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Peter Jackson: Six clues to Guinness PRO12 Round 9

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

25 Nov 2016

Guinness PRO12, BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland 2/1/2016
Glasgow Warriors vs Edinburgh Rugby
GlasgowÕs Chris Fusaro
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Russell Cheyne

Friday:

Connacht v Cardiff Blues, Sportsground Galway, kick-off: 7.35pm

The champions, home again for the first time since coming from behind to outpoint Toulouse in the Champions’ Cup seven weeks ago, have a lot of ground to make up after setbacks on the road in Dublin and Newport.

The Blues have beaten Connacht more than any other team in the PRO12 – 20 wins out of 26 and just four defeats.

Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys, Scotstoun Stadium, kick-off: 7.35pm

Another virtual sell-out in Glasgow for the fourth match in a row.

Chris Fusaro makes his first appearance since April in a Warriors’ back row stiffened by Scotland’s release of Josh Strauss.

Josh Matavesi, Fiji’s stand-off at Twickenham last week, fills the same role for the Ospreys with Dan Biggar and Sam Davies on duty for Wales.

Scarlets v Leinster, Parc y Scarlets, kick-off: 7.35pm

New Zealander Johnny McNicholl makes his Scarlets’ debut on the right wing with the west Wales region aiming for a seventh straight win.

Isa Nacewa captains Leinster on his 157th appearance, 60 more than the rest of the back division put together.

Ulster v Zebre, Kingspan Stadium, kick-off: 7.35pm

Ulster’s fate in recent weeks provides a graphic illustration of the ferocity of competition in the top-four play-off zone.

A trio of setbacks has sent them tumbling from first to fifth. Zebre make their visit a month after their triumph in Edinburgh and another 15,000-plus crowd is guaranteed.

Saturday:

Munster v Benetton Treviso, Thomond Park, kick-off: 2pm

Munster, on a serious roll after seven wins from their last eight matches, know that one more could push them to the top of the table.

In sharp contrast, their Italian opponents have won just once in ten this season, against the Dragons in September.

Sunday:

Newport Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh, Rodney Parade, kick-off: 3.30pm

Ashton Hewitt’s two tries and Angus O’Brien’s two drop goals put the skids under Connacht in the last round and a stirring end to the Dragons’ losing run.

Edinburgh have not won on the road in the PRO12 for eight months, since they were last at Rodney Parade in March.

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ieFor further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final