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Pro 14 2019/2020 Season

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Post by Welshmushroom on Thu 04 Jul 2019, 2:15 pm

First topic message reminder :

From a Dragons fan perspective looking ahead into the new season and which sides I would like to catch early in the Pro14 due to players having gone to the World Cup.

Obviously Hill, Dee & Moriarty will be big misses for us during this period. I think we may have Wainwright available (if they end up picking Shingler to cover Lock/Blindside). Think Brown probably wont make the cut either.

So hopefully our starter lineup will look like this:
1. Bevington 2. Hibbard 3. Brown/Fairbrother 4. Nansen 5. Screech 6. Wainwright 7. Griffiths 8. Evans
9. Williams 10. Davies 11. Rosser 12. Dixon 13. Morgan 14. Howells 15. Williams

Now looking at the other sides in the competition it would be great if we could catch some of the league powerhouses early. My Breakdown of the other teams:-

1. Scarlets - Look weak in the front 3. Possibly a weakness at outside centre as well. Would imagine they will be playing Asquith at 12 during this period. McNicholl will probably be the star man on this team opening rounds.

2. Blues - On paper even without the internationals they look a seasoned well rounded team. Probably dangerous for any team in the league during the opening rounds. Halaholo is my star man pick but the entire Blues 8 are extremely experienced (although I don't rate Gill much). Also unclear if Ellis will recover from injury or if he will end up parachuted into Wales WC Squad. If not he will just add to that fairly experienced pack.

3. Ospreys - Will have a fairly competitive pack assuming Bradley doesn't make the cut for the World Cup. The real weakness for them is in the backline. At 9 currently they will be playing rookies and 13 potentially as well unless they opt to play Hook at 12 and move Allen to 13. Giles will probably end up on the wing as well and while he has potential - defensively they may struggle against experienced backlines. That said they probably have enough upfront to power over most teams in the league. Star Man will be Bradley Davies if he doesn't make the world cup.

4. Munster - Probably going to missing around 11 players on World Cup duty. To me Tighthead and at 8 they look particularly weak. To me the backline also looks a little short on quality although granted they do have some potential in the backline.Personally I would like to catch them at Rodney Parade early. I'm still not sure away would be a banker for us. Reckon their key man will be Bleyendaal in the opening part of the season for his experience.

5. Leinster - Now I don't know if they still have the rule of not being able to select 2 non irish players in their starting 15's or if they are allowed exceptions in the early part of this season. Even taking into consideration that they can start Fardy, Gibson-Park, Lowe and Tomane the real problem for them is in the pack. They look seriously underpowered and inexperienced. They probably are hoping Smidt doesn't take Ruddock to the WC. Personally getting these in R2 or R3 away would be perfect. I think we can take them early doors before the return of their internationals. Star Man: Lowe

6. Ulster - For me probably the biggest Irish threat early. Only place they might be a little short on experience will be at 5 and 14. Pack on paper looks extremely strong and along with Cardiff both these sides should be fairly confident into the early rounds. Star Man: McCloskey
Would like to avoid these early doors altogether.

7. Connacht - Not really disrupted to much for internationals like us. Good experienced team. Always going to be dangerous at home. Star Man: Roux Another side I would like to see us avoid early doors but if we have to a home draw that wouldn't be the worst fixture start for us.

8. Edinburgh - Cockerill has done a amazing job with them. Surely even he can't cover 14 players at the world cup. Still managed to assemble a big pack for this period though so it's clear they wont be beaten upfront easily. 9, 10 and 15 look like the real problem area for him. Getting them at home would suit me fine. Star Man: Socino

9. Glasgow - Probably losing at least 13 players if not more. They still have a lot of experience in that squad. On paper probably have to much for us home or away. If we have to though a home draw would be better. Star Man: Lee Jones

10. Treviso - Backline looks very experienced for the league. Upfront a different story altogether. Can see them taking a bit of a battering upfront early doors. Star Man: Ioane
Don't mind if we get them early home or away

