Last week all the postponed European games were caught up on and so we are back to normal with a full weekend of fixtures. Here are my Challenge Cup predictions.
Edinburgh v Agen
There are several easy picks this weekend as some teams already can’t quality for the quarter finals. This is one of those with Agen on only 2 points from their four games. They are going to rest players and this should be an easy win for the Scotts.
Edinburgh by 15
Newport Gwent Dragons v Castres
This one does count but do Castres really want to go through? For Dragons this is the only thing they have left this season to go for and I expect them to fully commit to it. Dragons only loss so far was away to Castres and I’m fully expecting them to avenge that loss at home.
Newport Gwent Dragons by 10
Section Paloise v Sale Sharks
Pau have no points and this is a realistic way for Sharks to get into the Champions Cup. Sharks though have been resting players in this competition and that’s the only variable that could through a spanner in the works. I fully expect a B side from Pau and Sale to pick up the win still.
Sale Sharks by 15
Enisei-STM v Newcastle Falcons
Due to the time of the year and the weather this game is being played in Sochi in the south of Russia on the coast of the Black Sea. Not a 5,000 km drive away in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Obviously the weather will be much milder but also the travel should be much easier than Connacht endured. With all that I’m mind I’m expecting a big win for Falcons.
Newcastle Falcons by 30
Calvisano v Montpellier
Calvisano have lost all their games with the smallest winning margin being 40 points. Perhaps I’m being charitable only going for 40 points.
Montpellier by 40
Gloucester Rugby v La Rochelle
Gloucester are walking this pool and La Rochelle are already out of this competition. Already it’s looking like this is Gloucester’s best chance to get into the Champions Cup and so I think you will see that reflected in the sides both teams put out.
Gloucester Rugby by 15
Worcester Warriors v Zebre
Both these teams are effectually out of the running for qualification and so it could easily be a reserves game. That doesn’t mean it won’t be fiercely fought as it gives players a chance to make a case for themselves. I’m going with the home side, as all Zebre’s wins this season have come in Italy.
Worcester Warriors by 7
London Irish v Grenoble
This game really does count as Irish and Edinburgh are both only 2 points behind Grenoble in this pool. Irish have Agen next and so should be able to pick up a win there. Irish have also managed two wins out of their last three Premiership games and so are showing some form. Grenoble are sitting just above the relegation zone in the Top14 and so I’m expecting a depleted squad even though they could top the group.
London Irish by 7
Brive v Connacht Rugby
Another game that really matters, Brive are chasing a playoff spot in the Top14 and Connacht are doing the same in the Pro12. So two teams that are going well this season on both fronts. I’m backing the home side in this one as French teams do better at home and Connacht have a long list fin injuries that have hit their form recently.
Brive by 5
Harlequins v Cardiff Blues
Quins are going great guns this season both domestically and here where they have four TBP wins so far. Blues have been much more up and down, scoring points but also giving away plenty too. I can’t see them stopping the Londoners rampant attack and this should be a fairly comfortable home win.
Harlequins by 15
6 Nations Prediction League
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