The exciting and record-setting rugby on offer in the Guinness PRO12 this season has driven up the anticipation for the Championship’s first-ever Big Weekend.
The tournament organisers have taken the Guinness PRO12’s tribal clashes and new rivalries and grouped them into six rounds across the season to give supporters an unprecedented showcase of rugby within Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Some of the biggest rugby stadiums across the UK and Ireland will host fixtures in Round 6, including Aviva Stadium, Dublin; Liberty Stadium, Swansea and BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh. The Big Weekend will also seek to create new rivalries between the Italian and Scottish teams outside of their own national derby games.
The Big Weekend also seeks to provide clubs from the Guinness PRO12 the best possible preparation for European competition ahead of the first rounds of the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup.
What’s at Stake?
Ulster Rugby remain the only unbeaten team in the Championship after five rounds but they will have a tough challenge going up against defending champions Connacht Rugby, who finally claimed their first win of the season against Edinburgh Rugby last weekend.
The Scots will now entertain Benetton Treviso in Edinburgh and with both sides having won just one game each so far they will be battling it out to get some rhythm going ahead of their European campaigns.
Leinster Rugby and Munster Rugby will meet at Aviva Stadium, venue for this season’s Guinness PRO12 final, with each province enjoying strong form with four wins out of five. Zebre Rugby will hope that their strong home performances can translate into a first victory of the season as they host Glasgow Warriors, who lie in sixth position but are just five points away from Championship leaders Ulster.
Pick of the Round
The Friday night game in Swansea’s Liberty Stadium between Ospreys and Cardiff Blues will see best performing Welsh regions come together in a game that where both sides will be eager to regain momentum after fast starts to the season.
Having won three games from three Ospreys have now lost two games in a row while Cardiff Blues early-season charge was halted by Leinster Rugby at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park last weekend.
Fixtures - Friday, October 7: Connacht Rugby v Ulster Rugby (7.35pm); Edinburgh Rugby v Benetton Treviso (7.35pm); Ospreys v Cardiff Blues (7.35pm).
Saturday, October 8: Leinster Rugby v Munster Rugby (2.05pm); Zebre Rugby v Glasgow Warriors (5.05pm Italian); Scarlets v Newport-Gwent Dragons (7.35pm)
OSPREYS RUGBY v CARDIFF BLUES
At Liberty Stadium, 7.35pm.
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 138th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell, Gareth Newman (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: Aurwell Morgan (WRU)
TMO: Tim Hayes(WRU)
HEAD TO HEAD - RECENT GUINNESS PRO12 MEETINGS
Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:
Played 26, Ospreys won 18, Blues won 7 with 1 game drawn
Did you know?
- Ospreys Rugby began the 2016/17 Guinness PRO12 campaign with three maximum point victories, but have since slipped to successive defeats, away to Irish provinces Leinster and Ulster.
- Ospreys have lost just one of their last eight fixtures against fellow Welsh regions: 16-25 to Scarlets at Liberty Stadium on 26 March.
- Cardiff Blues five game winning run in the Guinness PRO12 was snapped at home to Leinster on Saturday.
- Blues have won their last four away games in the Championship to equal their best ever sequence on the road set in 2010.
- Osprey have won their last ten PRO12 fixtures against Blues since a 21-all draw at Liberty Stadium in April 2011, whilst the capital side’s most recent Championship victory over their western neighbours came at the Cardiff City Stadium on New Year’s Eve 2010.
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