GUINNESS PRO12 Round 19 Preview

Guinness PRO12 Editor
31 March 2016

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Scarlets will look to strengthen their hold on a semi-final spot in the GUINNESS PRO12 on Saturday as they take on Cardiff Blues.

A victory for the home side could also clinch qualification for next year’s European Champions Cup but Blues will be looking to do the double over their regional rivals for the first time in six years.

Mid-table Blues will have to do it without winger Alex Cuthbert though after the Wales international was ruled out for the rest of the season following knee surgery.

Leaders Connacht travel to Belfast to take on Ulster with both sides striving for their own individual goals.

Ulster are battling with Glasgow Warriors and Munster for a top-four spot while Connacht are looking to stretch their lead at the top of the table.

Connacht are on their best-ever run of wins in the GUINNESS PRO12, with six victories on the spin, but have not won in Belfast since 1960.

The other Irish provincial derby sees Leinster welcome Munster to the Aviva Stadium.

The Leinstermen have not done the league double over their rivals for three years but will hope to complete the job after winning convincingly on Munster turf in December.

Leinster back Fergus McFadden is further spurred on by the desire to avoid a second inter-provincial derby defeat in a week, after losing to Connacht in round 18.

However, Munster head coach Anthony Foley feels the 47-0 drubbing his team handed out to Zebre last week was a perfect warm-up for the clash with the Dublin outfit.

Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys meet on Friday with both sides out of the hunt for a semi-final spot but there will still be plenty of Welsh pride to play for.

Ospreys will be without Justin Tipuric though as the international flanker recovers from concussion sustained in his country’s win over Italy in the Six Nations.

Over in Italy, Benetton Treviso will be looking for a first win in four matches as they welcome Glasgow Warriors to the Stadio Monigo.

The Scots come into the game hoping to extend their winning streak to six games and will arrive in Italy safe in the knowledge that Treviso have not beaten Glasgow in their last eight attempts.

The other Italian and Scottish clash sees Edinburgh welcome Zebre to BT Murrayfield with the home side looking to make a late dash for a semi-final spot.

Trailing fourth-placed Munster by four points Edinburgh will be looking to make the most of home advantage and secure a European Champions Cup spot though, before thinking about a potential PRO12 semi-final appearance.

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