Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Cardiff still looking for a first victory in Leinster

In addition to the Ulster-Treviso game there are another three PRO12 pairings tonight, plus two more tomorrow.

LEINSTER v CARDIFF BLUES (tonight, 7.35pm): After a 10-match winning run, finally Leinster's bubble was burst by Glasgow last weekend. But the champions are clear favourites to re-inflate it tonight against Cardiff at the RDS where they have lost only one of their last 17 matches.

In seven visits, the Blues have never won there. And since May 2007 they have beaten Leinster just once in 13 attempts. Edinburgh at Murrayfield in February is the last time they won on the road.

EDINBURGH v SCARLETS (tonight, 7.45pm): With both having lost two of their first three matches, Edinburgh and Scarlets lie 12th and ninth respectively.

Clearly home advantage boosts the Scots who have lost just once at Murrayfield since February. But their record against Scarlets is poor – one win in their past six encounters. As well as that tonight's guests have won four of their last five against Scottish sides.

ZEBRE v GLASGOW WARRIORS (tonight, 7.30pm): Finally, after 30 successive defeats in all competitions, Zebre are up and running. Now, having beaten Cardiff at the Arms Park, they want a first win in Parma.

To get it, however, they must beat leaders Glasgow, now the only side with a 100% record. In addition, the Scots have won each of their past seven matches against Italian opposition.

MUNSTER v NG DRAGONS (tomorrow, 6.45pm): Third-placed Munster host Dragons – one place beneath them – at their Limerick fortress.

Despite last weekend's defeat by Treviso, form points to a Munster win; the Dragons have not won at Thomond Park since 2004. And September 2008 is the most recent example of them having won anywhere in Ireland. A 14-13 win at Zebre in February is their last on the road.

CONNACHT v OSPREYS (tomorrow, 5pm): Although Connacht's only victory in their last six PRO12 games was at home to Zebre in round one, they have won their last two Galway games against Welsh guests.

Ospreys are undefeated after three rounds of PRO12 action, though they have not beaten Irish opponents in their past four attempts, a sequence which includes two draws, with all of those games being played away from home.

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