A successful festive season has seen more than 150,000 supporters backing derby action at grounds across the Guinness PRO14 and with only eight rounds left to play until the knock-out stages, competition could not be fiercer.
First up on Saturday, Glasgow Warriors travel to Italy to hosts Benetton who have jumped to 3rdposition in Conference B after wins in South Africa and over fellow Italian rivals Zebre and will be looking to maintain momentum as they aim to become the first Italian side to reach the final series. Glasgow face a tough journey after two bruising defeats at the hands of Edinburgh although their record against Italian opposition hands them a positive boost with 27 consecutive wins against Italian sides under their belts.
It’s then to Wales for Ospreys v Cardiff Blues which is billed as the pick of the weekend; the hosts on the back of strong home form and keen for points to climb back up Conference A but will face an eager Cardiff Blues side looking to chase a derby hat-trick with a third festive win as they travel West down the M4.
It’s a switch then to Ireland, as defending champions Leinster riding high at the top of Conference B are expected to bounce back strongly after their defeat to Munster in Round 12. They take on Ulster at the RDS Arena, with the visitors also looking to come back after a tough loss to Connacht last time out.
The Scarlets host Dragons in the second Welsh derby of round 13, with the hosts in need of a win to boost their season as they host a Dragons side with renewed fire after a pleasing win against Ospreys at home last time out. Cardiff Blues’ victory over the Scarlets in Round 12 brought to an end Scarlets’ 27-month, 26-match, unbeaten home record in the Guinness PRO14 at Parc y Scarlets – a run of form that was on course to set a new Championship record.
The final two games from six on Super Saturday include Edinburgh against Isuzu Southern Kings with the hosts having showed strong form of late and knowing if results go their way this weekend they could leap to 2ndplace in Conference B behind Leinster. Add to that a full capacity Sportsground for Connacht against Munster for another key clash in the top of the table battles. The weekend concludes with Zebre v Cheetahs on Sunday January 6that 1pm.
This weekend’s New Year treat of rugby with 7 games live on Premier Sports:
• Sat 5thJan Benetton v Glasgow Warriors kick off 2pm Live on Premier Sports 2 (from 1.55pm)
• Sat 5thJan Ospreys v Cardiff Blues kick off 3pm Live on Premier Sports 1(from 2.30pm)
• Sat 5thJan Leinster v Ulster kick off 5.15pm pm Live on Premier Sports 2(from 4.55pm)
• Sat 5thJan Scarlets v Dragons kick off 5.15pm Live on Premier Sports 1(from 5pm)
• Sat 5thJan Edinburgh v Southern Kings kick off 7.35pm Live on Premier Sports 1(from 7.30pm)
• Sat 5thJan Connacht v Munster kick off 7.35pm Live on Premier Sports 2(from 7.30pm)
• Sun 6thJan Zebre v Cheetahs kick off 1pm Live on Premier Sports 1(from 12.55pm)
Premier Sports’ TV line-ups for this weekend's PRO14 rugby action is:
Sat 5th Jan Ospreys v Cardiff Blues:Gethin Jones, Eddie Butler, Shane Williams, Martyn Williams
Sat 5th Jan Scarlets v Dragons: Ross Harries, Lauren Jenkins, Andy Moore, Sean Holley, Richie Rees
Sat 5thJan Edinburgh v Southern Kings: Dougie Vipond, Emma Dodds, Rory Hamilton, Al Kellock, Thinus Delport
Premier Sports is delighted to welcome former Springbok Thinus Delport to its team as a guest for Edinburgh against Southern Kings. The popular wing/fullback who played for Gloucester and Worcester Warriors made his senior international debut in 1997 on the Springboks European Tour.
Premier Sports is available in 16 million UK homes across Sky and Virgin platforms and to everyone via the Premier Player https://www.premierplayer.tv/ while FreeSports is available to 22 million UK homes across seven different platforms.
Highlights of all this weekend’s Guinness PRO14 action will be broadcast Sunday at 4PM on Premier Sports 1 and repeated at 6.30PM Monday on FreeSports. The PRO14 hour will be shown on Wednesday 9th January at 9pm on Premier Sports 1.
Premier Sports, is the home of the Guinness PRO14 in the UK and will be showing all 152 games from the Guinness PRO14 this season. Rugby fans can subscribe on Sky or the Premier Sports Player for £9.99 per month. Visit www.premierports.com to sign up to see all the live action.