The most crucial game of the Guinness Pro14 this weekend, comes at the RDS Arena in Dublin, Ireland. With both teams second in their respective conferences, they both need a victory to keep in touch with the conference leaders. Leinster vs Munster on Saturday afternoon, will be Last Word On Rugby’s one to watch.
Guinness Pro14 Game of the Weekend
Leinster are in Conference B of the Pro14 and after five rounds of the competition, have only one loss. Their loss came as a surprise to many, going down 38-19 to the Cheetahs in South Africa in round four. Leinster managed to recover from their loss, to defeat Edinburgh at the RDS, in a tough close encounter last weekend. Munster currently trail the only unbeaten team in the Guinness Pro14, Glasgow Warriors in Conference A. Their singular loss came against the Warriors, in the fourth round. Munster went down 37-10 and were dominated for nearly the whole game. Munster rectified that defeat, like Leinster, when they defeated the Cardiff Blues 39-16 at Thomond Park last weekend.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) October 5, 2017
With Leinster trailing the Scarlets in Conference B, they know nothing but a victory will do to keep pace with the defending champions. Head coach Leo Cullen will expect a big performance from his men following the last couple of performances. Cullen, will be looking for an improvement from his team against a fellow Irish Province, and a side of the quality that Munster have.
Cork based, Munster, will be hoping they play like their second half performance against the Blues last week. Munster head coach, Rassie Erasmus, (who will be leaving at the end of the season) will be hoping his side don’t perform like they did against Glasgow in round four. If there is a game where they need to be firing on all fronts, it would be this game away to Leinster at the RDS Arena.
Crucial Match-up in the Guinness Pro14
It will be crucial match for the Pro14: both sides need victories to keep the pace at the top of their respected conferences. It will be the second best attack against the second best defence, with only the Scarlets scoring more tries than Munster and only Glasgow conceding fewer than Leinster. Who will come out on top?
Look for some fireworks in Dublin, this weekend.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) October 4, 2017
Leinster v Munster: Players to Watch
There will be plenty of talent on show at the RDS Arena on Saturday afternoon, including a lot of International players. Here is Last Word on Rugby’s players to watch.
Starting with Leinster Full Back, Joey Carbery. Carberry returned for Leinster in week three of the Pro14 after missing out on the opening two fixtures of the campaign. The 21 year-old marked his return to the line up with a try, against the Southern Kings, before scoring again in round five against Edinburgh last weekend. The 4 timed capped Irish International, will be fresh and ready on Saturday night, hoping to score his third try of the campaign.
Scott Fardy, has been impressive so far this season at his new home in Ireland. The big Australian has had a massive impact with his dynamic ball carrying and his work rate in defence. The forward, was rested for the two away trips in South Africa, and Leinster missed his presence in the pack, especially against the Cheetahs. Fardy, returned to the line up in last weeks victory over Edinburgh and should be fit and ready to go on Saturday. The 39 times capped international could be a huge factor and has the game to cause Munster problems. His dynamic ball carrying and solid defence is huge for Leinster.
Munster fly half, Ian Keatley, has been sharing fly half duties this season with Tyler Bleyendaal. Keatley has been in fine form including scoring 14 points last week in the victory of the Cardiff Blues and 11 points in the round two victory over the Southern Kings. The 5 times capped Irish International, has scored over a thousand points in 155 games for Munster and his experience and quality could be the difference on Saturday.
His kicking threat off the floor and out of hand along with his attacking threat bringing his attacking weapons into the game, is something Leinster will need to watch for on Saturday. Ian Keatley will be the Last Word on Rugby’s key player to look out for on Saturday afternoon at the RDS Arena.
The final LWOR ‘Player to Watch’ on Saturday night, is Munster tight head prop, John Ryan. The 29 year old has made over 100 appearances for the Cork based side. Ryan missed the round one victory over Benetton Treviso. He had to settle for a place on the bench in round two, three and four. The 9 timed capped Irish International, returned to the starting fifteen in round five and scored to mark his return in a victory over the Cardiff Blues.
Munster will expect a big game from their tight head prop with plenty of carries and tackles. Although Ryan will also need some strong scrummaging, which will be a highly contested area on Saturday. In what is expected to be a very a tight match, Ryan’s influence in the set piece could be important to the result.
Leinster v Munster 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 factor. It will be the second best attack against the second best defence, with only the Scarlets scoring more tries than Munster and only Glasgow conceding fewer than Leinster. Who will come out on top? The result could be very important for the final standings of both conferences of the 2017/18 Guinness Pro14.
The Last Word On Rugby’s Guinness Pro14 ‘game of the weekend’ could go either way. Munster’s attacking threat can cause Leinster problems. Although, Leinster will be the favourites heading into the game on Saturday afternoon, hoping to use the home advantage to seal their fifth victory of the season.
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