back of an historic comeback win over Clermont at the Stade Marcel Michelin in Europe this past week. They last beat the men from Dublin two years ago and will be aching to end their miserable record against their biggest rivals.

What with so many players out injured, Leinster won’t have enough to beat this Munster team. The Red Army were simply phenomenal last week and should keep intact their unbeaten start – and dish out a first Pro14 ‘L’ to Leo Cullen’s men since 2018-19.

Verdict: Munster 31/20
Munster will be buzzing following their miracle win against Clermont. Expect them to carry that momentum in this clash.

Connacht v Ulster
21h35
Galway Greyhound Stadium

To Win Match
Connacht 23/20
Draw 16/1
Ulster 15/20

Connacht host Ulster in the second Irish derby of the weekend at the Galway Greyhound Stadium.

The hosts suffered to back-to-back defeats in Europe over the past fortnight to Racing 92 and Bristol, but will be eager to continue their assault on the Pro14.

Bundee Aki has been rested by the IRFU, but his side will be boosted by the returning presence in the second row of Gavin Thornbury and Quinn Roux.

Ulster also suffered two losses in the Champions Cup but remain top of Conference A in the Pro14 having won all eight of their matches. Their opponents, sitting second in Conference B, will be up for a scrap and could cause an upset here.

Verdict: Connacht 23/20
Ulster are more favourably looked upon the bookies here, but I reckon Connacht will sneak win at home. 

Written by Shaun Goosen.

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