RaboDirect PRO12 Preview – Round 5
Despite their defeat by Ospreys last time out, and in the process the loss of the only remaining 100% record in this season’s RaboDirect PRO12, Scarlets still sit atop of the table. They travel to Italy to face Benetton Treviso in one of two games on Saturday. The other fixture sees Ospreys host Munster, the team they defeated in the Play-Offs on the way to becoming champions last season, at the Liberty Stadium.
The round opens with four games on Friday night, including the all-Ireland clash at the Sportsground in Galway when Connacht host European Champions, Leinster. Even though the visitors have an impressive record against fellow Irish Provinces, Connacht can take heart from the fact that they were the victors in this equivalent fixture in 2010.
There are also two games in Wales on Friday: Cardiff Blues taking on Ulster and Newport Gwent Dragons facing Edinburgh Rugby. Blues have attracted large crowds since their return to the Arms Park, their fans must be hoping the Cardiff side maintains the form that has not seen an Ulster victory at the ground since 2005.
In nearby Newport the visitors, Edinburgh, have to go back nearly as far to trace their last victory over Dragons at Rodney Parade, to May 2006, so the odds are in favour of Welsh successes on Friday night.
The remaining fixture in the round sees new franchise Zebre make their second trip to Scotland, this time to face Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun. The visitors will be looking for a better return this time having gone down 41-10 at Edinburgh in Round 3.