PREVIEW: PRO14, ROUND 17 - Catch-up matches

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:29
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The two outstanding fixtures from the weather-disrupted PRO14 Round 17 take place this weekend with Ulster hosting Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast and Ospreys travelling to Italy to take on Zebre in Parma.

Warriors confirmed their home spot in the Final Series Semi-Finals with their emphatic win over Connacht last time out, the only question is who they will play, and Ulster are still in the mix to qualify from Conference B.

Ospreys look set for a European Champions Cup Play-Off place, whilst Zebre will be hoping to set a new record for victories in a PRO14 season.

In terms of team news, Glasgow Warriors coach Dave Rennie has made six changes to his starting XV with Scotland international Huw Jones starting at outside centre for the re-arranged game against Ulster.

Alex Dunbar scored on his return to the side against Connacht last Friday and shifts to twelve.

Ali Price and Finn Russell start in the half-back positions, swapping in for Henry Pyrgos and Peter Horne who are both on the bench in Belfast.

Lelia Masaga starts on the wing with Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg completing the back-three.

Siua Halanukonuka starts at tight-head prop. Fraser Brown and Alex Allan are the other front-row forwards.

Tim Swinson comes into the second-row alongside Scott Cummings, while the loose-forwards remain unchanged and Callum Gibbins once again captains the side.

Ryan Grant comes onto the bench,  along with Greg Peterson and Matt Smith. Centre Nick Grigg completes the 23.

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie, said: "We are rapt to have confirmed a home semi-final berth and see the next couple of weeks as a chance to build momentum against tough away opponents.

"Ulster still have a chance to qualify for the Final Series and Europe so have plenty to play for.

"They lead the competition in line-breaks so keeping players like Jacob Stockdale and Charles Piutau quiet will be crucial,"

What's at Stake

Ulster take on Glasgow Warriors at Kingspan Stadium.

Ulster have to win both their remaining games with bonus points if they are to have any hope of overhauling Edinburgh in third spot of conference B, and that is then dependent on another result going their way. They also need to distance themselves from Benetton Rugby who are only one point behind them in the table, to ensure they qualify for the Champions Cup Play-Off place at the end of the season. Visitors Glasgow Warriors, however, have the luxury of knowing they have already claimed a home Final Series Semi-Final spot.

After their relocation to L’Aquila last week, Zebre Rugby welcome Ospreys to their regular home ground, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma.

Zebre will be looking for another way to make history this weekend and could record their highest number of victories in a PRO14 season. Ospreys could be looking for the result from Belfast to confirm who they will face in the Champions Cup Play-off.

Saturday, April 21

Ulster v Glasgow
(Kingspan Stadium - Kick-off: 18:05, 17.05 GMT)

The teams:

Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny McPhillips, John Cooney, 8 Jean Deysel 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Nick Timoney, 5 Iain Henderson (c), 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Ross Kane, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Andy Warwick,
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Tom O'Toole, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Angus Curtis, 23 Tommy Bowe.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lelia Masaga, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Callum Gibbins (c), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Alex Allan
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Matt Smith, 21 Henry Prygos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Nick Grigg

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Nigel Correll (Ireland), Helen O'Reilly (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Zebra v Ospreys
(Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Kick-off: 18.45, 16.45 GMT)

The teams:

Zebre: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Giulio Bisegni, 12 Tommaso Castello (c), 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 David Sisi, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Jacopo Sarto, 5 George Biagi, 4 Leonard Krumov, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Oliviero Fabiani, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Luhandre Luus, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Edoardo Padovani, 23 Gabriele Di Giulio

Ospreys: 15 James Hook (c), 14 Dewi Cross, 13 Joe Thomas, 12 Luke Price, 11 Dylan Moss, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Matthew Aubrey, 8 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Giorgi Nemsadze, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Rhodri Jones
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Alex Jeffries, 19 Matthew Dodd, 20 James Ratti, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Kieran Williams, 23 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler

Referee: Lloyd Linton (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Keith Allen (Scotland), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Charles Samson (Scotland)

There are currently no matches being played
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Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Glasgow Warriors 21 15 1 5 76
Munster 21 13 1 7 69
Cheetahs 21 12 0 9 63
Cardiff Blues 21 11 0 10 54
Ospreys 21 9 0 12 44
Connacht 21 7 0 14 39
Zebre 21 7 0 14 36
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 21 14 1 6 70
Scarlets 21 14 1 6 70
Edinburgh 21 15 0 6 68
Ulster 21 12 2 7 62
Treviso 21 11 0 10 55
Dragons 21 2 2 17 20
Kings 21 1 0 20 11