11. Zebre - Same story with them. Losing key personnel to the WC. Upfront looks very inexperienced. Backline will also be inexperienced. Can they get Boni back in time for the start of the season. The Centre was a powerhouse before his long term injury and would also have made the Italian squad if he wasn't out of action. Star Man: Walker (reckon he's going to surprise a few in the Pro14)

12. Kings - Not going to be missing any internationals. But they still lack quality for compete at this level. No signings of note in the off season. Could be a long season for them again? Personally I expect us to beat them home and away. Would be a waste to draw them during the World Cup period. Star Man: Catrakilis

13. Cheetahs - Same story as the Kings. To many lost star after their first season in the Pro14. They do have a better record than the kings and at home they will win games. Prefer to not draw them either in the opening rounds. Star Man: Nche

How do you fancy your teams chances and what teams would you like to draw early or avoid during the World Cup?



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Post by Guest on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 1:38 pm

Stone Motif wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
Stone Motif wrote:
miaow wrote:Yours first, dear.

You said I'm wrong, prove it.
What figures is he referring to?

Pass. I just know I'm wrong.

Of course

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 4:38 pm

Well that was enlightening.

Meanwhile, back at the PRO14 2029/20 ranch, the silence was broken that another coach had left an Irish club to work with one of the regions. Will this be a good appointment or more death by a thousand cuts for the Ospreys?
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Post by Guest on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 4:54 pm

At least he's proven and Welsh. Should have been brought back in the fold a long time ago, but can't blame him for remaining distant.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 4:57 pm

Pot Hale wrote:Well that was enlightening.  

Meanwhile, back at the PRO14 2029/20 ranch, the silence was broken that another coach had left an Irish club to work with one of the regions. Will this be a good appointment or more death by a thousand cuts for the Ospreys?

Ruddock is only there for a month. It's between him and the janitor for the 5 year head coach contract, but I envision both of them turning it down. Ruddock will know better.

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 05 Dec 2019, 6:02 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:Well that was enlightening.  

Meanwhile, back at the PRO14 2029/20 ranch, the silence was broken that another coach had left an Irish club to work with one of the regions. Will this be a good appointment or more death by a thousand cuts for the Ospreys?

Ruddock is only there for a month. It's between him and the janitor for the 5 year head coach contract, but I envision both of them turning it down. Ruddock will know better.

Sounds a good one for the bookies.

What's the janitor's name - asking for a friend....
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Post by Pot Hale on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 1:13 pm

So we're 13 Rounds into the Championship - with a couple of games postponed against Italian teams - and the top four in each Conference have a bit of distance between them and 5th spot.

Conference A
Leinster 61
Ulster 41
Glasgow 34
Cheetahs 32

Conference B
Edinburgh 47
Munster 45
Scarlets 37
Connacht 35

Of the two, Conference B certainly has a tighter battle as to who'll get top spot and a home semi-final.
Scarlets and Connacht have a battle to see who could get the third quarter-final spot - although Cardiff and Benetton (who have two games in hand) could both change those placings.

In Conference A, Leinster are well ahead of Ulster who have a game in hand to cut the 20 point deficit by 4-5 points. Glasgow and Cheetahs look the most likely to get 3rd and 4th spots with the SA team next three games at home but facing the conference leaders - Edinburgh and Leinster, as well as Ospreys. Glasgow, on the other hand, play Ospreys away, Ulster at home and then Connacht away. Having got through those three rounds, Glasgow have Cheetahs at home.

Can Cardiff or Dragons claw their way into contention?
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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 5:02 pm

Anyone see the Lousi red card on the weekend? There was just no need to throw punches. Had his mates done a better job of backing him up however, then it might not have boiled over.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 5:18 pm

Dragons won’t claw their way back, but are having a good season thus far. In some ways, with their budget and squad looking stretched at times, they’ve done well to win as many as they have.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 7:04 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Anyone see the Lousi red card on the weekend? There was just no need to throw punches. Had his mates done a better job of backing him up however, then it might not have boiled over.

Two punches, three contacts. Tall, rangey, well balanced, fluid and loose fighter with a good future in the ring ahead of him.

