Week 1 of the Magners League didn’t go well for the Irish teams, and my prediction for Munster to beat Glasgow was backwards (and was kindly pointed out to me also). The four provinces were all beaten and, on paper at least, things did not look well for the new season.
But week 2 saw a bit of a turnaround. Munster saw off visitors Cardiff at Thomond Park, winning 24-13. What was promising about this result was that Munster still held back their ‘big guns’ and fielded many of the younger players, but still turned out a win against a star studded Cardiff team. Cardiff are a team who look impressive on paper, but have to seriously gel on the field if they are to hold any hope of doing as well this year as they did last year.
Connacht were not able to turn around the bad luck of week 1, as they were hammered 62-13 by Edinburgh. Saturday saw Ulster take on Ospreys, and win 20-16 in a closely fought match. Leinster too saw a turnaround of last weeks fortunes, by beating Dragons 23-14. And week 2 brought a wierd twist in that all of the Welsh teams lost their games.
So what does week 3 hold for the four provinces? Three of the teams are in action on Friday night. Connacht are hosting the Cardiff Blues, while Leinster are away to Ospreys. Leinster have named their two new big signings in the starting team – Nathan Hines and Eoin Reddan. This one is being shown live on Setanta Ireland, kick off is at 7:05 pm. The final Irish match of the night will see Edinburgh travel to Ulster. This match is being shown in delayed coverage on Setanta Ireland, right after the Leinster match. Saturday sees Munster take to the field against Scarlets. Kick off here is 6:30 pm, with coverage on Setanta Ireland (where else?) starting at 6 pm.
Do I dare try and make any predictions after getting it so wrong in week 1? I probably shouldn’t, but lets give it a go anyway. Cardiff are playing poorly, but should still overcome Connacht. Leinster v Ospreys should be a tight affair, but I will tip the Irish outfit to get the victory. Edinburgh will be on a high after last weeks win, but I do think Ulster can edge the match after fighting hard last week and coming off the better. Scarlets will be suffering after losing last week and I see them losing again this week, even though they’re at home.