The group stages are coming to a close and four of the groups are still up for grabs, the combination of results for the three best second places is just mind boggling. Here are my predictions for round 6 of the Champions Cup.
First here’s a link to my review of the round 5 action.
How did last week’s predictions go?
8 out of 10, I didn’t foresee the resurgence of two English former winners.
Wasps v Leinster
I found this to be one of two that was really hard to pick. Wasps have been on a roll recently and have settled into their new home well. Leinster though are European aristocracy and I think that they will just have too much know how in the end.
Castres v Harlequins
Castres have been poor this season, not just in the Champions Cup but also Top14 where they are second from bottom. Even though they won’t want to lose in front of their home crowd there are more important battles to come. Quins will face a second string Castres side and should come away with a comfortable win.
Northampton Saints v Racing Metro 92
Saints were really disappointed with the result when they played Metro away and will be looking rectify that. Racing are the only unbeaten side in the competition and clearly will be looking to continue that record. This will be one of the games of the round and I’m going for a home win.
Benetton Treviso v Ospreys
This is one that will not be a game of the round. Treviso are the only side not to have any bonus points and have a points difference of -187. The only question is what team will Ospreys send over to Italy as both sides are out? It should be a big win for Ospreys but might be closer than expected as both sides rest players.
Scarlets v Toulon
Scarlets can’t qualify, but as they are also very unlikely to do anything in the Pro12, shouldn’t all the players be asking to play? This is the kind of game that you want to test yourself in. Toulon have won it for the last two years and should win this game but hopefully that will bring the best out of Scarlets.
Ulster v Leicester Tigers
Ulster have been very disappointing in this competition. Clearly there is a lot of pride to play for but being on the fringe of the Pro12 playoffs means I expect players to be rested. Tigers are getting back to their best with players returning from injury and their poor early season form is a distant memory. This should be a Tigers win but it might not be enough to qualify and if they think about the TBP too early they could trip up.
Bath v Glasgow Warriors
Bath had a rude awakening in this competition but since then they have fought back. As Bath learnt early on Glasgow are the best team in the Pro12. This time though it’s at The Rec where Bath have looked extremely good. I think that this will be a trip too far for the Scotsmen.
Montpellier v Toulouse
Montpellier have had a poor competition which has not been helped by off field issues. This should be easy to call as an away win, the only thing that’s nagging in the back of my mind is local pride. Being an all French game that could influence the outcome but I think Toulouse will want this so much more and Montpellier should rest players.
Munster v Sale Sharks
Sharks gave a good account of themselves last weekend even though they couldn’t qualify. This one is now doesn’t matter and is all about pride. I’m going for a home win as Munster didn’t make the semifinals of the last two years by accident. The only thing is will Joe Schmidt have been on the phone asking for players to be rested with the 6 Nations coming up?
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens
This is the second one that I found really hard to call. I’m going for the upset here and backing an away win. In a lot of ways that’s a counter intuitive call, Clermont have an amazing home record. Their fantastic 77 game home wining run was only ended in May last year by Castres and this season they have only lost once at home and that was back in August. So this should be a home win, however Saracens have won the last two meetings of these sides. So yes it’s a big call but I’m saying away win.