People say he seemed to just go blank about the cameras but I honestly think he didn't care. Looked quite cool, just didn't want to be pushed back no more.
Later, I was laughing and thinking he'd do well with Munster actually and they should have a word with his agent.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 8:06 pm

I like lock forwards who are tough and a good all-round player like Lousi, but you have to know your limits. PI players seem to be a little more angry than others.

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 12 Mar 2020, 5:45 pm

PRO14 is now suspended until further notice following government lockdown decisions in Ireland and Italy.

EPCR are keeping situation under review.

Ireland lockdown is set to run until March 29 and will be constantly reviewed.
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 12 Mar 2020, 6:18 pm

Common sense really. Be interesting to see what happens with it now.

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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 12 Mar 2020, 6:20 pm

Statement from PRO14 this evening.


“The current Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended in response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.

The PRO14 is an international league. Cross border travel is inevitable and that brings with it unique challenges. With governments in Italy and Ireland already putting in place clear directives and restrictions around public activities and travel, the decision to suspend the competition is appropriate. It is in the best interests of everyone that games are not played at this time. The suspension has been directed by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC and will be remain under constant review.

David Jordan, Tournament Director PRO14 Rugby, said: “We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds. With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness PRO14 it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.”

Resumption of the 2019/20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point PRO14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.

This will remain the case for the duration of the suspension. This is an unprecedented action for the tournament and as such no end date to the suspension can be provided at this time.

In keeping with our practice during the outbreak, PRO14 Rugby will provide updates on the suspension when more information is available.”
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 12 Mar 2020, 10:00 pm

Something is going to have to give in terms of rescheduling. It seems the year will run out of time to get everything restarted and finished in time for the beginning of a new season (same year)

So will Summer International tours be cancelled so that Pro14 can be finished and possibly Ireland get the Italy game played? Or will Pro14 be officially truncated.... and given to Leinster coz they is looking so good this year anyway? Yahoo OK Bubbly Ale guinness music (no bias or anything intended of course Whistle )

But seriously, it seems something will have to give in terms of outright cancellation (International or Club) to allow a new season to start fresh.

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Post by BigGee on Thu 12 Mar 2020, 10:12 pm

Difficult calls really, as no-one has any idea how long this will all drag on for.

Best case scenario is that we might get some games back on towards the end of the season and maybe some playoffs. You would imagine cancelled games will get the draw awarded.

What can you do really, some things are more important than sport.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 12 Mar 2020, 10:21 pm

BigGee wrote:

What can you do really, some things are more important than sport.

Without a doubt.
Just saying it appears to me that reconfiguring the year to make sure it all begins again in the right way will have to include cancellations rather than as now proposed mere postponements of everything - International or club.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 8:50 am

Could we just play the remaining league fixtures and declare the two teams who top the conferences as joint winners? That’ll free up a few weeks of additional fixtures (2 quarters, 2 semis and a final).
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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 10:36 am

The Oracle wrote:Could we just play the remaining league fixtures and declare the two teams who top the conferences as joint winners?  That’ll free up a few weeks of additional fixtures (2 quarters, 2 semis and a final).

No bleeding' way. The team with the most match points should be the winners.

Besides that fantasy, what would having a few free weeks do? More time not to play more matches?

The UK is just delaying when it is going to have to implement a lockdown countrywide. Scotland is moving in that direction, and undoubtedly Northern Ireland will have to fall into line with what the rest of the island is doing.

Things are going to get a lot more severe and for many months - we just need to recognise this and adapt accordingly.
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Post by SecretFly on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 12:07 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
Things are going to get a lot more severe and for many months - we just need to recognise this and adapt accordingly.

Correct, Pot. Naked moonlight dancing with plenty of cider to keep the nerves down. Howling at the moon entirely at your own discretion. I'm going to really enjoy the summer.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 1:22 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:
Things are going to get a lot more severe and for many months - we just need to recognise this and adapt accordingly.

Correct, Pot.  Naked moonlight dancing with plenty of cider to keep the nerves down.  Howling at the moon entirely at your own discretion.  I'm going to really enjoy the summer.

So long as you're howling an appropriate distance away from the person nearest to you.

