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It's Top Versus Second in Week Seven
10 October 2004, 9:51 am
The last round of matches before the break for European Competition throws up what could be the game of the competition so for this year with first playing second on Friday evening.
The last round of matches before the break for European Competition throws up what could be the game of the competition so for this year with first playing second on Friday evening.

The Ospreys are eight points clear of second placed Leinster and the Dublin side will be hoping to make up some ground when they travel to St Helens on Friday night.

Last week the Ospreys were not their usual convincing selves when they edged past the Borders and will be looking to move back into top gear before they face European opposition. However Leinster seem to be coming good at the right time with both Denis Hickie and Gordon D Arcy in fine form during their 20 minute cameos against Edinburgh last Sunday. This could be a real nail bitter and if Leinster can inflict the first defeat of the season on the Ospreys the race for the league will again be thrown wide open.

The third placed Dragons are also in action of Friday facing a trip to the Borders. They will be on their guard against a Borders side who are constantly improving, narrowly missing out to Connacht two weeks ago and then shaking the Ospreys last weekend. The Dragons will have taken much satisfaction from their away win in Belfast last week and should have enough to keep up their challenge at the top.

Over the last few season s Connacht have always looked like they would be a threat in the league if they could only string a set of results together - and with Edinburgh Rugby travelling west on Saturday Michael Bradley may feel this is the time for his side to start to achieve. Successive wins over Edinburgh and the Scarlets leaves them in fourth place and they must fancy their chances against an Edinburgh side that has only one vicory under its belt this season and who haven t won away since last April.

Saturday also sees The Blues travel to Munster with the Cardiff side looking for their first win on the road since last March. Munster as you would expect just before the Heineken Cup campaign gets underway - have hit a rich vein of form in the last couple of weeks with Ronan O Gara, their hero in the win at Glasgow, looking to be getting back to his best. In contrast the Blues have been less convincing in recent weeks and a win at Thomond Park for the visitors would be something of an upset.

This time last season Ulster were riding high they were on their way to the top of the league and were through to the semi finals of the Cup. In contrast this season they have slumped to eighth and have had their fortress Ravenhill de-constructed brick by brick. They will travel to Glasgow on Saturday evening looking to rebuild some confidence and relying on their away form which has seen them win at Connacht and Edinburgh this term. Glasgow who have lost their last three after a promising start - will however be looking for the win that will lift them above Ulster in the table.

MUNSTER v CARDIFF BLUES

Thomond Park, 5.15pm live on Setanta Ireland/S4C

Munster have beaten Llanelli Scarlets and Glasgow Rugby in successive weeks and have won seven of their last eight in all competitions at Thomond Park the loss being 6-16 to the Dragons in March.

Cardiff Blues will be rested after their bye week but they have not won away from home in their last six matches since a 22-18 victory over Leinster at Donnybrook on 5 March. The Blues have not lost in their last three visits to Ireland.

Both clashes last year resulted in heavy wins for the home team with Munster victorious 31-10 at Musgrave Park and the Blues gaining revenge 60-14 at the Arms Park.

Click Here for Munster Team to face Cardiff.

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Team
Pld
W
D
L
Pts
1Ospreys870130
2Ulster Rugby861130
3Munster Rugby860228
4Glasgow Warriors860227
5Connacht Rugby851223
6Scarlets842222
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