European Rugby Champions Cup 2016-2017 Round 2 Predictions

It’s the second of the back to back games in the opening block. Here are my round 2 Champions Cup predictions.

First here is a link to my round-up of all the action from last weekend.

How did your round 1 predictions go?

6 from 9, 3 away wins that I went for didn’t come off as the Top14 had a tough Saturday.

Here are my 1 Line Predictions, read below for my full reasons.

Sale Sharks v Toulon

I’m afraid that Sale are making up the numbers in this competition having been drawn with both Saracens and Toulon. They are a challenge for anyone at home but we are talking about Toulon who have won this competition 3 out of the last 4 years. I’m fully expecting Toulon to bounce back from their loss to Saracens last weekend and open their account.

Toulon by 10

Munster v Glasgow Warriors

Munster’s game was called off last weekend after the tragic news that Anthony Foley had passed away the night before the game. With that in mind we aren’t sure that the game will go ahead but I’m expecting it to. It’s totally going to depend on where Munster’s heads are, they could be totally distracted or come out and extra motivated. I think it will be the latter and they will beat a Glasgow side who impressed last weekend with their win over Leicester.

Munster by 7

Castres v Northampton Saints

Castres registered a loss last weekend and their coach said he didn’t want to be in this competition. In front of their home fans they will be better but clearly they aren’t fully invested in this competition. Saints picked up a win but it was a poor performance and they will be looking at stepping it up as their season so far hasn’t really clicked. I think that they will be better with the confidence that last weekend should bring.

Northampton Saints by 7

Clermont Auvergne v Bordeaux Begles

Clermont are looking on of the form sides at the moment and got a good win over Exeter last weekend. Bordeaux are a very good Top14 side but I think Top14 and doing some damage in the playoffs there is their priority. They did get a good win at home over Ulster but I think they will rest players this weekend.

Clermont Auvergne by 20

Saracens v Scarlets

Saracens are on track to do every well in this tournament and really laid down a marker last weekend in Toulon. Scarlets had a good win over Sale at home but really are just making up the numbers just like Sale are in this pool. This is a home win and the only question is by how many.

Saracens by 20

Ulster v Exeter Chiefs

Ulster lost last weekend over in France and they continue to disappoint in Europe. This weekend though should be an easier prospect as Exeter really aren’t themselves this season. They haven’t clicked and Ulster isn’t the kind of place you go to find form. So this is a home win but all the sides in this pool are fighting it out to see who comes second to Clermont.

Ulster by 7

Montpellier v Leinster

I’ve chosen this one as my tie of the round. Montpellier will be really disappointed with themselves after losing away to Saints. I can’t see them putting the same level of performance not he pitch in front of their home fans. Leinster looked good with their win over Castres but did the French side really want to be there? I think at home Montpellier will muscle this 1.

Montpellier by 5

Toulouse v Wasps

We always say it’s hard travelling to France and Toulouse are the 1 French team that takes this tournament more seriously than any other. However Wasps have been looking irresistible in attack. Defensively they might give you opportunities but when they are scoring as much as they are does it matter? I think that Wasps will have too much fire power to the European aristocrats.

Wasps by 10

Zebre v Connacht Rugby

Connacht surprised us all with their victory over Toulouse and are looking much more like the side of last season than the opening 5 games of this. Zebre will be looking for payback as this game in the Pro12 was called off due to bad weather and will need to be replayed. However Zebre were 11 points clear at the time and will feel cheated of the points. It doesn’t matter though as Connacht of last season will prove too much for the home side.

Connacht Rugby by 15

Leicester Tigers v Racing Metro 92

Tigers are sitting at the right end of the Aviva Premiership but things are clearly not all well. They have sacked their defence coach and been given a real hiding by Glasgow last weekend. Racing will be nicely rested as their game against Munster was called off at the last-minute. Racing have been inconsistent and had off field issues to deal with in the form of a doping investigation. However I think their big game players will step-up and take the victory.

Racing Metro 92 by 5

This season I’m on the Rugby Warp Up expert panel for the Champions Cup, I’ll put a link to their piece here once it’s published.

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