This weekend's predictions!

Date published: May 31 2014

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It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions from both hemispheres.

It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions from both hemispheres.

It's Finals weekend! The best of Europe's domestic leagues go head-to-head for the PRO12, Premiership and Top 14 crowns as the season reaches its climax.

Can Glasgow Warriors spoil Brian O'Driscoll's farewell party? Will Saracens bounce back from Heineken Cup disappointment to topple Northampton? And is it finally time for Toulon to claim an historic double?

In the Northern Hemisphere, it's the biggest weekend of the season, while south of the Equator, Super Rugby throws up a spree of mouth-watering clashes: the Chiefs take on the 'Tahs, the Blues go up against the Hurricanes in a New Zealand derby, and Lions welcome the Bulls to Johannesburg.

All in all, it's the perfect time to engage in a spot of rugby betting!

Let's get started.

Premiership

Saracens v Northampton Saints: Undoubtedly the two best teams in England contest the Twickenham showpiece this weekend with Sarries rated as slight favourites by Paddy Power. We reckon the 11/8 odds on a victory for Mark McCall's men by 1-12 points is a safe-ish option, while the 1-5 margin at 4/1 is a more enticing bet. In the try-scorer markets, you can't go wrong with Chris Ashton at 15/2, but we believe Ben Foden is worth a punt to dot down first with a generous 14/1 price tag.

As for a prediction, we can't see Saracens allowing an excellent season go to waste. That's why we're backing them to lift the trophy, with victory by three points!

PRO12

Leinster v Glasgow Warriors: Leaving aside the kerfuffle over the great BOD's farewell fixture, this should be a cracking game of rugby between two teams who love to entertain. Form favours the visitors, but Dublin is a fiendishly difficult place to win – let alone in a Final – and we really don't envisage much of a margin between Saturday's competitors. Leinster are the bookies' favourites, but you can get odds of 2/1 on Glasgow – who have won their last nine games – to lift the cup. There won't be a lot in it, so a 1-5 point win for Leinster at 4/1 is a good option, or 5/1 if you back the visitors, while Tommy Seymour has been scoring for fun recently and is worth consideration for a first try bet at 12/1.

We actually reckon the Warriors will steal this one as reward for a super PRO12 season, and get over the line by two points!

Top 14

Toulon v Castres: Top of the league and reigning Heineken Cup champions, Mourad Boudjellal's millions appear to be paying dividends down in Toulon. The galacticos have come good in spectacular fashion, and though Castres are worthy adversaries, we just can't see a repeat of last year's Top 14 showpiece, where they toppled their big-spending counterparts.

Famous for power-play and ruthlessness, expect Toulon to rack up a winning margin of 11-15, returning four times your stake, and there is a very interesting option with Paddy Power whereby backing Castres NOT to score a try comes with a 14/1 price tag.

If their clinical display against Saracens is anything to go by, the Toulon pack is switched on like never before and should dominate. They'll win this one by 12 points!

Super Rugby

Chiefs v Waratahs: The Chiefs are wounded, the 'Tahs resurgent after the pair of title rivals underwent contrasting Super Rugby fortunes last weekend. At home, the Chiefs – regardless of their thrashing by the Hurricanes – remain favourites to beat anyone, and though they've trundled along in second gear for large chunks of the season to date, the results have still been good.

The 'Tahs are no pushovers, blessed with the same game-breaking attacking options as their hosts, and you could do a lot worse than backing a broad 1-12 winning margin for Michael Cheika's men at 9/4.

However, we do expect the Chiefs to bounce back in front of a home crowd, and a 1-5 winning margin at 10/3 probably represents your best bet, with a punt on Asaeli Tikoirotuma to score the game's first try at 10/1 also a good option.

We reckon the 'Tahs will come close, but we're backing the two-time reigning champions to win this one by five points!

Superbru Super Rugby predictions:

Sharks v Stormers: Although the Stormers have improved in recent weeks it won't be enough to beat their hosts. Sharks to win by six points!
Brumbies v Rebels: The Brumbies have a point to prove and with McCabe and Rathbone in tow should do enough to get past the post first in this one. Possibly without a try bonus point. Brumbies by eight!
Blues v Hurricanes: Matches between these sides in the past have produced drama and loads of tries. Saturday is unlikely to be any different. The Blues home record is a good one but will they have the same desire to get they result? Hurricanes by six!
Lions v Bulls: The Bulls should win, but it may not be as comfortable as they would like. Bulls by eight!

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