The domestic leagues take a back seat as we return to European action. With a lot of sides knowing if they are out already we could see some really weakened teams being selected. Here are my round 5 predictions for the Challenge Cup.
How did your round 4 predictions go?
8 from 10, not a bad return.
Here’s my 60 second predictions, read below for my full reasoning.
Bayonne v La Rochelle
Bayonne have lost all their games and so clearly see this competition as nothing more than a distraction. La Rochelle are having a great season in the Top 14 and are going well in this as they challenge Gloucester for the pool. So away win here.
La Rochelle by 5
Benetton Treviso v Gloucester Rugby
Treviso have surprisingly picked up a couple of wins in this competition. They were against Bayonne though and they should lose their remaining 2 games. This will be a TBP away win.
Gloucester Rugby by 15
Grenoble v Newcastle Falcons
Grenoble are another side that have lost all their games and clearly see this as a distraction from Top 14 survival. Falcons have either lost big or won big in this competition but they are in good form at the moment and should pick up another win here.
Newcastle Falcons by 7
Ospreys v Lyon
Lyon are having a decent season mainly backed by their home from. Ospreys are having a great season having won all their games with TBPs in this competition and topping the Guinness Pro12. So at home this should be another TBP win for the Welshmen.
Ospreys by 20
Brive v Worcester Warriors
After slipping up against Dragons, Brive have won all their games in this competition and now top the group. Warriors have used this competition to rest players and unless they are going to look to try and build some form I think they will do that again. This should be a relatively comfortable home win.
Brive by 10
Newport Gwent Dragons v Enisei-STM
Dragons lost by 20 points to Enisei earlier in this competition. However the long trip is on the other foot now. Enisei have yet to win an away game in this competition and so I’m expecting a big reversal and a home win.
Newport Gwent Dragons by 10
Bristol v Bath
I didn’t think much of this game until plenty of folks called it out as a big game on #RugbyChat. It is a local derby that has been missing for quite a few years as Bristol battled their way back into the Premiership. Bristol are in good form and used this competition to play into form before Christmas and revive their season. Bath aren’t in the best of form at the moment and so I think it will depend who they pick. Bath have the squad to win this so I’m backing them but they might not pick the side to do so.
Bath by 5
Pau v Cardiff Blues
Pau are another Top 14 side that’s lost all their games and more worried about domestic matters. Another away win here.
Cardiff Blues by 7
Harlequins v Edinburgh
For me this is the tie of the round. Edinburgh surprised us all by beating Quins in round 2 of this competition and if they want to win the group will need to do so again. Quins do take this competition more seriously than other sides and will be out for revenge. That and Quins great home record this season means I’m backing the home side.
Harlequins by 10
Timișoara Saracens v Stade Francais
Saracens are out of their depth in this competition and have lost all their games by at least 27 points. This is a TBP away win for Stade.
Stade Francais by 20
Join the #RugbyChat on twitter for an hour of discussion about the action this weekend. If you can’t make the hour then you can still give your view as the conversation keeps going over the following day.
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