We are halfway through the European Rugby Challenge Cup group stages and 3 teams have a perfect record. Clermont, Sale and La Rochelle all have 3 TBP wins to their names, can they keep it up?
Here is my video with my European Rugby Challenge Cup Round 4 Predictions:
Agen v Grenoble – Agen by 7
This is a classic case of 2 teams with more pressing concerns in their domestic competition. Grenoble took their home leg by 7 last weekend and I fully expect Agen to restore pride in front of their home fans.
Perpignan v Connacht Rugby – Connacht Rugby by 5
Connacht heaped on the pain for Perpignan with a 12 point win. The French side are still to register a win in either the Top 14 or Challenge Cup this season. Unfortunately for Perpignan Connacht need the points so expect them to get another victory here.
Stade Francais v Ospreys – Ospreys by 7
Stade could still qualify but by their results they really don’t want to be in this competition. Sure they will be in front of their home fans and want to maintain their pride but I think the coaches are thinking of the Top 14.
Timișoara Saracens v Northampton Saints – Northampton Saints by 30
Saracens have lost all their games so far by more than 30 points so I expect Saints to continue that.
Clermont Auvergne v Dragons – Clermont Auvergne by 30
Clermont might be more interested in the Top 14 than this competition. But when you are talking about the Top 14 leaders their second string are good enough. Expect a big home win in this one.
Harlequins v Benetton Treviso – Harlequins by 5
Treviso impressed me with their win over Harlequins at home last weekend. Again though this is one where I think home advantage will be the deciding factor.
Zebre Rugby Club v Enisei-STM – Zebre Rugby Club by 20
Zebre won by 17 points last weekend and that was away. At home they should have an even bigger advantage. It appears that the gap has opened rather than narrowed over the years that Enisei have been in this competition.
Worcester Warriors v Pau – Worcester Warriors by 7
Pau have had 2 good results at home and a 15 point win is a big margin to turnaround. I’m backing that Pau are going to stick to the French stereotype of not traveling well. More to the point I expect them to rest a lot of starting players.
Sale Sharks v Bordeaux Begles – Sale Sharks by 15
Sale are having a fantastic time in this competition and a 26 point win over Bordeaux in France is impressive. I think that Bordeaux will want to restore some injured pride but that will just be about narrowing the margin of the loss.
La Rochelle v Bristol – La Rochelle by 20
La Rochelle are another team going great in this competition. Bristol have managed to trouble people at home but that didn’t stop this French side. Away from Bristol have shipped some points so this one could get messy and I’m expecting a TBP home win.
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