Guinness PRO14 – Round 4 Predictions
Munster, Leinster, Ulster and Glasgow are the only teams who remain unbeaten from the opening 3 rounds of the Guinness Pro 14. Looking ahead to round 4, Glasgow and Munster are set to clash while Leinster & Ulster will look to continue their perfect starts to competition.
Glasgow v Munster
The pick of the games this weekend see’s Munster travel to Glasgow for a Friday night fixture at the Scotstoun Stadium. Both teams come into the game with 100% records but it is Munster who will approach the game in confident mood having travelled to Swansea on Saturday and defeated a much fancied Ospreys outfit. On the other hand, Glasgow struggled with their trip to Wales, although they took on a much more resilient Cardiff Blues side. While they managed to carve out a victory, it didn’t come easy and the Blues were unlucky not to record their first win of the campaign. Munster on the other hand, dominated the Ospreys in their own backyard. It sets up a mouth-watering clash on Friday night and while you would expect Glasgow at home to edge it under normal circumstances, something tells me that Munster will carry their rich vein of form on for another week.
Ulster v Dragons
Bernard Jackman will have been delighted to get off the mark at the weekend having defeated Connacht in Rodney Parade Park. Having raced into a 21 points to 3 lead by half time, he will however, have been disappointed not to have built on that scoreline after the break. However a win is a win and they must now travel the Kingspan to take on an unbeaten side in Ulster. Friday night lights in Ravenhill can often be an intimidating place to go and on Friday night the Dragons will face their toughest outing of the campaign yet. Jackman’s story at Newport is certainly one worth watching given his experience at Grenoble. His credentials are real and with a bit more time, you can expect to see this Dragons side becoming a lot more competitive. As for Friday night, it’ll be business as usual for the Ulster men.
Verdict: Ulster to record an emphatic BP victory
Cheetahs v Leinster
Leinster, having dispatched the Southern Kings with ease in front of a poorly attended Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, move on to face the Cheetahs at the Toyota Stadium. The Cheetahs who are fresh off their first ever PRO14 victory over Zebre should be worried after they conceded 39 points to the Italians. Normally it is the Cheetah who hunts down its prey and viciously mauls it to death but with a porous defence and Leinster a much more frightening prospect than the Italians, expect the Irish men to become the hunters and remain 4 from 4.
Verdict: Leinster to score more points than the recorded attendance at the game.
Benetton Treviso v Ospreys
Treviso have been competitive in their last two outings having defeated Edinburgh in Scotland, they also made Ulster work ultra-hard for their win in Italy in Round 2. The Ospreys will be hurting from their defeat to Munster and their poor showing at Glasgow in Round 2. This is an interesting tie and not a straight forward result to call. It will be competitive and the longer Treviso can stick in there, they will be all the more likely to cause an upset. Expect Dan Biggar to return to the starting team this week though and steer Ospreys to their second victory of the campaign.
Verdict: Ospreys but no walkover
Connacht v Cardiff Blues
Connacht in the Sportsground have always been a task that most teams in the league can’t seem to overcome. On its day, the Sportsground can be impenetrable. The Blues nonetheless will hold no fear in travelling to a team who are a long way off their league winning form of 2016. They were unlucky not to come away with a victory at home to Glasgow and will be all the more eager for the victory this weekend.
Verdict: Cardiff Blues to edge it
Scarlets v Edinburgh
Edinburgh have made significant improvements this year but the current champions will look to bounce back for their defeat to Ulster. If the Scarlets get going early, it could be a long day for the Scots.
Southern Kings v Zebre
Last and least we have another humdinger in South Africa. From what we’ve seen thus far, you’d have to say that the Southern Kings look to have a bit more about them than the Cheetahs and based on that, plus a home advantage, you’d have to lean towards the Southern Kings for this one.
Verdict: Southern Kings