Guinness Pro14 Round 4 previews and team news. Munster v Ospreys – Ulster v Cardiff – Connacht v Cheetahs – Zebre v Leinster

Guinness Pro14, Round 4 team news

After a two week break, we return to Guinness Pro14 action this weekend. First up on Friday night at 7:35pm Munster host the Ospreys at Irish Independent Park in Cork, while at the same time Cardiff travel to Ravenhill to take on Ulster. On Saturday at 5:15pm Connacht take on table-toppers the Cheetahs at the Sportsground and Leinster are in Parma facing Zebre at the same time.

Munster v Ospreys

Munster are looking to bounce back after the free-scoring Cheetahs put 40 points on Johann van Graan’s men in Bloemfontein in round 3. Both short term signing Jeb Holloway and academy player Jack O’Sullivan come into the side for their first starts, at second row and no.8 respectively. The front row sees Rhys Marshall at hooker, with James Cronin and Stephen Archer on either side of him. Billy Holland captains the side as he joins Holloway in the second row and Jack O’Donoghue and Tommy O’Donnell make up the back row alongside O’Sullivan.

Neil Cronin and Tyler Bleyendaal are the half-back pairing. While the Shane Daly and Calvin Nash are on either side of Rory Scannell and Dan Goggin, with Mike Haley at full-back.

Their opponents the Ospreys picked up their first win of the campaign in round 3 with a 24-20 win over Treviso last time out. Despite being down their contingent of Welsh players the Ospreys have named a strong looking side with a blend of youth and experience for this clash. 

team news with thanks to @Ospreys

 

Ulster v Cardiff

Ulster arrived back in Belfast from their South African mini-tour with one heavy defeat and one big win. The former was a 63-26 defeat to the Cheetahs in round 2. While they followed that up with a 42-17 win over the Southern Kings. Dan McFarland’s side will be relatively happy with a six-point return from those two away games. 

Will Addison return to the full-back jersey after an injury-enforced lay-off as Matt Faddes drops to the bench. James Hume comes in at centre alongside Luke Marshall with Stuart McCloskey making way. Among the other changes, Alan O’Connor comes back into the side with Kieran Treadwell as Sam Carter joins the replacements and in the front row Jack McGrath comes back in for Eric O’Sullivan.

 

Cardiff team news with thanks to @Cardiff_rugby
Connacht v The Cheetahs (full preview here)

Andy Friend’s Connacht will hope to make it three wins on the trot as they host the in-form Cheetahs at the Sportsground on Saturday evening. Connacht’s round 3 bonus-point win over the Dragons at Rodney Parade came at a cost as both Tiernan O’Halloran and Paddy McAllister both picked up serious-looking injuries.

Matt Healy also picked up a knock just prior to the break and will sit out this weeks game. Denis Buckley returns at prop for McAllister and Stephen Fitzgerald starts at full-back for O’Halloran. While Niyi Adeolokun comes in for his first start of the season on the wing for Healy. The only other change sees Kieran Marmion come in at scrum-half as Caolin Blade drops to the bench.

The Cheetahs team news
  1.  Ox Nche
  2. Joseph Dweba
  3. Aranos Coetzee
  4. Sintu Manjezi
  5. Walt Steenkamp
  6. Gerhard Olivier
  7. Junior Pokomela
  8. Jasper Wiese
  9. Ruan Pienaar (C)
  10. Tian Schoeman
  11. Anthony Volmink
  12. Benhard Janse van Rensburg
  13. Dries Swanepoel
  14. Clayton Blommetjies
  15. Rhyno Smith
  1. Wilmar Arnoldi
  2. Boan Venter
  3. Luan de Bruin
  4. JP du Preez
  5. Sias Koen
  6. Tian Meyer
  7. George Whitehead
  8. William Small-Smith
Zebre v Leinster

Leo Cullen makes five changes from last weeks side that recorded a 40-14 thrashing of Edinburgh. His Leinster side will be looking to make it four wins from their opening four games as they travel to Parma to face Zebre tomorrow evening (kick-off 7:35pm). A maximum return of fifteen points from the first three rounds speaks volumes for the strength and depth of Leo Cullen’s squad.

The same cannot be said for their Conference A rivals as Zebre are yet to even get a single point on the league table having already leaked over 100 points. Their Italian continent have returned earlier than expected as the Italian’s final pool game against New Zealand was cancelled due to typhoon Hagibis. Michael Bradley brings five of that squad into his starting line-up. David Sisi and Carlo Canna both return to the starting line-up after featuring for the Azzurri against South Africa. While Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni and Edoardo Padovani all featured in the earlier pool B wins over Namibia and Canada.

Cian Kelleher comes in for his first start of his second spell at Leinster. returning after spending three years out west in Galway. His brother Ronan Kelleher makes way at hooker for James Tracy, While Devin Toner is rested as Ross Molony comes into the second row alongside Scott Fardy. The back-row is rejigged also as Josh Murphy comes in at no.6 and Max Deegan moves to the no.8 jersey as Scott Penny is retained at seven and Caelan Doris drops to the bench. There are changes on both wins as James Lowe and Dave Kearney are both rested from the matchday squad. As mentioned above Kelleher starts at no.11 and Adam Byrne starts on the opposite wing. 

Zebre team news

15 Michelangelo Biondelli* (2)

14 Edoardo Padovani*(73)

13 Giulio Bisegni (87)

12 Enrico Lucchin* (3)

11 Mattia Bellini (48)

10 Carlo Canna (79)

9 Joshua Renton (19)

8 David Sisi (43)

7 Johan Meyer (82)

6  Giovanni Licata* (26)

5 George Biagi (109) (Cap)

4 Mick Kearney (3)

3 Giosuè Zilocchi* (18)

2 Marco Manfredi (4)

1 Danilo Fischetti* (6)

Replacments:

16 Oliviero Fabiani (108)

17 Daniele Rimpelli* (30)

18 Alexandru Tarus (3)

19 Leonard Krumov* (33)

20 Renato Giammarioli* (32)

21 Marcello Violi* (54)

22 Tommaso Boni* (74)

23 James Elliott (21)

Coach: Michael Bradley