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Heineken Cup – Munster Aim To Claw Back Some Pride

Rob Penney faces a tough task after Munster's drubbing last week

Rob Penney faces a tough task after Munster’s drubbing last week

Zebre v Connacht

This game is an open contest for both teams to claim all four points, though the presence of Dan Parks controlling the game should give Connacht the platform they need to overcome the powerful Italians. Connacht need to show the same spirited performance they did against Saracens in the previous round of the Heineken Cup, if they can do this and improve on it they should come home with a victory from Italy.

They must be wary of the threat of Luciano Orquera, who is the main playmaker for the Italians. Connacht seems to be struggling with their injuries which could make things more intimidating for them as they travel to Italy for this encounter. They need to show the same skill and confidence that bagged them tries against Sarries, and Dannie Poolman is a likely candidate to get this done as any.

Verdict: Connacht

Leinster v Castres

Leinster face the difficult challenge of taking on Castres Olympique in Dublin this weekend. The French have been renowned to cause problems for their opponents although Leinster should be comfortable enough to hold off the challenge of the French side. The Blues will be looking for good performances from Gopperth and hoping to bring in their backs to create openings in the oppositions defensive line.

Castres have been coming in to this competition rather quietly and Leinster should be dead certs to win this comfortably, with the Castres away record pretty dismal in the Heineken Cup. They will be looking to express their dominance from their back-line to exploit weaknesses in the French side’s defence.

Verdict: Leinster

Montpellier v Ulster

Ulster will be hoping to continue their good start to the Heineken Cup with a victory over the French giants, and it is well within their grasp. The presence of Ruan Pienaar in the Ulster line up will be vastly important with Ulster also still capable of scoring tries from the likes of Andrew Trimble & Tommy Bowe. They always have big potential in any given game and they tend to play the fast paced style of rugby that can cause French sides a lot of bother. However, Montpellier are currently on top in the Top 14 and will be Ulster’s toughest test this season. This will be the game of the weekend & has the making of a pulsating encounter with the possibilities of tries being scored at its best. Ulster need to exploit Montpellier and really test their defence to see whether it will give in to immense pressure.

Verdict: Montpellier

Munster v Gloucester

This will be an interesting tie for Munster who got punished for not putting away Edinburgh last weekend & with the loss of Simon Zebo due to injury, the task they face is even more daunting. Gloucester will try to dominate this game for sure after they fronted up fantastically to Perpignan, but travelling to Thomond Park will never be easy for any team. Munster need to control this game and dominate territory throughout. They need to play in the opposition’s half as much as possible, particularly with the disciplinary record they have already notched up this season. Gloucester will punish Munster’s mistakes and ill-discipline at the weekend and it is indeed possible they could edge out a victory in Limerick.

Verdict: Gloucester

Image courtesy of Rabodirectpro12.com

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