I don't really see any way that remainder of many seasons get played. Even with almost marshall law in Wuhan there are still issues there and they are half a year into dealing with things. The actions of isolation slows the spread, but doesn't necessarily drop off in cases ultimately (and that adversely prolongs isolation and it's impact on events/mingling etc.).

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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 3:34 pm

Until they develop a vaccine this won’t go away. We’re probably a year away from that. It’ll probably be back in China before then.
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Post by SecretFly on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 6:38 pm

Pot Hale wrote:Until they develop a vaccine this won’t go away.  We’re probably a year away from that. It’ll probably be back in China before then.

How many vaccines are out there for different strains of Flu?  People keep getting injected but it seems there is always a need for vaccination the following year.  
I'm not sure even vaccination is the  great hope people should be lingering on.  If it's a recurring issue on an Annual basis, then we're just going to have to try to live with it eventually (not trying to use a pun).

But I do think now that part of the philosophy of allowing the virus in and only starting controlling mechanisms when a certain number of infections have occurred is to tacitly provide a framework for a population to acquire immunity over time.  In a sense, and to put it bluntly, certain people and numbers will be sacrificed to allow population exposure rather than to try to fully resist.

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Post by The Oracle on Fri 13 Mar 2020, 10:59 pm

Pot Hale wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Could we just play the remaining league fixtures and declare the two teams who top the conferences as joint winners?  That’ll free up a few weeks of additional fixtures (2 quarters, 2 semis and a final).

No bleeding' way.    The team with the most match points should be the winners.

Besides that fantasy, what would having a few free weeks do?  More time not to play more matches?

The UK is just delaying when it is going to have to implement a lockdown countrywide.  Scotland is moving in that direction, and undoubtedly Northern Ireland will have to fall into line with what the rest of the island is doing.  

Things are going to get a lot more severe and for many months - we just need to recognise this and adapt accordingly.

Whoops, missed this earlier somehow. Just to clarify, I didn’t mean freeing up weeks for no reason.  I meant that if the season were to get ‘shunted’ back and would need to be completed in a shorter space of time then perhaps we could forego the (somewhat) convoluted bits.  Perhaps just have a final between the conference winners.  Again, only if we need to ‘cull’ a few weeks.
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Post by Pot Hale on Sat 14 Mar 2020, 12:43 am

SecretFly wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:Until they develop a vaccine this won’t go away.  We’re probably a year away from that. It’ll probably be back in China before then.

How many vaccines are out there for different strains of Flu?  People keep getting injected but it seems there is always a need for vaccination the following year.  
I'm not sure even vaccination is the  great hope people should be lingering on.  If it's a recurring issue on an Annual basis, then we're just going to have to try to live with it eventually (not trying to use a pun).

But I do think now that part of the philosophy of allowing the virus in and only starting controlling mechanisms when a certain number of infections have occurred is to tacitly provide a framework for a population to acquire immunity over time.  In a sense, and to put it bluntly, certain people and numbers will be sacrificed to allow population exposure rather than to try to fully resist.

Agreed. This virus will be with us for a long time - its ‘effectiveness’ or severity will be blunted with vaccination and increasing herd immunity. But totally agree that the modelling for herd immunity inevitably has built-in acceptance of a certain number of deaths to get there.

I remember working on a project with the state’s legal liability/insurance funds and their cold analysis of ‘acceptable’ mortality and morbidity rates. Quite an eye opener on the actuarial accounting on that one.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 14 Mar 2020, 9:42 am

I think unfortunately thats just life. People have and will die because of corona, as they do of TB in other parts of the world. I think youre right pothale, it'll essentially become another strain of "flu" in the winter, and probably strains will be incorporated into the flu jab each year. Controlling the spread just allows us to better manage the virus and hopefully lowers the chance of more fatalities of the vunerable populace, who will be depending on a vaccine to at least lower their risk. The last thing anyone wants is another spanish flu.
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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 20 Mar 2020, 10:15 am

Further statement from PRO14 abut the indefinite suspension of 20219/20 season and the cancellation of final in Cardiff.

