Planet Rugby

This weekend's predictions!

17th January 2014 09:01

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James Coughlan of Munster Heineken Cup v Gloucester

Reaching climax: Pool stages

It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with our predictions.

The final round of Heineken Cup pool fixtures is upon us, with places in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals up for grabs as well as the top tier knockout stages.

That means there are opportunities aplenty to bag some coin; as always, Paddy Power is where you should be heading.

Let's get started.

Leinster v Ospreys: Leinster are heavy favourites to top the pool with a win over the Ospreys at the RDS on Friday. Though the Welshmen's record against the Dubliners is better than most, it should be a straightforward victory for Matt O'Connor's men. A margin of 11-20 points at 9/4 is probably your best bet, and with Paddy Power refunding losing first scorer bets if the last conversion is missed, it's worth dabbling in that market too. Luke Fitzgerald tops the pile at 8/1, but Sean Cronin is also a tempting option at 16/1. We don't expect a surprise in this one, tipping Leinster to claim the spoils by about 14 points.

Glasgow Warriors v Toulon: Toulon are safely into the quarters, but will have to ensure they do a professional job against Gregor Townsend's charges, who will be fired up to finish their disappointing Heineken Cup campaign strongly. The Top 14 giants demolished Glasgow at Felix-Mayol in Round 1, but away from home and with less at stake, the hosts will back themselves to cause an upset. A handicap of -7 for the visitors looks fair at 10/11, but with Toulon capable of a typically French display of indifference, it's worth laying a few quid on the Warriors at 12/5. The champions should emerge on top, and by about 8 points in our book.

Leicester Tigers v Ulster: The big one this weekend comes from Welford Road as the Tigers look to gain revenge for their Ravenhill defeat by claiming a win that would see them top the Pool. That Round 1 result said a lot about this group as Leicester were happy to take the losing bonus-point when the clock hit 80 minutes, so there was always a feeling this could go down to the wire. We expect nothing different on Saturday, with winning margins of 1-5 for either side not to be sniffed at. However, for a safer bet we feel that Ulster +3 on the handicap is the way to go as they thrive on a big away challenge and few come bigger than this venue. When the exact winning margin appears on Paddy Power, why not cover yourself with on Ulster by 3; one less than our prediction of Ulster by 2.

Other SuperBru Heineken Cup predictions:

Northampton Saints v Castres: Saints by 12
Saracens v Connacht: Saracens by 10
Zebre v Toulouse: Toulouse by 14
Cardiff Blues v Exeter Chiefs: Blues by 7
Montpellier v Treviso: Montpellier by 12
Perpignan v Gloucester: Perpignan by 8
Munster v Edinburgh: Munster by 10
Scarlets v Harlequins: Quins by 4
Clermont v Racing: Clermont by 13

Good luck!

  • Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
  • Rugby Champions Cup Table
Pool 1
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Leinster622
2Northampton617
3Castres69
4Ospreys65
Pool 2
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulon624
2Cardiff Blues614
3Exeter612
4Glasgow Warriors611
Pool 3
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Toulouse623
2Saracens620
3Connacht613
4Zebre60
Pool 4
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Clermont Auvergne624
2Harlequins616
3Scarlets611
4Racing Metro Paris67
Pool 5
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ulster626
2Leicester Tigers621
3Montpellier611
4Treviso60
Pool 6
European Rugby Champions Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Munster623
2Gloucester614
3Edinburgh612
4Perpignan67