So here we go into a tough set of Champions Cup games and the lottery of Challenge Cup games.
So how did I do in round 1?
7 out of the 10 for the Champions Cup isn’t bad especially as I got one wrong due to a brain fade. 6 out of 10 for the Challenge Cup that is proving to be a bit of a lottery depending on if 2nd, 3rd of 4th string side is put out.
European Rugby Champions Cup 2014-2015 Round 2 Predictions
First up I have too many away wins. There is a good chance I have got this totally wrong after hearing the Egg Chasers going for nearly all home wins.
Munster v Saracens
Going away to Munster used to be a lost cause but times have changed. Whilst Munster are still a side that know how to win, just look at their comeback against Sale last week, they are not the side of old. Saracens on the other hand are a side on the up getting one step further in Europe each season and as Brad Barritt said on Brian Moores radio show the performance against Clermont was the first time this season they had clicked. Saracens to take a close one.
Ulster v Toulon
Ulster have injury issues in their second row and their line out didn’t function against Tigers. With Ulster also missing Ruan Pianaar they are not at their best and so I see Toulon getting a valuable away win.
Bath v Toulouse
I know that Bath are a different side away from home but after their defeat in Glasgow and the side they selected do they really care about this competition? Getting top 4 in the Premiership is more important to them and they are a team still in the early days of their development. So I think with players being rested and Toulouse performances improving as players come back I’m going for another away win.
Northampton Saints v Ospreys
Saints will be kicking themselves about the result last week and wanting to make amends. Ospreys did get a good result but it was at home to Treviso and this week will be several levels harder. So I’m going for my first home win and I think it will be quiet comfortable.
Northampton Saints win
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors
This is a real hard one, traveling to France is not easy and Scottish sides don’t have a good history in Europe. But I think that there are good things happening up north and Glasgow will have real aspirations in this competition. Montpellier are going well this season even if they did lose to Toulouse last week and French teams are very much different animals at home than away. So even though I have gone for the away win this is one that I’m not sure of.
Glasgow Warriors win
Scarlets v Leicester Tigers
Scarlets did put in a good performance against Toulon but Toulon were always in control of the score. There is a big difference between putting up a good fight and beating the top European teams so I’m going for the knowhow of Tigers to win the day.
Leicester Tigers win
Castres v Leinster
Castres are having a shocking season and backed that up with a poor performance against Quins who have hardly been setting the world alight this season. Leinster got a good comeback win against Wasps and I think will add another win to their tally as Castres look ahead to Top14 games coming up.
Clermont Auvergne v Sale Sharks
It just gets harder and harder for Sale, last week they hosted Munster and ver nearly got a famous win. This week they travel to France and play one of the favourite teams. Clearly I’m backing Clermont to open their account with this game after last weekends loss to Saracens.
Clermont Auvergne win
Wasps v Harlequins
Wasps at home have caused all the visiting big boys in the Premiership problems this season. How ever this isn’t the Premiership but Europe and I think that Dai Young will be resting some players for the upcoming Premiership games. This should be enough to hand the advantage to Quins who looked much better with Nick Evens on song last weekend.
Harlequins by 5
Benetton Treviso v Racing Metro 92
The easiest game to pick of the round is always Treviso for the loss. Racing should add a bonus point win to set themselves up well after two rounds.
Racing Metro 92 win
Yup that’s 2 home wins and 8 away, when put like that it’s a crazy selection.
European Rugby Challenge Cup 2014-2015 Round 2 Predictions
OK put away your form books, tear up your beginner’s guide to picking and get out your coin to toss. We are now onto the Challenge Cup. OK I haven’t done that but you might do just as well as trying to make a reasoned choice.
London Welsh v Bordeaux Begles
Both these teams lost last week and you do have to wonder how much they will care about this competition. But even so I think that Bordeaux should buck the French trend of losing away and win this one. Bordeaux have been going really well in the Top 14 whilst Welsh can’t buy a win at the moment.
Bordeaux Begles win
Grenoble v London Irish
I have a feeling that Irish are going to go a long way in this competition and if they are going to do that then they are going to need to win away. Along with that Grenoble didn’t do anything special last week when they lost away to Cardiff. So I’m going for another away win.
London Irish win
La Rochelle v Bayonne
La Rochelle clearly weren’t interested last week where as Bayonne had to come back twice to win it at the end. Maybe La Rochelle in front of their own fans a home will field a stronger side and Bayonne will rest more players for the trip. Who knows? So purely on who wanted it more last week I’m going for Bayonne.
Newport Gwent Dragons v Newcastle Falcons
Dragons did get a famous win in France last week and Falcons are coming off the back of a long losing streak. Even so I’m going to go with stereotypes and say Welsh regions are rubbish in Europe and back the Aviva Premiership side to make it 3 wins in a row.
Newcastle Falcons win
Brive v Zebre
Zebre put up a fight but still went down to the bottom side in the Top14 last week. This week they face the second from bottom side and I think they will yet again put up a gallant fight but ultimately lose.
Edinburgh v Lyon
Edinburgh surprised me last week with an away win in France and this week take on French opposition again. This time I think they will win it due to French sides resting all their players in this competition.
Rugby Rovigo v Cardiff Blues
Rovigo shipped 70 points last week away to Irish. So it’s just a question of how many Cardiff score and when they ease off, they is a clear 5 pointer to the Welsh boys.
Cardiff Blues win
Bucharest Wolves v Stade Francais
Another one that you would immediately say was going to be a cricket score and easy 5 points to Stade. But the question is what team do they take on the Bucharest jolly? Wolves “only” shipped 43 points against Newcastle and they will be at home, I still can’t see them winning but maybe the score line will be slightly respectable.
Stade Francais win
Exeter Chiefs v Connacht Rugby
I’m backing my Chiefs to bounce back from last weekends defeat and beat the Irish boys. Connacht have a reputation of getting the odd scalp here and there but not having the consistency to make a proper challenge, I’m hoping that holds true this year as well.
Exeter Chiefs win
US Oyonnax v Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester put 50 over the second from bottom team in the Top14 last week, but let’s be honest Brive didn’t want to be there. This week agains the bottom of the Top14 I think it will be harder but I still see Gloucester winning and taking a commanding lead in their group.
Gloucester Rugby win