Magners League Round Three opens this Friday (17 September) in Glasgow where Connacht are the visitors. Warriors have a proud home record at Firhill, having lost just once in their last nine encounters at the venue in all competitions. Connacht on the other hand have not won in the city since September 2003, however they currently sit five places above their hosts in the League table, and can boast one of the competition’s top try scorers, Fionn Carr, in their ranks. Connacht’s last opponents, Scarlets, also play on Friday night, welcoming Aironi Rugby to Parc y Scarlets. The newcomers having secured their first League points will now be looking for a first League win, but victory on the road is always a hard task and Scarlets will be particularly wary of Italian opposition having lost to BenettonTreviso in the opening round of this season’s campaign.
GLASGOW WARRIORS v CONNACHT – At Firhill Stadium, 7.30pm
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU, 2nd League game).
League matches. The Warriors only defeat in their last nine encounters at Firhill in all competitions was 7-30 to Cardiff Blues on 19 February. Glasgow have not lost at home to an Irish side since Ulster were the visitors on 17 April 2009.
Connacht’s narrow 33-35 loss at Scarlets on Saturday was notable for wing Fionn Carr who became just the second Connacht hat-trick scorer in Magners League history, following Wayne Munn against Caerphilly in 2001. The Irishmen have not won in Scotland since a visit to the now disbanded Border Reivers on 1 September 2006. Glasgow are unbeaten in their last three games against Connacht, whilst Connacht’s only previous win in Glasgow was 30-19 at Hughenden on 26 September 2003.
Rugby World Prediction: The Warriors by ten. What do you think?
SCARLETS v AIRONI RUGBY – At Parc y Scarlets, 8.05pm – Live on BBC Wales and Dahlia TV
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU, 7th League game).
Scarlets secured just a second Magners League victory in their last eight encounters with the win against Connacht on Saturday, but have not managed back to back wins in the same season in the competition since the end of 2008/09. Scarlets only previous game against an Italian team in any competition was two weeks ago in Treviso when the home side claimed a 34-28 victory. Aironi Rugby are still to open their winning account in the Magners League, but at least gained a first league point courtesy of getting within seven points of Ulster on Saturday night in Viadana. The two teams have never met before.
ULSTER v EDINBURGH RUGBY – At Ravenhill, 8.05pm. Live on BBC Sport NI, Alba and RTE
Referee: Alan Falzone (FIR, 1st League game).
Ulster have won their last four games in the Magners League and are bidding to start a season with three straight victories for the first time since they went on to become champions in 2005/06. Ulster failed to beat a Scottish side in the Magners League at Ravenhill last season. Edinburgh Rugby’s run of six straight defeats is their worst ever sequence in Magners League history. The Scotsmen’s only away win in almost exactly 12 months was 17-16 at the Scarlets in December. Both encounters between Ulster and Edinburgh in the Magners League last season were won by the away side, whilst Edinburgh have won on two of their last three visits to Ravenhill in the League.