Breaking Down the Key Fixtures by Team: Conference B

Michael O'Donnell
19 July 2019

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The fixtures have been released for the 2019/20 season of the Guinness PRO14 and it is not just the fans who will be poring over the calendar picking out the most exciting matches.

The teams will also be looking at some of the standout fixtures as 13 teams look to succeed champions Leinster, who will be going for an unprecedented hat-trick of titles.

With that in mind, we have picked out some of the most eye-catching and important fixtures for each team. Here is your Conference B rundown.

BENETTON 

Fresh from their first-ever trip to the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, Benetton will be looking to build on that success this season.

In Conference B, Munster look the early favourites but top-three spots are very much up for grabs and Benetton will be looking for a strong start at home to Leinster on the opening day. It was at the end of last season that Benetton really came into their own though, and they will fancy their chances of doing the same again in 2020.

Their final five games see them play three matches at home, including against conference rivals Scarlets on April 24 just before a two-match tour of South Africa.

Benetton Rugby v Leinster, Stadio Monigo, Sat 28 September
Zebre Rugby v Benetton Rugby, Stadio Lanfranchi, Sat 21 December
Benetton Rugby v Zebre Rugby, Stadio Monigo Sat 28 December
Munster Rugby v Benetton Rugby, Irish Independent Park, Fri 27 March
Benetton Rugby v Scarlets, Stadio Monigo, Fri 24 April
Benetton Rugby v Zebre Rugby, Stadio Monigo, Sat 29 May

CARDIFF BLUES

Cardiff Blues narrowly missed out on the Final Series last year, fading down the stretch, but will be hoping to put that right in a wide-open Conference B.

They built something of a rivalry with Connacht last season, the teams splitting their two fixtures – however, it was Connacht’s success over the Blues at the end of the campaign that effectively sealed the Irish side’s top-three finish at the expense of their opponents.

The teams will again meet in the closing weeks of the campaign, this time at Cardiff Arms Park on May 8 in what could be another crucial clash.

Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues, Scotstoun Stadium, Sat 12 October
Ospreys Rugby v Cardiff Blues, Liberty Stadium, Sat 21 December
Cardiff Blues v Dragons, Cardiff Arms Park, Thur 26 December
Cardiff Blues v Scarlets, Cardiff Arms Park, Fri 3 January
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues, Principality Stadium, Sat 18 April
Cardiff Blues v Connacht, Cardiff Arms Park, Fri 8 May

 

CONNACHT 

Connacht made huge strides in their first season under Andy Friend, reaching the Final Series for the first time since they were crowned champions in 2016.

That was in the season after a World Cup, and Connacht could be well-placed to make a big impact again this year.

That success was founded on a strong start to the season, and an early trip to the Scarlets on the opening weekend could be the perfect opportunity to strike an early blow against a conference rival.

Scarlets v Connacht Rugby, Parc y Scarlets, Sat 28 September
Connacht Rugby v Leinster Rugby, The Sportsground, Fri 8 November
Connacht Rugby v Munster Rugby, The Sportsground, Sat 21 December
Ulster Rugby v Connacht Rugby, Kingspan Stadium, Fri 27 December
Leinster Rugby v Connacht Rugby, RDS Arena, Sat 4 January
Connacht Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, The Sportsground, Fri 10 April

 

EDINBURGH

Edinburgh had a strong season in Europe last season, but Richard Cockerill’s men dropped a few too many points in the league and eventually missed out on a top-three spot.

That means there will be no Champions Cup to focus on, and Cockerill will clearly be on a mission to get back to the Final Series.

A defeat at the Stadio Monigo effectively ended their hopes last season and with Benetton again in the same conference, the November 2 match in Treviso could have far-reaching ramifications.

Leinster Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby, RDS Arena, Sat 5 October
Benetton Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby, Stadio Monigo, Sat 2 November
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh Rugby, Scotstoun Stadium, Sat 21 December
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors, BT Murrayfield, Sat 28 December
Isuzu Southern Kings v Edinburgh Rugby, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Sat 21 March
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors, BT Murrayfield, Sat 29 May

 

MUNSTER

Johann van Graan has assembled a dream coaching team, with former Wallaby Stephen Larkham and former England and Lions coach Graham Rowntree joining him next season.

After reaching the semi-finals both domestically and in Europe, Munster will be hoping for at least a repeat, which will involve a strong showing in Conference B.

A late trip to BT Murrayfield to take on Edinburgh could be crucial to their hopes, particularly with Munster having edged past the Scottish side in a thrilling European quarter-final last year, a season after sneaking past Edinburgh in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

 

 

Isuzu Southern Kings v Munster Rugby, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Sat 5 October
Munster Rugby v Ulster Rugby, Thomond Park, Sat 9 November
Connacht Rugby v Munster Rugby, The Sportsground, Sat 21 December
Munster Rugby v Leinster Rugby, Thomond Park, Sat 28 December
Ulster v Munster Rugby, Kingspan, Fri 3 January
Edinburgh v Munster, BT Murrayfield, Sat 9 May

 

SCARLETS

Brad Mooar has the unenviable task of trying to fill the shoes vacated by Wayne Pivac, who won one title and reached the final of the Guinness PRO14 in his time with the Scarlets.

While last season was less successful, there is still a huge amount of talent at Parc y Scarlets for the former Crusaders man to work with. In Conference B, the Scarlets will come up against Munster, the team they beat to claim the Guinness PRO12 crown in 2017.

Their clash in Wales on May 16 may be a vital one in the race for a top-three spot.

Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets, Scotstoun, Fri 4 October
Dragons v Scarlets, Rodney Parade, Sat 21 December
Scarlets v Ospreys Rugby, Parc y Scarlets, Thur 26 December
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues, Principality Stadium, Sat 18 April
Scarlets v Munster Rugby, Parc y Scarlets, Sat 16 May
Ospreys v Scarlets, Liberty Stadium, Sat 29 May

ISUZU SOUTHERN KINGS

Isuzu Southern Kings have had a huge overhaul this summer, with Demetri Catrakilis perhaps the most noteworthy addition for the Port Elizabeth side. They will be hoping for an upturn in results and start their campaign with a trio of home games at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

It is another game at that venue which might be the standout fixture though, against Edinburgh on March 21. The teams played out a thriller last season, won by the Kings thanks to Yaw Penxe’s stunning length-of-the-field, last-gasp try.

That was one of the standout moments of the entire season – the Kings will be hoping for another when the teams meet again on South African soil.

Isuzu Southern Kings v Cardiff Blues, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Sat 28 September
Glasgow Warriors v Isuzu Southern Kings, Scotstoun Stadium, Fri 1 November
Isuzu Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Sat 18 January
Toyota Cheetahs v Isuzu Southern Kings, Toyota Stadium, TBC
Isuzu Southern Kings v Edinburgh Rugby, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Sat 21 March
Toyota Cheetahs v Isuzu Southern Kings, Toyota Stadium, Sat 29 May

 

 

 

2019/20 FIXTURES INFORMATION

To view all fixtures from R1-21 visit https://www.pro14rugby.org/match-centre/fixtures/

To download all fixtures directly to your calendar visit https://www.pro14rugby.org/downloadable-fixture-list/

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