This weekend’s predictions!

Date published: April 24 2015

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It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions.

Northern hemisphere teams are back to the domestic grind this weekend as the Premiership, PRO12 and Top 14 enter what are fascinating run-ins, with the battle for the top four places in the former two competitions incredibly tight while the top six is also a scrap in France.

Meanwhile, south of the equator it is Round 11 in Super Rugby and there are seven games, with Saturday seeing the Blues go to the Crusaders in a New Zealand derby before the 'Tahs host the Rebels and then it's two South African showdowns. Sunday sees the Reds face the Hurricanes.

So without further ado, let's get stuck into the betting options made available by Paddy Power as the race for glory cranks up another gear.

PRO12

Ulster v Leinster

What a game to kick-off the PRO12 weekend as third plays fifth at Ravenhill, with the Ulstermen given a -4 on the handicap against Leinster.

Over 35.5 points being scored in the game is surely there for the taking while we also wonder what that Champions Cup game has taken out of Leinster, who know it's now or never in terms of making the top four. To win by 1-5 points, Matt O'Connor's men have been priced up at 4/1.

On the try scoring front the safest options are Tommy Bowe and Craig Gilroy, who are both 17/2 while Rob Kearney is 13/2 for a try anytime.

Other Superbru predictions

Connacht vs Glasgow: Glasgow by 8
Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys: Ospreys by 10
Munster vs Treviso: Munster by 26
Dragons vs Scarlets: Dragons by 2

Super Rugby

Crusaders v Blues

A Blues XV without Patrick Tuipulotu, Jerome Kaino and Charlie Piutau up against a Crusaders side on the rebound after two straight losses surely means one winner. The home side are -9 on the handicap and should cover that and might be worth the 'to win by 13 or more' at Evens.

Nemani Nadolo to get the game's first try is worth a punt at 13/2 while on the anytime try we would advise a gamble on hooker Codie Taylor at 5/1.

Stormers v Bulls

The hosts will be keen to secure the double over the Bulls after that win earlier in the season but might not have things their own way.

We like the look of this Bulls line-up and with Jan Serfontein back, he is worth a look for an anytime try at 16/5, as is 'no try' (22/1) as a back-up.

We don't expect much to separate these two in Cape Town and the half-time market of the Bulls leading by 1-7 points at 13/5 catches the eye.

Other Superbru predictions

Waratahs vs Rebels: Waratahs by 10
Lions vs Cheetahs: Lions by 8
Reds vs Hurricanes: Hurricanes by 12

Premiership

Bath v London Irish

Bath are still eyeing the play-offs and a home semi-final on Friday, while Irish travel to the Rec playing for pride alone. They are unsurprisingly 15/2 outsiders but previous fixtures between these two often throw up an odd result.

Sam Burgess is now a blindside flanker rather than a centre but look out for him as an anytime try scorer at 16/5. An Anthony Watson double against his old club at 5/1 is also worth considering.

Other Superbru predictions

Sale v Harlequins: Sale by 6
Leicester v London Welsh: Leicester by 35
Gloucester v Newcastle: Gloucester by 5
Northampton v Saracens: Saracens by 3
Wasps v Exeter: Wasps by 6

Top 14

Stade Français v Toulouse

Third plays fifth with only four points separating these two in the league table as the race for the playoffs hots up.

Toulouse have suffered from inconsistent form all season but are starting to peak just at the right time, while Stade and their talented fly-half Jules Plisson have been there or thereabouts at the top all season long.

We fancy the hosts to start fast with a try to open the scoring (5/1) and given how Toulouse have travelled, it might be worth looking at the Paris side to win by 13 or more at 9/4.

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