If there is a final to be held, it will be hosted by team with most points at end of regular season in conference stage.

"The suspension of the 2019/20 season of the Guinness PRO14 is now on an indefinite basis due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The board of Celtic Rugby DAC met by teleconference this week and agreed upon a strict list of criteria that would enable the Championship to recommence. However, no decision on a definitive re-commencement date can be made until four key criteria can be met within our respective competing territories:

* Public Health Authorities cease to prohibit the resumption of sport and group training
* Travel restrictions between our territories are lifted
* No forced isolation or quarantine orders are in force when visiting our territories
* Player welfare is safeguarded, including requirement for a suitable pre-recommencement training period, to be established in conjunction with the high-performance personnel at our participating unions and teams

Due to the evolving situation, unfortunately the board had to take the further decision to cancel the Guinness PRO14 Final at Cardiff City Stadium, set to take place on June 20. Refunds will be made automatically to all who have already purchased tickets.

Full information on refunds will be available on https://www.pro14.rugby/final in the next 24 hours.

Proposals regarding how to restart the season will be reviewed in the near future. PRO14 Rugby is working with key stakeholders to carefully examine several proposals that can be implemented and delivered in order to close out the season – albeit at a later date.

Should any final be played as part of the 2019/20 season, it will be hosted by the team with highest ranking based upon league records from this campaign.

When positive indicators on the criteria listed above PRO14 Rugby will provide another update.

Everyone across the Guinness PRO14 would urge fans and everyone involved in the sport of rugby to heed the directions from their local health authorities regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and play their part in staying safe.
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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 20 Mar 2020, 12:13 pm

Another final for Ireland then mad laughing

Hopefully, Cardiff get it again next season. I was looking forward to going to the final, even if Dragons probably weren't going to get there.

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Post by The Oracle on Sun 22 Mar 2020, 10:26 pm

It was our year, Risca. Dragons for the league final. Cruelly snatched away from us! Bet you we end up towards the bottom of the league/mid table next year. Typical. Just our luck Wink
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Post by RiscaGame on Mon 23 Mar 2020, 9:19 am

I agree totally laughing

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Post by Pot Hale on Mon 25 May 2020, 1:59 am

So the latest plan is to finish the season with two rounds of local derbies in each union territory followed by semifinals featuring the top two from each conference.   EPCR knockout games to follow these, and then the finals or something like that.  

So currently, the top four in each conference are:

Leinster 61
Ulster 41
Glasgow 34
Cheetahs 32

Conf B
Edinburgh 47
Munster 45
Scarlets 37
Connacht 35

The proposed August derbies in each territory will finalise the placings with top 2 from each going to semifinals.  
Leinster play Munster and Ulster, but can't be caught and will get a home-country semifinal regardless.  
Munster will play Connacht in their second interpro with both sides needing a win.
Ulster play Connacht first-up - needing just a win to secure the other Cons A semifinal spot.  
Connacht and Scarlets need to TBP win both their matches and others to slip up to have any chance  - highly unlikely.

Cheetahs will play Kings back-to-back and would need BP wins in both to stand a chance of reaching second spot whilst hoping Ulster slip up on both their matches.

Glasgow similarly would need to win both their matches against conference leaders, Edinburgh.    A tall order given results of their recent meetings.  Edinburgh just need one win to guarantee going through, and if Munster lose to Leinster will get the other home-country semifinal.

Let's see if they can make the matches happen.
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Post by Kingshu on Mon 25 May 2020, 5:49 pm

Remember Ulster have a game in hand, which would be put down as a draw, meaning Cheetahs can't catch them, Glasgow would need to BP wins and Ulster to not even pick up a single point in their two games, to overtake them, which is very unlikely. Think its near certain Leinster top and Ulster 2nd.

Conference B is more interesting as the top spot is not secured, while Scarlets and Connacht both have slim hopes, its really between Munster and Edinburgh to see who is away to Leinster and who is home to Ulster.

As an Ulster fan I'd perfer to go away to Edinburgh, but a trip to Munster wouldn't be the worst either, I do believe that Ulster are capable of beating either away (doesn't mean they will, but they certainly are not out classed by either).

