This weekend’s predictions

Date published: August 21 2015

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

There is plenty on the schedule this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the betting public to enjoy as internationals, the ITM Cup and Currie Cup is joined by a new season of Top 14 action.

We use Paddy Power's rugby odds to pick out what we feel could come good.

Internationals

France v England

England will travel to Paris full of confidence after the return of several first-team players to their squad and after last weekend's win over France. What's more, they have a good record at the Stade de France, winning on three of their last five visits, while their most recent clash there against France saw them lose at the death 26-24. France desperately need a win and have recalled their big guns too – look out for Wesley Fofana as the first try scorer at 11/1 while Jonny May, who sparkled last week, is 10/1. Louis Picamoles showed what he can offer in the loose on his return at Twickenham and should be considered as an anytime scorer at 3/1. We expect England to edge this by around three to four points.

Italy v Scotland

It is the Azzurri's first hit-out and while Scotland have made eleven changes, they have enjoyed a match together as a squad against Ireland. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Duncan Weir will hope to keep a high tempo in Turin in a fixture that has been settled by three points or less in their most recent three meetings. But with an impressive bench, Italy (6/5) will fancy their chances late on if they are within touching distance. Let's back the hosts.

Top 14

Toulon vs Racing Metro: Toulon by 5
La Rochelle vs Clermont: La Rochelle by 3
Bordeaux Begles vs Castres: Bordeaux by 6
Toulouse vs Brive: Toulouse by 10
Montpellier vs Oyonnax: Montpellier by 10
Grenoble vs Agen: Grenoble by 8
Stade Francais vs Pau: Stade Francais by 12

ITM Cup

The bet that stands out for us this weekend is Hawke's Bay (-6) to get the better of Otago. Despite being on the road, the Magpies will enter Forsyth Barr Stadium confident of getting the job done with backs such as Israel Dagg, Ihaia West, Richard Buckman and Zac Guildford involved. Otago were beaten at home last week by Canterbury and we fancy a repeat on Saturday, with Hawke's Bay looking solid enough against Northland.

Currie Cup

Sharks v Golden Lions

Last year's beaten finalists rightly enter this game as favourites and we're not afraid to back the visitors to beat the 4 point handicap. Despite not having Harold Vorster for the rest of the campaign, it is a mark of their depth that Stokkies Hanekom starts in his place and Alwyn Hollenbach comes onto the bench. The Sharks beat the Kings last week but it wasn't pretty and in the Lions they will find an opponent with too much class.

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