Only 5 rounds to go until the end of the regular season, this is when every single point starts to feel so important as the time runs out. Here are my round 18 predictions.
How did your catchup predictions go?
1 from 2, Cardiff got a moral boosting win that won’t make any real difference to their season.
Munster v Zebre
Munster will be able to give their playoff run a boost with an easy win over Zebre. Zebre haven’t won outside of Italy all season and their last win against non-Italian opposition was at the end of October.
Munster by 15
Cardiff Blues v Benetton Treviso
Cardiff should exact revenge for their loss in Italy back in February. The vagaries of the Pro12 draw means that it’s only four rounds ago that these two sides met. It would be a massive upset for Treviso to back up that win as they also have not won outside Italy this season.
Cardiff Blues by 10
Glasgow Warriors v Ulster
The first “real” game of the weekend is also my selection for game of the round. I was very surprised by the landslide nature of the the voting from Twitter at the end of #RugbyChat. Glasgow are in a good run of form having won their last four games as they catchup with the postponed games from earlier in the season. This has seen them climb to the edge of the playoff positions and a win this weekend will see them climb up into those positions. Ulster on the other hand have slipped back from the top of the table as their inconsistent season continues. A lot could depend on how quickly the international players are reintegrated into the teams but Glasgow having being doing well without them anyway. I’m also going with a home win but not by that much of a margin.
Glasgow Warriors by 5
Ospreys v Scarlets
This one is a difficult one, Ospreys have lost their last two games but they were both away. Before that they had been finding some form and it could depend on the returning players. Scarlets have been more miss than hit away as well otherwise I would have had them as clear favourites. As it is I’m still going with the away win but not with any confidence.
Scarlets by 1
Connacht Rugby v Leinster
The top two are on the same points and this will decide who ends the weekend on top. Connacht have recovered from that run of four losses over the new year period. They have put 5 win back to back since then and are back on track for a home semifinal. Leinster were also going well until they lost that catchup games last weekend against Glasgow. With more players to reintroduce and that recent game in their legs I think that the visitors are going to lose this one and slip back a little.
Connacht Rugby by 3
Newport Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh
The Dragons have managed enough upset home win sot keep themselves above the Italian sides in the table. A couple of these though came as evening games at the end of the week. This time they are hosting Edinburgh on the Sunday afternoon. Edinburgh though have been travelling badly this season so it’s not a foregone conclusion. Still I’m going with the Scotts as they fight for a European Champions Cup place.
Edinburgh by 5