Three bold predictions for Round 11

Joe Leavey
13 February 2020

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We’ve waited for what feels like a lifetime for this weekend to come about, with six weeks passing since the last full programme of Guinness PRO14 fixtures, there’s plenty to look forward to as the action resumes.

With a number of players still away on international duty, there will be changes all over the shop for this week’s fixtures, and that could make for some interesting results across the field.

That said, here are three bold shouts heading into the weekend’s action, will we see some results that will upset the apple cart? You can make your own predictions here.

Cheetahs to break Leinster’s winning streak

When we said bold shouts, we meant bold shouts, and it doesn’t get much bolder than this.

The unbeaten table toppers against the side with just one away win all season, it doesn’t sound too promising for the Toyota Cheetahs on the face of it, but hear us out here.

With 11 Leinster players away with the Ireland squad this weekend, this will be a real test of the depth of Leo Cullen’s squad as the South Africans come to visit.

Having not played a competitive match since the 18-0 Champions Cup success over Benetton four weeks ago, the hosts could be caught cold by a Cheetahs side full of momentum.

The visitors did the double over South African rivals Isuzu Southern Kings while the rest of the Guinness PRO14 teams were out of action, and will be hoping to build on those victories on Saturday.

A last minute Rhyno Smith score saw them steal the points in a 31-30 success in Port Elizabeth, before a resounding 45-0 win in the reverse fixture a week later back in Bloemfontein.

Smith and his side will be buzzing after those results, and with the return of the mercurial talent that is Rabz Maxwane, the Cheetahs could upset the odds in this one.

Scarlets v Edinburgh is a Conference B decider

This is the one we are all looking forward to this weekend, as the top two in Conference B go head to head in Llanelli in what promises to be a humdinger.

It’s neck and neck at the top of the table as it stands, with four points separating leaders Edinburgh and Munster in third, but the winner at Parc y Scarlets will steal a march on their rivals which even at the midway point of the season could prove decisive.

It’s not just the mathematical advantage that is gained in a tussle such as this one, but the psychological effect of beating your nearest rival in the table will help no end as the season draws to a close.

That’s why we think whoever runs out victorious out of the pair has an excellent chance of being top seed in Conference B come May. It’s got all the makings of a classic, and could turn the tide dramatically.

Scarlets are unbeaten at home so far this season, with Edinburgh being the last side to return home from a visit to Wales with the win last time they visited in April 2019.

Ospreys will score against Ulster

This might not seem like a bold one from an outside point of view, but considering two of the last three Guinness PRO14 meetings between the two sides have ended 8-0 to Dan McFarland’s side, it’s not as ridiculous as it may seem.

The Welsh side have struggled so far this season with just one league victory to their name from their ten matches and find themselves propping up Conference A, but a break from action could be precisely what they needed.

With both sides missing key players due to the Guinness Six Nations, this one could be tighter than recent form suggests, and you wouldn’t put it past Ospreys to give the visitors a run for their money on their own patch.

You have to go back to 2017 for the last time Ulster came away empty handed when these two sides have met, but with just one win from their last five Guinness PRO14 matches away from Kingspan, could this be where the upset lies this weekend?

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