Predictions: Champions Cup, Challenge Cup

Date published: October 21 2016

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Europe’s premier competitions reach Round Two this weekend with the continuation of Champions Cup and Challenge Cup pool fixtures.

It all starts with Sale facing Toulon on Friday, with the final game taking place on Sunday between Leicester and Racing 92, with plenty in between.

Let’s see who will come out on top.

CHAMPIONS CUP

First things first, make sure you sign up for our excellent Champions Cup Fantasy game with our friends over at SuperBru. It should be a lot of fun.

Saracens v Scarlets

Saracens are definitely picking up momentum going into the second round of the Champions Cup. They were able to beat French giants Toulon at home and did so fairly convincingly with three tries to two. The current title-holders have also got a powerful team especially in the forwards with the likes of the ever-industrious Maro Itoje and the experience of South African international Schalk Burger.

Scarlets aren’t having a bad start to their campaign either after doing away with Sale Sharks in Llanelli. The Welsh side won 28-11, with most of their points scored through the boot of Rhys Patchell and after a disappointing start to the PRO12 they will be enthused by their Champions Cup success.

Scarlets should be eager to claim another English scalp, but the sheer might of the Saracens pack and electric backline means it should be one way traffic at Allianz Park. Saracens by 15.

Toulouse v Wasps

Wasps should be brimming with confidence after putting Zebre to the sword last weekend. The English side battered the poor Italians 82-14, scoring 12 tries in the process. And who wouldn’t have expected a blow out considering how bountiful talent is at Wasps at the moment. The Coventry outfit being bolstered by the elusive Christian Wade on the right wing will only improve their try-scoring chances.

Toulouse are not a side to be underestimated despite their 23-21 loss to Connacht last weekend. The French side still harbours some danger men in their camp. Lethal winger Yoann Huget has yet to fire this season and the return of tackling-machine and fearless leader Thierry Dusautoir will provide a massive boost.

It should be a tight contest given the talent in each of these sides and Toulouse will feel far more settled playing at home again but the Wasps seem to be in serious form at the moment. Wasps by 8.

Leicester Tigers v Racing 92

Judging by Leicester’s previous performance, the Midlanders are in trouble after being subjected to a 42-13 clobbering at the hands of Glasgow last weekend. The English side conceded five tries and were only able to score one against Glasgow.

Racing’s game against Munster last week was postponed so the French side will be eager to use their clash against Leicester to get their tournament off to a good start. Racing will be buoyed by the news that the talismanic influence of Dan Carter returns to the side, he is joined by South African international Johan Goosen who will add an attacking edge to Racing’s attack.

The Tigers will be anxious to get back into winning ways against the French side but Racing’s star power should be too much for them, even at home. Racing by 3.

Other Champions Cup predictions:

Sale v Toulon: Toulon by 10
Munster v Glasgow: Glasgow by 5
Castres v Northampton: Castres by 5
Clermont v Bordeaux-Begles: Clermont by 15
Ulster v Exeter: Ulster by 7
Montpellier v Leinster: Montpellier by 6
Zebre v Connacht: Connacht by 12


CHALLENGE CUP

Predictions:

Cardiff Blues v Pau: Cardiff Blues by 18
Gloucester v Treviso: Gloucester by 20
Enisei-STM v Dragons: Dragons by 5
Worcester v Brive: Worcester by 8
Edinburgh v Harlequins: Harlequins by 2
Lyon v Ospreys: Ospreys by 4
Newcastle v Grenoble: Newcastle by 10

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