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Post by Pot Hale on Tue 26 May 2020, 1:26 pm

Kingshu wrote:Remember Ulster have a game in hand, which would be put down as a draw, meaning Cheetahs can't catch them, Glasgow would need to BP wins and Ulster to not even pick up a single point in their two games, to overtake them, which is very unlikely. Think its near certain Leinster top and Ulster 2nd.

Conference B is more interesting as the top spot is not secured, while Scarlets and Connacht both have slim hopes, its really between Munster and Edinburgh to see who is away to Leinster and who is home to Ulster.

As an Ulster fan I'd perfer to go away to Edinburgh, but a trip to Munster wouldn't be the worst either, I do believe that Ulster are capable of beating either away (doesn't mean they will, but they certainly are not out classed by either).

Have they said that games in hand would be treated as draws? Didn't know that.

If so, then it makes the chase for EPCR spots a bit more interesting with potentially Benetton and Zebre in the hunt for 4th spot or higher in their conferences as Cheetahs would not be included.
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Post by Pot Hale on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 4:22 pm

PRO14 have announced the target start dates for August 22 as previously discussed.

The last two rounds will decide the top two teams in each conference.

The outstanding Round 13 fixtures have been treated as 0-0 draws and each team has been awarded 2 points.    Conference tables are now updated to reflect this.   https://www.pro14.rugby/match-centre/table/2020

The Board has also agreed that the qualification for Heineken/Challenge Cup places will be based on rankings after Round 13.  They say that they will announce the qualifying teams once EPCR has announced the format for next season's competitions.   They are likely to be
Leinster, Ulster, Glasgow from Conf A
Edinburgh, Munster and Scrlets from Conf B
The 7th spot - if still being used would be between Cheetahs 32 or Connacht 35.  Since Cheetahs don't qualify for EPCR yet, then the team below them is Dragons on 22 points.  If no playoff match is held for 4th spot, then Connacht would go through as the higher-ranked team.

PRO14 article here - https://www.pro14.rugby/latest/pro14/target-date-selected-for-guinness-pro14-restart
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Post by Brendan on Thu 18 Jun 2020, 10:19 pm

Dragons in a Champions Cup Quailifer. That is success for them.  Hope they can carry on next year from the progress they had.  Team seemed alot better organised and more confident.

With the long break the teams involved in the playoffs have a chance against Leinster as who knows how they will be.  All we know is it will be hard for them to be better than they were

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:13 am

Brendan wrote:Dragons in a Champions Cup Quailifer. That is success for them.  Hope they can carry on next year from the progress they had.  Team seemed alot better organised and more confident.

It had to happen eventually! Laugh

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:14 am

The local paper's reporting that we're guaranteed Champions Cup rugby next season - at the Cardiff Blues' expense....

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/18525974.dragons-face-europes-best-champions-cup/

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:41 am

It'll be interesting (to say the least) to see the reactions of LD, PhilBB and miaow.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 11:43 am

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
Brendan wrote:Dragons in a Champions Cup Quailifer. That is success for them.  Hope they can carry on next year from the progress they had.  Team seemed alot better organised and more confident.

It had to happen eventually! Laugh

Certainly better organised. Defence leaves a lot to be desired though. We're going to need the rumoured signings (Tomane, Tompkins) to come through and then some others in the front 5 to just be competitive.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 1:02 pm

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:The local paper's reporting that we're guaranteed Champions Cup rugby next season - at the Cardiff Blues' expense....

https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/sport/18525974.dragons-face-europes-best-champions-cup/

I thought I had read that it was at Benetton’s expense. Anyway, be nice not having to go to Russia for a season.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 2:17 pm

Italians get to have at least one in the comp don't they? And Zebre wouldn't have scored more points as far as I know.

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Post by RiscaGame on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 3:22 pm

I don't know about that now. I have just seen it said, by Blues supporters on social media. I have also seen a few Ospreys supporters complain that they could easily still finish above Dragons, so the derbies are now pointless.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 19 Jun 2020, 6:45 pm

Haha Ospreys, they’d be lucky to finish above Zebre.

