This weekend’s predictions!

Date published: May 8 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.

We have got Premiership, Super Rugby, Top 14 and PRO12 on the schedule this weekend as the season run-ins add something extra to matters.

Paddy Power has the punters covered with a wealth of odds on the table so let's get stuck in and take you through where we think the money is.


Premiership

Harlequins v Bath

Bath travel to the Stoop looking to secure second spot and a home semi-final in the upcoming Premiership play-offs, but they will have a tough challenge against Harlequins who will be looking to give long-time players George Robson and Ugo Monye the perfect send-off in their final home games for the club.

Bath will be at full-strength with Francois Louw captaining the side and George Ford slotted in at fly-half, making the Premiership contenders 4/9 favourites to a 7/4 Harlequins.

Having been hot or cold all season, Harlequins' defence might stop Bath or open the gates, hence the total tries being under 4.5 priced at 13/8. Look out for England star Jonathan Joseph as a first try-scorer at 11/1, while Monye who no doubt will be pumped up for the home side is 14/1. Bath's attacking options are so strong in fact that they are 5/4 to score a try bonus point. This should be a thrilling start to Round 21 and we expect Bath to win by 6-10 points at 4/1!

Other SuperBru predictions:

Sale v Newcastle: Sale by 9
Gloucester v Irish: Gloucester by 12
Wasps v Leicester: Wasps by 5
Northampton v London Welsh: Saints by 25
Saracens v Exeter: Saracens by 6


Super Rugby

Hurricanes v Sharks

It's a ten-point handicap in Wellington for this one and even minus Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara, we expect the Hurricanes to beat that. The Sharks, while strong in their set-piece, could struggle to live with the hosts' qualities with ball in hand this Saturday.

Nehe Milner-Skudder and Matt Proctor look like decent anytime try-scorer bets at 7/5 and 13/10 respectively while on the other side, Marcell Coetzee to be the Sharks first try-scorer is an eye-opening 11/1. Or should you fancy the maul maestro anytime, you can pick him up at 4/1.

Lions v Highlanders

Paddy Power cannot separate these two in-form sides and we don't blame them. Call this one at your peril as both are impressing this season.

Ruan Combrinck has been excellent for the Lions so far and watch out for Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies coming off the bench in the second half, with the Highlanders half-time/Lions full-time bet worth at look at 13/2. In contrast the Lions to sneak the win by 1-5 points is 4/1.

If it opens up – we expect it to at some point – then someone like Malakai Fekitoa (16/5) to cross is good. Nasi Manu also tempts us at 11/2.

Other Super Rugby predictions:

Western Force v Waratahs: Waratahs by 10
Stormers v Brumbies: Stormers by 6


Top 14

Toulon v Castres

The finalists of the last two Top 14 finals meet at Mayol, with the visitors desperately trying to beat the drop. Castres are currently just outside the relegation places but are level on points with 13th-placed Bayonne.

While they come into this game on good form, they have more than half an eye on next week's clash with fellow strugglers Brive. As a result, it will be a mixed team that heads to the European champions. Toulon, who will present their Champions Cup to their home fans, will be out to put on a show, so expect them to beat the -11 handicap and move closer to a semi-final spot.

Racing-Métro v Stade Français

Sunday's Parisian derby will be a tense affair, with the winner assured of a play-off spot, while the loser will be under pressure in the season's final fortnight.

While Colombes is not the most intimidating ground, Stade will have their work cut out, most notably because of the absence of Jules Plisson, their fly-half who was ruled out for the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder. In his place will be Morné Steyn, but given his performances so far in Paris, it's hard to place much faith in Stade.

While Racing are not in great form, having lost to Oyonnax last time out, and drawn at home to Montpellier a fortnight earlier, they look a more complete team, and could have too much power for Stade. With that in mind, the hosts will probably have too much for a stalling Stade side, and should overcome the -8 handicap.

Other Super Rugby predictions:

Bordeaux-Bègles v Oyonnax: Bordeaux-Bègles by 7
Lyon v La Rochelle: La Rochelle by 3
Montpellier v Bayonne: Montpellier by 7
Toulouse v Brive: Toulouse by 4
Grenoble v Clermont: Grenoble by 5


PRO12 

Ulster v Munster

Ospreys v Glasgow and Ulster v Munster dominate the PRO12 headlines pre-match and we focus on the match at Ravenhill here.

Both are pushing hard for a home semi-final and the hosts have been given a three-point start on the handicap by the bookmakers. That's fair in our eyes as they just about have the edge but Munster look strong up front this week with the return of Paul O'Connell.

Tommy Bowe to score first is always worth a go, as is a look at CJ Stander's price. For the anytime, let's go for Iain Henderson.

Dragons vs Edinburgh: Edinburgh by 9
Ospreys vs Glasgow: Glasgow by 2
Leinster vs Treviso: Leinster by 30
Ulster vs Munster: Ulster by 5
Zebre vs Connacht: Connacht by 15
Scarlets vs Cardiff Blues: Scarlets by 4

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