Five big questions going into Round 3 of the Guinness PRO14

Joe Leavey
09 October 2019

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The Guinness PRO14 is settling back into its regular routine; two match-weeks down and another fast-approaching, there are already plenty of narratives shaping up nicely.

Last time out we were treated to a record-breaking weekend of scores, a pair of hat-tricks and a special trip to Italy for the Dragons.

And with Round 3 of action pitching together unbeaten sides, in-form players and under-rated outfits, there are plenty of questions to be answered this weekend; here are five of the most pertinent.

Whose 0 is going to go?

The two standout sides in the nascent stages of this year’s Guinness PRO14 go head-to-head as Munster become the latest to test their mettle against the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Both teams have won two from two so far; both have taken maximum points from their outings; both have caught the eye.

The top scorers in the competition so far, the Cheetahs have notched up no fewer than 111 points in just 160 minutes, with 16 tries putting them four ahead of next-best Leinster.

They have never beaten Munster, who are the only side to have won two from two at Toyota Stadium, but have already banished similar demons against Glasgow Warriors and Ulster this season.

It is a contest that also pitches two of the Guinness PRO14’s most exhilarating talents against one another, as Rhyno Smith and Shane Daly go head-to-head.

The only question that remains, then, is who will still have a zero in their losses column come Friday night?

Will a scoring record be threatened again?

Round 2 saw the mythical 400-point barrier surpassed for the first time since 2003/04, while the 53 tries scored were the most in a single   round in Championship history.

The Cheetahs are the key protagonists in the try-scoring charts, their 16 giving them a positive points-difference of 71, while Leinster have 12 to their name, largely contributing to their total differential of 53.

And while Conference A is currently out-scoring its counterpart, thanks in-part to the free-flowing South Africans, there is no sign of the excitement letting up.

Four hat-tricks in the opening two rounds highlighted that fact; will there be a fifth this weekend?

Can the Dragons ride the wave?

Another moment of history was made last weekend when the Dragons beat Zebre 52-28 in Parma, putting to an end their four-and-a-half-year winless record in Guinness PRO14 away matches.

This time around they are back in more familiar territory, hoping to keep up the momentum with Connacht the visitors under the Friday night lights.

You have to go back to September 2017 for the last time these two met in Newport, a match that saw the hosts run out 21-8 winners – and after an emphatic six-try triumph in Parma, they will be hoping for another scalp in Round 3.

How do the Warriors respond?

Two matches, two defeats; it has been far from an ideal start to the Guinness PRO14 season for last season’s losing finalists Glasgow Warriors.

A 48-14 loss in Bloemfontein in week one was followed up by a 25-21 reverse at the hands of the Scarlets last weekend.

Dave Rennie may point to missing stars on international duty, but with just one losing bonus point beside their name in the Conference A standings at time of writing, a visit from Cardiff Blues is fuelled with early pressure on the shoulders of a side much-fancied before a ball was kicked.

Will Leinster continue to fly under the radar?

While most of the plaudits so far this season have fallen on the Cheetahs and Munster, there is a certain team who appear to be surreptitiously going about their business unobserved.

Reigning Guinness PRO14 champions Leinster have started their season off with two wins, and while they have not notched as many scores as the South Africans, who are currently top of Conference A, two bonus-point triumphs see them sitting level on 10 points.

A Ronan Kelleher hat-trick buffed the scoreboard as they downed Ospreys 53-5 last time out and that speaks to the extensive production line of exciting young talent at the club.

Looking to end their winning streak, which dates back to Round 21 of last season, are Edinburgh Rugby, who themselves have a two-win opening to protect – but can they halt Leinster at the RDS Arena?

Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!

General sale tickets are available from and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.

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