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Post by Pot Hale on Sat 20 Jun 2020, 11:46 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Italians get to have at least one in the comp don't they? And Zebre wouldn't have scored more points as far as I know.

Top 7 came in three seasons ago. No country qualification spots anymore.
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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 22 Jun 2020, 10:17 pm

Okay, so if the top euro comp expands to 24 teams then that’s 8 teams from each league. That will be the top 4 ‘eligible’ teams in each conference. I guess we should thank the Cheetas, also funny to think about the reactions from Ospreys and Blues supporters.

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Post by Brendan on Thu 25 Jun 2020, 1:22 pm

Not sure if anyone saw but the Kings have been taken over again by the SARU. Seems like the big plans didn't come to anything.

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Post by Welshmushroom on Mon 20 Jul 2020, 12:31 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:

1. Scarlets - Look weak in the front 3.  Possibly a weakness at outside centre as well.  Would imagine they will be playing Asquith at 12 during this period.  McNicholl will probably be the star man on this team opening rounds.

2. Blues - On paper even without the internationals they look a seasoned well rounded team.  Probably dangerous for any team in the league during the opening rounds. Halaholo is my star man pick but the entire Blues 8 are extremely experienced (although I don't rate Gill much).  Also unclear if Ellis will recover from injury or if he will end up parachuted into Wales WC Squad.  If not he will just add to that fairly experienced pack.

3. Ospreys - Will have a fairly competitive pack assuming Bradley doesn't make the cut for the World Cup.  The real weakness for them is in the backline. At 9 currently they will be playing rookies and 13 potentially as well unless they opt to play Hook at 12 and move Allen to 13.  Giles will probably end up on the wing as well and while he has potential - defensively they may struggle against experienced backlines.  That said they probably have enough upfront to power over most teams in the league. Star Man will be Bradley Davies if he doesn't make the world cup.

4. Munster - Probably going to missing around 11 players on World Cup duty.  To me Tighthead and at 8 they look particularly weak.  To me the backline also looks a little short on quality although granted they do have some potential in the backline.Personally I would like to catch them at Rodney Parade early.  I'm still not sure away would be a banker for us.  Reckon their key man will be Bleyendaal in the opening part of the season for his experience.

5. Leinster - Now I don't know if they still have the rule of not being able to select 2 non irish players in their starting 15's or if they are allowed exceptions in the early part of this season.  Even taking into consideration that they can start Fardy, Gibson-Park, Lowe and Tomane the real problem for them is in the pack.  They look seriously underpowered and inexperienced.  They probably are hoping Smidt doesn't take Ruddock to the WC.  Personally getting these in R2 or R3 away would be perfect.  I think we can take them early doors before the return of their internationals. Star Man: Lowe

6. Ulster - For me probably the biggest Irish threat early.  Only place they might be a little short on experience will be at 5 and 14.  Pack on paper looks extremely strong and along with Cardiff both these sides should be fairly confident into the early rounds.   Star Man: McCloskey
Would like to avoid these early doors altogether.

7. Connacht - Not really disrupted to much for internationals like us.  Good experienced team.  Always going to be dangerous at home.  Star Man: Roux  Another side I would like to see us avoid early doors but if we have to a home draw that wouldn't be the worst fixture start for us.

8.  Edinburgh - Cockerill has done a amazing job with them.  Surely even he can't cover 14 players at the world cup.  Still managed to assemble a big pack for this period though so it's clear they wont be beaten upfront easily. 9, 10 and 15 look like the real problem area for him. Getting them at home would suit me fine.  Star Man: Socino

9. Glasgow - Probably losing at least 13 players if not more.  They still have a lot of experience in that squad.  On paper probably have to much for us home or away.  If we have to though a home draw would be better.  Star Man: Lee Jones

10. Treviso - Backline looks very experienced for the league.  Upfront a different story altogether.  Can see them taking a bit of a battering upfront early doors.  Star Man: Ioane
Don't mind if we get them early home or away

