The most crucial game of the Guinness Pro14 this weekend, comes at Rodney Parade in Newport, Wales. With both teams struggling in conference B (6th and 7th respectively), Dragons v Southern Kings on Saturday night, will be Last Word On Rugby’s one to watch.
Guinness Pro14 Game of the Weekend
Both teams are in Conference B of the Pro14 and after four rounds of the competition, have only one win between them. The Dragons picked up that win two weeks ago defeating Connacht. The Dragons started their season with back to back losses at home to Leinster and away to Edinburgh. They followed those losses with a convincing 21-8 victory against Connacht in round three.
The Dragons made 13 changes from that win to take on Ulster last week, and it backfired as they went down 52-25. Head coach Bernard Jackman will bring back most of the players now, that played in their victory over Connacht. Jackman will be looking for an improvement from his team against the only team below them in conference B.
South African team, the Southern Kings, have struggled more than anyone; since joining the Pro14. They have lost their first four games and conceded at least 30 points in each. It’s been a tough start to life in their new league and most pundits cannot see it getting any better, anytime soon.
If there is a game where they could pick up their first points of the season, it would be this weekend against their nearest rivals in Conference B the Dragons.
Crucial Match-up in Conference B
It will be crucial for two reason: the Dragons could secure valuable points, to lift them higher on the table. However, the Southern Kings need to turnaround their season, before it is too late.
Look for some fireworks in Newport, this weekend.
— Dragons Rugby (@dragonsrugby) September 27, 2017
Dragons v Southern Kings: Players to Watch
There will be plenty of young talent at Rodney Parade on Saturday night, despite both teams current form.
Starting with Dragons Fly Half, Gavin Henson, Henson returned to Welsh rugby this summer for the first time in five years, with the Dragons. The 35 year old still has plenty of rugby left in him, and showed his quality in their victory over Connacht. The 33 capped Welsh International, scored 11 points in that victory and after missing the defeat to Ulster, will be fresh and ready on Saturday night.
His kicking threat off the floor and out of hand along with his attacking threat is something the Kings will need to watch and stay disciplined. Gavin Henson will be the Last Word on Rugby’s key player to look out for on Saturday night at Rodney Parade.
Elliott Dee, who scored in the victory over Connacht has been impressive so far this season despite Dragons results. The hooker, like Henson, was rested last week and the Dragons missed his presence in the pack. The former Wales u20 international could be a huge factor on Saturday night and has the game to cause the Kings problems. His dynamic ball carrying and solid defence is huge for the Dragons. He will need to keep his set piece solid especially at the line out.
Southern Kings tight head prop, Luvuyo Pupuma, started the season as a replacement in round one and two. Pupuma’s impact off the bench against Connacht, which included scoring a try, earned him a starting place in round three and four. He added his second try of the campaign last time out against Zebre, which showed he’s a real threat close to the try line.
The 24 year old’s scrummaging needs a bit of work, but his ball carrying threat is not something the Dragons should overlook. Speedy winger Yaw Penxe is also a player to keep an eye out for during Saturday night’s game.
The final LWOR ‘Player to Watch’ on Saturday night, is Southern Kings number eight, Andisa Nstila. The 23 year old has played every minute of the first four rounds so far. The South African is one of Head coach Deon Davids’ go to men.
The Kings will expect a big game from their number 8 with plenty of carries and tackles. In what is expected to be a very a tight match, Nstila’s influence could be important to the result.
Dragons v Southern Kings Match Prediction
The game is expected to be a tough and exciting fixture, with both teams desperate for the victory. Expect a tight match, with each teams kicking-game going to be a huge factor. The result could be very important for the final standings of conference B of the 2017/18 Guinness Pro14.
The Dragons will surely be the favourites heading into the game on Saturday night, hoping to use the home advantage to seal their second victory of the season. In saying that, the Dragons would be most peoples pick for succeed on Saturday.
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