It feels like an age since we were talking about the European competitions! The group stages finished back in mid-January and some fans will have forgotten that their teams were even still in this competition. Fans will at least be familiar with their opposition. The only game that’s not a re-match of the group stages sees 2 Gallagher Premiership sides go head to head.
Here is my video with my European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Final Predictions:
Sale Sharks v Connacht Rugby – Sale Sharks by 5
As I said all the teams have played each other already this season. The group stage games went with the home sides. First up Sale Sharks 34-13 Connacht Rugby then Connacht Rugby 20-18 Sale Sharks in the return fixture. With Sale safe from relegation you’d think they’d give this a real shot and so I’m going with the home win again.
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins – Harlequins by 3
These are the 2 sides that have not met in the Challenge Cup yet. Their 2 games in the premiership have ended Worcester Warriors 20 – 13 Harlequins and Harlequins 47 – 33 Worcester Warriors. A thing to remember though is that this is not the Premiership. Worcester will be much more interested in Premiership points than getting to the next stage here. I expect them to rest players and that gives Quins the advantage.
La Rochelle v Bristol – La Rochelle by 5
These games in the group stages were funny with the away team winning both times! The results were Bristol 22 – 35 La Rochelle and La Rochelle 3 – 13 Bristol. From memory that was Bristols first away win all season. I can’t see that happening again as I think Bristol will be thinking about making sure they don’t slip into relegation. So I’m backing the home side.
Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints – Clermont Auvergne by 7
The only matchup where both previous games were won by the same side is this last one. The French side won Northampton Saints 20 – 41 Clermont Auvergne and Clermont Auvergne 48 – 40 Northampton Saints. Saints have improved as we can see by that second result and it has the trappings of a high scoring game. However I think the home side just have too much class which is why they are flying high in the Top 14.
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