11. Zebre - Same story with them.  Losing key personnel to the WC.  Upfront looks very inexperienced.  Backline will also be inexperienced.  Can they get Boni back in time for the start of the season.  The Centre was a powerhouse before his long term injury and would also have made the Italian squad if he wasn't out of action.  Star Man: Walker (reckon he's going to surprise a few in the Pro14)

12. Kings - Not going to be missing any internationals.  But they still lack quality for compete at this level.  No signings of note in the off season.  Could be a long season for them again?  Personally I expect us to beat them home and away.  Would be a waste to draw them during the World Cup period. Star Man: Catrakilis

13. Cheetahs - Same story as the Kings.  To many lost star after their first season in the Pro14.  They do have a better record than the kings and at home they will win games.  Prefer to not draw them either in the opening rounds. Star Man: Nche

How do you fancy your teams chances and what teams would you like to draw early or avoid during the World Cup?


 

I dont think i was a million miles out with the start of season prediction. The only thing that become very clear is how soft a underbelly welsh rugby has. Ospreys in particular where really disappointing at the beginning (and well throughout really). Scarlets are by far our best team. Blues always end up having a great looking squad but end up failing to deliver on the goods and lose far more than they should.

Fair play to Cockers. Edinburgh have delivered on a lot of promise. Also Cheetahs did a great early job on as well. So all in all i would say 2 or 3 sides exceeded expectations above but also 2 or 3 totally underperformed.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 22 Jul 2020, 3:24 pm

Fixtures for the season restart announced:

Friday, 21 August
Benetton v Zebre, Stadio Monigo, 19:00 BST

Saturday, 22 August
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues, Parc y Scarlets, 15:00 BST
Edinburgh v Glasgow, Murrayfield, 17:15 BST
Leinster v Munster, Aviva Stadium, 19:35 BST

Sunday, 23 August
Ospreys v Dragons, Liberty Stadium, 14:15 BST
Connacht v Ulster, Aviva Stadium, 16:30 BST

Friday, 28 August
Glasgow v Edinburgh, Murrayfield, 19:35 BST

Saturday, 29 August
Dragons v Scarlets, Rodney Parade, 17:15 BST
Ulster v Leinster, Aviva Stadium, 19:35 BST

Sunday, 30 August
Munster v Connacht, Aviva Stadium, 15:00 BST
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys, Rodney Parade, 17:00 BST
Zebre v Benetton, Stadio Lanfranchi, 19:00 BST.



Cardiff playing their home match in Newport as the Arms Park is unavailable.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 22 Jul 2020, 3:35 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Fixtures for the season restart announced:

Friday, 21 August
Benetton v Zebre, Stadio Monigo, 19:00 BST

Saturday, 22 August
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues, Parc y Scarlets, 15:00 BST
Edinburgh v Glasgow, Murrayfield, 17:15 BST
Leinster v Munster, Aviva Stadium, 19:35 BST

Sunday, 23 August
Ospreys v Dragons, Liberty Stadium, 14:15 BST
Connacht v Ulster, Aviva Stadium, 16:30 BST

Friday, 28 August
Glasgow v Edinburgh, Murrayfield, 19:35 BST

Saturday, 29 August
Dragons v Scarlets, Rodney Parade, 17:15 BST
Ulster v Leinster, Aviva Stadium, 19:35 BST

Sunday, 30 August
Munster v Connacht, Aviva Stadium, 15:00 BST
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys, Rodney Parade, 17:00 BST
Zebre v Benetton, Stadio Lanfranchi, 19:00 BST.



Cardiff playing their home match in Newport as the Arms Park is unavailable.

That's their next outburst sorted then laughing. We've already played Scarlets at home, assume we are doing so again because the MS is unavailable all season, so Wales games at Wembley / Twickenham will become the norm.

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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 22 Jul 2020, 6:46 pm

Just goes to show, how many requirements there are for pro standard grounds, even without supporters. It really proves the point why games shouldn't be taken around the "region" on a whim.

Not really sure why we aren't playing Cardiff as our home game. Not really too concerned though, as these are little more than glorified friendlies, given that they don't affect European qualification etc.

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