Well, Scarlets v Dragons is off! But there are still three other URC fixtures to look forward to, including a big one between Munster and Ulster. Darry Worhtington previews.
Well, the festive fixtures list proved to be a mammoth disappointment as a number of games were called off due to the rapid spread of the Omnicron COVD variant through Europe.
We’ve already lost one of this weekend’s fixtures, with Covid claiming the Welsh derby between Scarlets and Dragons. There are still three games to look forward to… for now.
Saturday 8 January
Edinburgh 1/4 | Draw 25/1 | Cardiff 32/10 (17:00)
Edinburgh and Cardiff will get proceedings underway on Saturday. The hosts have been out of action for almost a month with their last fixture being an 18-21 Challenge Cup win over Saracens.
Cardiff’s last outing was also in Europe although their result was far less inspiring as they were drilled 43-17 by Harlequins. They have been leaking a boatload of points in all of their competitions and their defence is unlikely to have been shored up as they haven’t been able to train that much due to Covid restrictions. The Scots will have far too much about them at home.
Glasgow 31/100| Draw 22/1 | Ospreys 26/10 (19:15)
We head to the Scotstoun for our second fixture where the Glasgow Warriors will finally return to action. The hosts have not kicked a ball in anger since the 19th of December with their two URC derbies against Edinburgh called off due to Covid. Prior to that lengthy break, the Warriors had registered a fantastic result in Europe thumping the Exeter Chiefs 22-7.
The Ospreys managed to get some festive rugby under their belts as they took on local foes the Scarlets in only one of two games that went ahead last weekend. They were unable to get their year off on a high note as they went down 22-19 in an extremely tense game. While I think the Warriors will be rather rusty, home ground advantage should swing it in their favour.
Munster 9/20 | Draw 20/1 | Ulster 19/10 (21:35)
Proceedings come to a close at Thomond Park where Munster will square off with Ulster.
The hosts head into this one off the back of an upset 10-8 defeat to Connacht. The fixture was a rather attritional affair and Munster are likely to be feeling rather ginger this weekend.
Ulster have been out of action for ages with their last fixture being their 27-22 Champions Cup win over Northampton. While they will be fresh and ready for this one, they may be somewhat rusty.
Munster will be determined to bounce back here and I can see them doing that against an Ulster side that has been off for almost a month.