This weekend we catch up with the games that were postponed due to the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. Here are my predictions for the five Champions Cup and one Challenge Cup games.
European Rugby Champions Cup
I was 7 from 10 in round 4 which was OK as there were a draw included in that.
Bordeaux Begles v Clermont Auvergne
Many outside of France will see this as an easy away win. The last time Clermont visited Bordeaux they conceded 51 points to lose easily. Also a win here could put Bordeaux back into the mix for wining the group. Bordeaux have been improving over the last couple of seasons but still domestic success is their primary concern. Due to this I think that they will rest a few players and Clermont’s desire to finally come first and not second will carry them through.
Clermont Auvergne by 5
Racing Metro 92 v Glasgow Warriors
There is a feeling up in Glasgow that they have grown and are ready to have a real crack at Europe. This will be a real test of that belief as they travel to the Top 14 table toppers. Racing have spent big and that’s no more evident than have Dan Carter on the books. They will be wanting to get silverware in return for that outlay. I think that Racing’s class will be too much for Warriors to over come.
Racing Metro 92 by 7
Stade Francais v Munster
Both these sides have been struggling this year. Stade are the Top 14 champions but sit a lowly 11th this time around. They did manage a moral boosting win last weekend over Toulouse and are still in contention in Europe. Munster are out of Europe and having a mixed Pro12 campaign. I think that Stade will be more interested in climbing the Top 14 table than worrying about Europe. Munster have a reputation to protect and are smarting from their losses so I’m going for an upset away win.
Munster by 5
US Oyonnax v Ulster
Perhaps the easiest game to call this weekend. Oyonnax are struggling and a lot of that is being placed on their new 4G pitch. What ever the reason they are bottom of the Top14 table and out of this competition already. It should be an easy TBP win for Ulster as they try to maintain the chase of Saracens in the pool.
Ulster by 10
Toulon v Bath
There are some good match-ups this weekend but this is the one that I asked the #RugbyChat crowd for their opinion on. As you can see it’s a clear opinion on who is going to win this one. Toulon are trying to set history with another win and have improved from their early season poor form to sit 4th in the Top 14. Bath are struggling to find their form of last season and lost away to Flacons last weekend. All the signs are for a convincing home win but this Bath side have the talent to cause an upset, but I’m going with the signs.
Toulon by 10
European Rugby Challenge Cup
I was 8 from 10 in round 4 which is fairly good in the lottery cup.
Section Paloise v Castres
Both these teams are effectively out of the competition and both will be more concerned by domestic matters. Pau sit just above the relegation zone but with two more weeks of european competition to come there is plenty of time for rest. Pau will be looking for a physiological advantage over Castres and will want to put on a good show in front of their supporters. Casters are mid table in the Top 14 and so this game really has nothing riding on it and so I expect them to rest players and to see a home win.
Section Paloise by 5 points
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