After the success of the first ever ‘Big Weekends’ in the Guinness PRO12 the Championship continues this weekend with a full slate of fixtures.
Attendances and entertainment is on the rise in the Guinness PRO12 and nowhere was it more evident than in Rounds 6 &7 where 75 tries were scored in front of over 134,000 supporters who have responded positively to the Big Weekend concept.
It all topped off a very successful October where marquee games in the Championship bookended a positive start to European campaigns by clubs from the Guinness PRO12. With a third of the Guinness PRO12 regular season already played all 12 teams will line out this weekend before the Championship takes a two-week break to accommodate the November International fixtures.
What’s at Stake?
In one of the most competitive seasons yet in the history of the Guinness PRO12, three teams are currently level on points at the top of the table with four-time title holders, Leinster Rugby, currently in first position by virtue of games won.
Alongside Leinster are Ospreys Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, who have both lifted the PRO12 trophy in the past four years.
The battle to reach the Guinness PRO12 Final in Aviva Stadium on May 27 doesn’t end with the top three teams as Ulster Rugby and Munster Rugby just three points behind while Scarlets and Cardiff Blues are within striking distance of the top four.
Friday, November 4: Newport-Gwent Dragons v Connacht Rugby (7.15pm); Munster Rugby v Ospreys Rugby (7.35pm); Edinburgh Rugby v Ulster Rugby (7.35pm); Benetton Rugby Treviso v Cardiff Blues (8.05pm Italian).
Saturday, November 5: Zebre Rugby v Leinster Rugby (5.05pm Italian); Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors (7.35pm).
Pick of the Round
Munster Rugby return to Irish Independent Park in Cork where they will host Ospreys Rugby in a game that could see the winner reach the top of the Guinness PRO12 Championship table. History does not lend itself to predicting a winner of this fixture with Munster’s last two home losses in the Championship coming in Cork to Cardiff Blues and Ospreys while the Welsh visitors have only won two of their last 12 games against Irish opposition.
Both teams possess burgeoning stars in Rory Scannell (Munster) and Keelan Giles (Ospreys). Scannell has been ever present in the Munster midfield for the last 12 months and scored the winning drop goal in the dying moments against Ulster last week while teenager Giles has continued his fast start to life in the Ospreys first-team with two tries against Dragons on Saturday. Giles also led the Opta stats in Round 7 for Clean Breaks and Defenders Beaten.
MUNSTER RUGBY v OSPREYS RUGBY
At Irish Independent Park, 7.35pm.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 57th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperini (FIR), Oisin Quinn (IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson
Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:
Played 29, Munster won 13, Ospreys won 15 with 1 match drawn.
Did you know?
- Munster Rugby’s only defeat in their last six fixtures in all competitions was 14-25 to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in the Guinness PRO12 on 8 October
- The Munstermen have lost just twice at home since mid-January with both encounters being in Cork, to Ospreys and Cardiff Blues
- Ospreys have won their last four matches in all tournaments since their 7-9 reversal in Ulster in round 5 of the Guinness PRO12
- The Welshmen have won just two of their last dozen encounters against Irish provinces since May 2015
- The last six meetings between the two sides have been evenly split with three wins apiece, whilst Ospreys have lost on just two of their last six visits to Munster.
For more Opta statistics visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/powered-by-opta/
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.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final