It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s predictions.
The Six Nations takes a breather this weekend so it’s all about the Premiership, PRO12 and Top 14, with Super Rugby just seven days away.
Big games in England see Bath host Wasps and Gloucester travel to Saracens while the PRO12 has Ulster versus Scarlets and in France it’s Castres versus Clermont that catches our eye, along with Grenoble against Racing 92.
Plenty of domestic games to get our teeth into then. As always Paddy Power is our choice of bookmaker for having a bet on the rugby so here come our choices.
The back-row battle that includes Francois Louw v George Smith and Amanaki Mafi v Nathan Hughes is mouth-watering to say the least and we are keen to back both number eights to cross anytime in what should be a great match at the Recreation Ground. Odds have yet to be given.
It’s a sign of Wasps’ form that they are favourites to win at the Rec but we think Bath are decent value here at 7/5 on their home patch. It will be difficult for Wasps to replicate last week’s amazing performance against Saracens and on a very different surface to Allianz Park, we think Bath’s forwards might just have the edge on Saturday. Let’s go for a Bath win by 1-5 points, which is 11/2.
Other Premiership predictions:
Harlequins v Leicester: Leicester by 3
Saracens v Gloucester: Saracens by 5
Worcester v Sale: Sale by 8
London Irish v Exeter: Exeter by 5
Newcastle v Northampton: Newcastle by 3
It’s first against fourth in the PRO12 as Ulster fine run of form sees them host Scarlets. They’re 3/10 to win or minus 8 on the handicap.
Ulster are minus two hookers in Rory Best and Rob Herring so a lot rests on the shoulders of John Andrew who goes up against Kirby Myhill. Elsewhere there is no Nick Williams but Ulster won’t lose much in a try-scoring threat as Chris Henry likes a score. He is 11/2 anytime.
On the win margin let’s a have a punt on Ulster to take this by 6-10 points at Kingspan Stadium, which is priced at 9/2 with Paddy Power.
Other PRO12 predictions:
Treviso v Dragons: Dragons by 5
Ospreys v Edinburgh: Ospreys by 8
Glasgow v Munster: Glasgow by 12
Cardiff Blues v Leinster: Cardiff Blues by 2
Zebre v Connacht: Connacht by 5
Castres won this very fixture 31-10 last season and with Clermont on a bad run of form at the moment, we like Castres to beat the negative three handicap they have been given. Castres to win by 1-12 points is 6/4 should you fancy that or alternatively the 1-10 point win is 9/5.
It really has been a poor period for Clermont as three straight home defeats in the league and being knocked out of the Champions Cup in the pool stages will have hurt. We just can’t see them turning things around at Stade Pierre Antoine, where Castres half-time/full-time is 6/5.