Guinness PRO14 rugby returns with a bang after a week absent of captivating Championship action, as each of the 12 contesting teams continue their bid for glory while the Conference tables gradually take shape.
With none of the sides involved in the previous weekend’s European finale, each will have benefited from the chance to rest and regroup, although the first instalment of the Guinness Six Nations’ return presents a challenge to teams from Ireland and Italy.
While there is still a long way to go in the 2020/21 season and no team can be written off at this stage, don’t expect any drama to be missing from Round 3, with four teams looking to extend their 100 per cent records, and another four looking to get off the mark.
Triple-defending champions Leinster are looking to extend their 21-match winning streak in the Guinness PRO14 against Zebre, while last season’s Conference B table-toppers Edinburgh are searching for their first win at home to 2015/16 champions Connacht. L
Ulster v Dragons – Match Preview
Keen to go one better than their Guinness PRO14 exploits last time out and claim the coveted trophy for the first time in 15 years, Ulster have hit the ground running so far and will be looking to extend an unbeaten record at the Kingspan that stretches back to October 2018.
While Dan McFarland’s side have two wins from two in 2020/21, Dragons are searching for successive Championship wins for the first time since November 2016, having beaten Zebre 26-18 in Round 2.
And although Dean Ryan’s side were among the most improved sides throughout 2019/20, they have won just one match on the road since the start of last season, and haven’t beaten Ulster in Belfast for over 12 years.
At Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, 3pm
Referee: Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR, 3rd competition game)
Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher, Chris Busby (both IRFU)
TMO: Olly Hodges (IRFU)
Overall Guinness PRO14 head to head record:
Played 32, Ulster won 20, Dragons won 10, with 2 games drawn.
Did you know?
- Over the last five seasons Ulster Rugby have lost just one game in the opening three rounds of the Guinness PRO14, against Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in Round two in 2019.
- The Ulstermen have not lost at Kingspan Stadium in any tournament since Connacht were the visitors in the Championship over two years ago in October 2018.
- Dragons beat Zebre 26-18 at Rodney Parade in Round 2 of the Guinness PRO14 but have not won successive Championship matches since November 2016.
- Since the start of last season, Dragons have won just once on the road in the Guinness PRO14: 52-8 on a trip to Zebre last October.
- Dragons most recent victory over Ulster was 26-22 at Rodney Parade in March 2016, whilst the Welshman’s have not been successful in Belfast since a 16-14 win in September 2008.