Thursday, 11 December 2014

weekend predictions

All Wales Sport previews the sixth and final round of the British & Irish Cup along with the only Principality Premiership game taking place this weekend.

Pool 1 – London Scottish v Pontypridd

Having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Bristol almost a fortnight ago, Ponty recovered from that confidence-crushing defeat with a bonus-point home win over Connacht last week that reignited their British & Irish Cup hopes.

Another five-point win guarantees qualification for the last eight as one of the three best runners-up – while four points will almost certainly do as well.

Standing before them are London Scottish, who although already out, have only been beaten once (by Bristol) on their own ground this season while Ponty also slipped up here 26-21 almost exactly a year ago.

The pressure is on Ponty for sure but, although a lot will depend on what side the English Championship side put out with nothing riding on it for them, I’m going for a Ponty win nonetheless.

Prediction: Pontypridd by 6 points

Pool 2 – Ulster Ravens v Aberavon

Aberavon's losing run was extended to eight games with last Saturday's 42-14 home defeat to Rotherham.

The Wizards also have not won in any competition since they beat Ulster 18-14 at The Talbot Athletic Ground in the reverse fixture on October 11.

Although they have at least salvaged some pride with some gutsy recent performances in defeat and I’m backing Jason Hyatt's side to complete the double over winless Ulster.

Prediction: Aberavon by 5 points

Pool 4 – Doncaster Knights v Cross Keys

Seven of the 10 matches played in Pool 4 have resulted in a winning margin of five points or less.

Cross Keys, while bottom of the pool, have more than held their own this season – although were taken apart at home by Bedford last weekend.

Their two previous away trips to English Championship clubs have ended in a one-point win (v Bedford) and a one-point loss (v Cornish Pirates).

Group winners Doncaster won 37-32 at Pandy Park in round one and I’ve got them down to finish the group with a 100 per cent record.

Prediction: Doncaster by 7 points

Pool 5 - Carmarthen Quins v Jersey

The winners of this tie – being played at Llandovery – can still go through as one of the best runners-up, if Munster A and Cornish Pirates are well beaten.

Jersey are on a four-game losing streak but won with a bonus point when the sides met back in October.

Although I think Carmarthen – a composite Scarlets A side in all but name – will win on Saturday and finish on a high, I fear it’s a big ask for all the results needs elsewhere to go their way.

Prediction: Carmarthen Quins by 10 points


Principality Premiership – Cardiff v Neath (2.30pm)

There is also one Principality Premiership clash taking place on Saturday and it’s at the Arms Park between Cardiff and Neath.

The Welsh All Blacks have undergone something of a transformation with three wins from their last four Premiership outings to revive their flagging fortunes after a tough start to the season that, for many, left them odds on for the drop.

Patrick Horgan’s re-introduction at the Gnoll has certainly helped turn things around and will hope to carry on from where they left off three weeks ago when they beat Newport at Rodney Parade – despite playing with 14 men for much of the game.

However it must also be said that, although Neath dug in, Newport were also particularly poor on the day and a better side would have capitalised on their numerical advantage.

Cardiff on their own ground will provide a much sterner test and will themselves will be looking forward to returning to action after many weeks of being stop-start, with the league taking a back seat for the British & Irish Cup.

The Blue and Blacks currently sit in fourth place in the table with five wins from seven games.

I expect a fiercely-contested battle between these two but back Cardiff to win and make it six from eight with the enforced three-week break also likely to have halted Neath’s new-found momentum just slightly.

Prediction: Cardiff by 11 points


Post a Comment