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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 17 August, 2019
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Pro12: Your guide to this weekend’s rugby action

Three of the Irish provinces are away this weekend while Munster host Scarlets.

Dan Parks clears against Treviso.
Dan Parks clears against Treviso.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Treviso v Ulster

When: Tonight, 6:05pm (7:05pm local time)

Where can I watch? BBC Northern Ireland – red button.

The story so far: Ulster continued their unbeaten run last weekend as they overcame a spirited Zebre side in Italy. Mark Anscombe’s men are back on Italian turf tonight against their superior countrymen, Treviso. Franco Smith’s side have beaten Ospreys, Scarlets and Edinburgh so far this season but have shipped five losses, most recently against Connacht, and will suffer from the loss of international players more than most.

Team news: Six changes in the Ulster team that won last week and Niall O’Connor, who stroked over the winning conversion, retains the 10 jersey. He is joined in the half-back pairing by Paul Marshall. The scrum-half and Andrew Trimble return from international duty relatively rested up and will be eager to prove points. Smith is missing a host of Italian internationals but the team is bolstered up front by captain Corniel Van Zyl, Franco Sbaraglini and flanker Paul Derbyshire.

Treviso: B Williams; G Toniolatti, C Loamanu, A Vilk, L Nitoglia; A Di Bernardo, F Semenzato; M Muccignat, F Sbaraglini, J Roux; M Fuser, C Van Zyl (c); V Bernabo, P Derbyshire, M Filippucci.Replacements: E Ceccato, G Maistri, I Fernandez-Rouyet, F Giusti, A Pratichetti, A Esposito, J Ambrosini, L Morisi.
Ulster: P Nelson; A Trimble, J Payne, P Wallace, M Allen; N O’Connor, P Marshall; T Court, R Herring, D Fitzpatrick; R Diack, N McComb, N Williams, M McComish, R Wilson (c).Replacements: N Brady, C Black, J Afoa, J Simpson, A Birch, M Heaney, S Olding, C Cochrane.

Dragons v Connacht

When: Tonight, 7pm

Where can I watch? In Wales. Connacht have been snubbed again.

The story so far: This game represents a golden opportunity to attach themselves to the mid-table scrap as the Dragons are a very weak outfit. Connacht defeated Treviso 18-3 last time out to snap a losing running that extended back to their shock win over Leinster back in September. Dragons are second from bottom and have been soundly beaten in their last two outings, against Glasgow and Ulster.

Team news: The major news for Connacht is the return of captain Gavin Duffy, Coach Eric Elwood does not want to disrupt Robbie Henshaw’s great run at fullback so Duffy is placed on the left wing. Kieran Marmion and Dan Parks renew their half-back partnership while Darragh Leader is a late replacement for uncapped winger Matt Healy on the replacements bench. Dragons coach Darren Edwards oversees a team that is not exactly laden with international stars so he does not have too many selection woes. Tom Prydie starts at fullback while Lewis Evans has the captaincy.

Dragons: T Prydie; W Harries, P Leach, A Smith, T Chavhanga; D Evans, W Evans; P Price, H Gustafson, D Way; A Jones, R Sidoli; L Evans (c), N Cudd, T Brown.

Replacements: S Jones, O Evans, N Buck, I Nimmo, I Jones, J Evans, L Robling, J Dixon.

Connacht: R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, D Poolman, D McSharry, G Duffy (c); D Parks, K Marmion; D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, N White; M Swift, M Kearney; A Browne, W Faloon, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, R Ah You, R Loughney, D Gannon, J O’Connor, D Moore, M Nikora, D Leader.

Glasgow v Leinster

When: Tonight, 7:35pm

Where can I watch? RTÉ Two

The story so far: Warriors are the on-paper favourites here having out together a handy winning streak. They thumped Newport Gwent Dragons on their last outing and have defeated Cardiff Blues and Ospreys away from home. Leinster’s form has been streaky – destroying Cardiff one week and losing to Ospreys the week after. Their coach, Joe Schmidt, was not pleased that his side were not getting penalties against the Pro12 champions despite having a superior scrum. The Leinster forwards line-up this week does not suggest there will be a similar issue.

Team news: Major boosts came in the form of Isa Nacewa and Sean O’Brien declaring themselves fit. The Leinster back-row looks imposing and Quinn Roux returns to the second row to partner captain Leo Cullen. The Blues’ front row may prove a weakness with Jack McGrath and Jamie Hagan flanking hooker Aaron Dundon. Warriors’ main attacking threat will come from Canadian winger DTH van der Merwe while Ruairidh Jackson is a useful player at out-half. Captain Chris Fusaro is partnered in the Glasgow back row by Rob Harley and South African behemoth Josh Strauss.

Glasgow: P Murchie; T Seymour, A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; R Jackson, S Kennedy; O Fainga’anuku, P MacArthur, M Cusack; T Swinson, T Ryder; R Harley, C Fusaro (c), J Strauss.

Replacements: F Gillies, G Hunter, M Low, J Eddie, R Wilson, G Graham, S Wight, B McGuigan.

Leinster: I Nacewa; D Kearney, B Macken, A Goodman, F Carr; I Madigan, I Boss; J McGrath, A Dundon, J Hagan; L Cullen (c), Q Roux; K McLaughlin, S Jennings, S O’Brien.

Replacements: T Sexton, J O’Connell, M Moore, D Toner, J Murphy, J Cooney, N Reid, A Conway.

Ian Madigan is collared by Chris Fusaro of Glasgow. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Munster v Scarlets

When: Sunday, 5:15pm

Where can I watch? TG4

The story so far: A top four clash at Musgrave Park on Sunday should attract a reasonable crowd and Munster will be hoping to seal a bonus point win that could take them into third and leave them just a point behind the Welshmen. Munster’s four-try win over Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup sparked their season and they followed it up with a fine away win in Cardiff. Scarlets have won six games from eight so far with their sole loss on the road coming against Treviso, 22-20, in Italy.

Team news: Munster have made six changes from the side that beat Cardiff Blues at the start of the month. Ian Keatley resumes the kicking duties from out-half while James Downey partners Casey Laulala in the centre. Felix Jones continues his comeback at 15 while the front row comprises of Wian du Preez, Mike Sherry and Stephen Archer. Scarlets coach Simon Easterby lost Liam Williams to international duty late in the piece and called up Morgan Stoddart to start at fullback.  Aled Thomas kicked well in Sacrlets’ LV Cup game last weekend and retains the 10 jersey.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett (c), C Laulala, J Downey, L O’Dea; I Keatley, D Williams; W du Preez, M Sherry, S Archer; I Nagle, B Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, N Ronan, P Butler.

Replacements: D Varley, M Horan, BJ Botha, D Foley, CJ Stander, P Stringer,  JJ Hanrahan, D Hurley.

Scarlets: M Stoddart, N Reynolds, G Maule, G Owen, A Fenby; A Thomas, G Davies; P John, E Phillips, J Adriaanse; J Ball, R Kelly; G Earle, J Edwards (c), C Price.

Replacements: K Myhill, S Hopkins, S Lee, J Snyman, D Thomas, R Williams, D Newton, A Warren.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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