The Toyota Cheetahs against Munster is the standout game, Conference A leaders hosting Conference B front-runners, but there are plenty of other clashes to keep an eye on.
After Ronan Kelleher stole the show last week with his hat-trick against Ospreys, we’ve looked into who could shine this weekend?
Toyota Cheetahs – Joseph Dweba
We started with the big one in Bloemfontein, where the Cheetahs have already racked up 111 points in two games and will look to make it three wins from three against Munster.
Anthony Volmink scored a hat-trick last week but watch out for hooker Joseph Dweba. He might not have a hat-trick to his name as yet but he already has four tries in two games, and finished as the top try-scorer in the Currie Cup too!
Munster – Mike Haley
For Munster, Mike Haley missed out on a place in Ireland’s World Cup squad but has hit the ground running in his second season at Thomond Park in the Guinness PRO14.
On the fast tracks of South Africa, expect the full-back to be kept busy under the high ball and be a constant threat with ball in hand.
Dragons – Jordan Williams
The long wait for an away victory is over for the Dragons, and in some style as they put a half-century on Zebre. They now welcome Connacht, who enjoyed a big win of their own against Italian opposition in Round 2.
Jordan Williams was impossible to stop in Parma and the diminutive full-back will be box office once more against Connacht as the Dragons try to make it two on the spin.
Yes you’ve read that correctly…😲
Nearly 200 metres with ball in hand! 💨💨
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) October 6, 2019
Connacht – Kyle Godwin
For the men from Galway, Kyle Godwin was a standout against Benetton, and the one-cap Wallaby is coming into his own in the midfield.
He started at outside centre in that win, and was a go-to man, making 11 carries and 81 metres with ball in hand. Expect more of the same at Rodney Parade.
Leinster – Max Deegan
Two more unbeaten teams meet in Dublin as the Edinburgh juggernaut faces its biggest test yet away to Leinster. The defending champions laid down a marker in thumping the Ospreys last week, and while it is hard to pick out just one of their many back-row options, Max Deegan could be an important figure this week.
It seems like only yesterday that he was tearing it up for the Under-20s but with a host of youngsters nipping at his heels, Deegan will be keen to make an impression as one of the more senior members of the team.
Edinburgh – Duhan van der Merwe
For Edinburgh, meanwhile, who else to watch out for but Duhan van der Merwe. He was simply unstoppable against the Blues, bumping off defenders and setting up tries.
Lightning fast but also incredibly strong, if Edinburgh are to make it three wins from three, you imagine that Van der Merwe will play a big part.
Scarlets – Steff Evans
Life under Brad Mooar has been rosy for the Scarlets so far with wins over Connacht and then Glasgow Warriors, the second on the road.
They will expect to make it three from three against Zebre and Steff Evans may well have the opportunity to rack up the tries against a defence that was far from watertight a week ago in defeat to the Dragons.
Zebre – Giovanni Licata
If there was one positive to come out of the defeat for Zebre, it was the performance of Giovanni Licata.
The former Italy Under-20 captain missed out on a place at the World Cup and faces a lot of competition in the Italian back row going forwards. If he continues to perform as he did against the Dragons though, he’ll be starting sooner rather than later.
Isuzu Southern Kings – Ruan Lerm
It is a case of what might have been for the Kings so far, beaten by both Cardiff Blues and Munster but having put up impressive showings.
They now welcome an Ulster team reeling from a thumping in Bloemfontein and No.8 Ruan Lerm will look to carry the form he showed against Munster into this game as a powerful ball carrier and breakdown threat.
Ulster – Bill Johnston
On a tough afternoon against the Cheetahs, young fly-half Bill Johnston did not have much opportunity to show what he is capable of.
Yet the former Munster academy product has bags of potential and the 22-year-old will be keen to make amends this week if he’s pulling the strings from No.10 once more.
Glasgow Warriors – Matt Fagerson
Glasgow Warriors are still searching for their first win of the campaign and welcome Welsh opposition to Scotstoun for the second week running.
After that narrow loss to the Scarlets, they will be keen to stop the rot, and in Matt Fagerson they have a man who is clearly on a mission after missing out on Scotland’s World Cup squad. He signed a new deal at the club this week and expect him to show exactly why this weekend.
Cardiff Blues – Owen Lane
Talking of men who just missed out on the World Cup, Owen Lane can count himself very unlucky for not making Wales’ 31-man squad to Japan.
The powerful winger performed well in defeat for Cardiff Blues against Edinburgh last week and will be a threat against Scottish opposition once again.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) October 8, 2019
Ospreys – Cai Evans
Ospreys suffered a big loss to Leinster last weekend and will be keen to make amends in Round 3. This early season has seen full-back Cai Evans given his chance in the first team and he has performed well so far.
The son of Wales legend Ieuan, Evans is a fine play-maker who is equally comfortable at fly-half and a man with an undoubtedly bright future.
Benetton Rugby – Monty Ioane
Meanwhile, Benetton also suffered a hefty reverse in Ireland in Round 2 and, deprived of their World Cup contingent, are still searching for a first win.
The Italians will be looking to some of their available big names, like Monty Ioane, to help them get it. The winger did what he could in last week’s loss to Connacht and should be a key figure this weekend in giving the back-line a spark.