Here we go with the second round of back to back games in the Challenge Cup, can any of the teams turn things around? Here are my predictions.
How did your round 3 predictions go?
6 from 10, a poor weekend even if there were several upsets.
Gloucester Rugby v Worcester Warriors
Gloucester are 3 wins from 3 games in this competition and know that this is possibly their best chance at making the Champions cup next season. Warriors started well this season but survival in the Premiership is their only goal. Gloucester won last weekend by 12 at Worcester and so I’m going slightly higher for the return fixture.
Gloucester Rugby by 15
Montpellier v Cardiff Blues
Montpellier lost a high scoring game in Cardiff but did manage to come away with the LBP so they are still in with a shout. Cardiff started the season poorly but have improved over the last couple of weeks. The old cliché applies here though and going to France is a different prospect so i’m expect a reversal of last weekends result.
Montpellier by 5
Edinburgh v London Irish
Pool 5 is very competitive with 3 teams picking up 2 wins. Edinburgh stumbled at Irish last weekend and will need to reverse the result to still have a chance of getting out of the pool. Irish have been going ok in this tournament after not picking up any points in the Premiership so far. Whilst they had that moral boosting win I think they will rest players for the Premiership and the Scots will gain revenge.
Edinburgh by 3
Grenoble v Agen
I went with the French cliché about backing the home team last week and Grenoble got a good win over a struggling Agen side. Now with no chance of getting out of the group I can only see Agen taking it less seriously and losing again.
Grenoble by 15
Sale Sharks v Castres
Sharks impressed with an away win in France last weekend. Both these sides are in a similar position domestically so this is an opportunity to get into the Champions Cup next year. How ever I see no reason why Sale shouldn’t go back to back making that return game against Dragons in the new year all important.
Sale Sharks by 10
Brive v Enisei-STM
Brive will be smarting from a massive upset of losing to the Russian side last weekend. I’m expecting a reaction to that and a comfortable home win for the French side that sit 5th in the Top14 table.
Brive by 15
Harlequins v Calvisano
Quins are having a very good season when you consider how they have rejuvenated themselves over the summer. They won by 40 points in Italy and they should go even better at home, so a TBP before halftime as they hammer the second tier Italian side.
Harlequins by 45
Zebre v La Rochelle
La Rochelle picked up the TBP as they put away Zebre at home. Zebre have been the better Italian side, which isn’t saying much. But put that with La Rochelle probably resting players and the French traveling cliché and maybe the away win is a risky pick. I’m still going to go for it but I’m expecting a narrow margin.
La Rochelle by 3
Section Paloise v Newport Gwent Dragons
Dragons are in a good vein of form at the moment with a win over Munster heading into Europe backup with another win. They travel to France with a real chance of progressing out of this pool if they pick up another win. For Pau this is a total distraction from trying to survive in the Top14 so I’m going to a Welsh win but not by much.
Newport Gwent Dragons by 5
Newcastle Falcons v Connacht Rugby
Connacht are 3 from 3 and going well in the Pro12 whilst their opponents are unlikely to top the group and struggling in the Premiership. I think that Falcons will rest a bunch of players knowing that the christmas period could be important in their relegation battle. Connacht are struggling with injuries and so probably can’t rest players, even so I think there is more in the game for the Irish and so away win.
Connacht Rugby by 7
What do you think of my predictions? Please give me your views below.