Who are the players to watch in Round 6?

Ross Lawson
06 November 2019

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The Guinness PRO14 took a further series of twists and turns in Round 5 this weekend, with Leinster extending their hegemony at the summit of Conference A and Scarlets edging past Toyota Cheetahs in Llanelli in Conference B.

And it was a round that saw several exciting players make an impression, with multiple tries being scored as this turbulent season continues to unfold.

With that in mind, we’ve picked out some key men for you to keep an eye out for this weekend in Round 6.

Friday

Connacht v Leinster

This will be a stern test for Leo Cullen’s resurgent Leinster. The defending champions remain the only undefeated side left in the Guinness PRO14, cruising past Dragons 50-15 in Round 5 thanks to the help of two tries from wing James Lowe.

And Lowe is without doubt one to watch in Galway this weekend, making ten carries and 131 metres last week and ably assisted by the likes of Dave Kearney and Jimmy O’Brien – who are also two other important players for Cullen’s side.

For Connacht, wing Niyi Adeolokun will be hoping to continue his recently prolific try-scoring form, while fly-half Jack Carty is without doubt another name to keep an eye on over the course of the weekend.

Edinburgh v Dragons

Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh would have been disappointed to have been on the end of a narrow 18-16 defeat in Treviso against Benetton last weekend, but the performance of openside flanker Luke Crosbie bodes well for Friday night as he made 17 tackles and as many carries.

For Dean Ryan and his players there were few positives to take from the RDS in Round 5, but the head coach will be hoping try-scoring full-back Jordan Williams will be able to continue his momentum and centre Adam Warren can build on the 74 metres he gained in Ireland.

Saturday

Ospreys v Isuzu Southern Kings

Olly Cracknell is a player who continues to impress for struggling Ospreys, making 64 tackles and 51 carries in the Guinness PRO14 this season and working alongside former Wales flanker Dan Lydiate – who himself has stopped 65 opposition players in their tracks.

For the similarly slow-starting Isuzu Southern Kings – who lie at the foot of Conference B after losing all five games – it is utility back Masixole Banda who has impressed so far, beating 12 defenders in the competition. Can he propel his team to their maiden victory of the season in south Wales this weekend?

Zebre v Glasgow Warriors

Zebre are another team yet to make their mark this campaign, but wing Mattia Bellini is one to watch while hooker Marco Manfredi has won the fourth highest number of turnovers in the competition with four.

For Glasgow Warriors, who breezed past Kings 50-0 last time out, Callum Gibbins is an experienced campaigner Dave Rennie will hope to rely on – he’s made the joint-most tackles in the Guinness PRO14 this season – while No. 10 Adam Hastings will be eager to pull the strings to help engineer a win against Conference A’ s bottom-placed side.

Cardiff Blues v Toyota Cheetahs

Cardiff Blues are another team short on confidence after a relatively sluggish start, but the performance of full-back Matthew Morgan in their Round 5 defeat at home to Munster – he made eight carries and covered 79 metres – bodes well for the visit of the Cheetahs.

The South African side’s hopes have been dashed in recent weeks, suffering two miserable outings on British and Irish soil as they lost to both Connacht and Scarlets in Rounds 4 and 5.

However, it is only a matter of time before the brilliant pairing of Anthony Volmink and Rhyno Smith – who have beaten 42 defenders between them this season – get back to their usual clinical exploits.

Munster v Ulster

Fly-half JJ Hanrahan was in scintillating form for Munster in Cardiff last week, managing the game unerringly and helping himself to 13 points in the process. Similarly, Kevin O’Bryne and Chris Cloete will be two other players who will play a key role for the visit of Ulster.

But Ulster were in impressive form themselves in Round 5, most notably thanks to the performances of Dave Shanahan and Luke Marshall who were both brilliant in their toppling of Zebre. For Dan McFarland’s side to get anything from their trip down to Munster this weekend, both will need to be in similarly majestic form.

Scarlets v Benetton

It was flanker Josh Macleod who was the recipient of the man of the match award for Scarlets against Cheetahs in Round 5, but Johnny McNicholl – who on Sunday qualified for Welsh residency – was superb at full-back, continually seeking to make things happen and set to be a crucial figure once again for the visit of Benetton.

And the visitors will come into this one buoyed by the performances of Tommaso Allan so far this season, with the role of Braam Steyn and Giovanni Pettinelli also worth keeping an eye out for at the line-out.


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 http://bit.ly/PRO14Cardiff2020 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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