Planet Rugby

This weekend's predictions!

20th December 2013 14:44

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David Smith Toulon Exeter Heineken Cup

Formidable hosts: Toulon

It's that time of week again where we put our heads on the chopping block and bring you this week's Planet Rugby predictions.

This weekend sees the European clubs return to domestic duties after another stellar brace of Heineken and Challenge Cup rounds.

As always, it's intriguing to see how teams fare after the glamour of continental rugby. Can the likes of Harlequins and Leicester take their cross-border form into tricky Premiership ties away from home? Or will they suffer from that most dreaded of sporting cliches, the "Euro hangover"? How will Leinster react to their bruising loss in Dublin to Northampton Saints?

Whatever the outcome, Paddy Power offers wide range of opportunities to put your money where mouth is this festive season!

Let's get started.

Premiership:

Bath v Harlequins: Bath are narrow favourites to emerge victorious from this Premiership clash, with both sides enjoying very successful but very different European weekends. Quins were outstanding against Racing Metro both home and away, and they're a tempting prospect for a win at The Rec at 7/5. Bath, though, have yet to lose at home in any competition this season, and justify their 4/7 favourites tag. A wedge on the hosts handicapped -3 with Paddy Power is probably the best option here, paying just under even money at 10/11. We reckon Mike Ford's men will do the business, and see off Quins' challenge by about 5 points.

Other SuperBru Premiership predictions:

Sale Sharks v London Irish: Sale by 5
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons: Chiefs by 12
London Wasps v Northampton Saints: Saints by 7
Saracens v Leicester Tigers: Saracens by 5
Gloucester v Worcester Warriors: Gloucester by 15

Pro12:

Cardiff Blues v Ospreys: The Blues head into Friday's regional derby off the back of an excellent brace of victories over Glasgow Warriors in spite of fielding a depleted lineup on both occasions. Though their scrum is likely to struggle against the power of the Ospreys pack, and they are without the talents of precocious fly-half Rhys Patchell, a punt on them to claim a home win at 6/4 is somewhat attractive. We don't expect a big winning margin in this one, so handicapping the favoured visitors by -4 could pay off at 10/11. Our money is on an Ospreys win by about 3 points.

Other SuperBru Pro12 predictions:

Edinburgh v Leinster: Leinster by 7
Ulser v Zebre: Ulster by 25
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso: Glasgow by 10
Connacht v Dragons: Connacht by 5
Munster v Scarlets: Munster by 11

Top 14:

Toulon v Montpellier: The Heineken Cup champions are notoriously flaky on their travels, but have yet to lose in any competition at Stade Felix Mayol this season. That means, even against Montpellier, a handicap of -12 at 10/11 and an outright win of 1/14 are not exaggerations. That said, Montpellier are a class act when they put their minds to it, and the same 10/11 price at +12 looks good. We think their tag as 7/1 underdogs is pretty fair, and expect Toulon to claim the spoils by about 10 points.

Other SuperBru Top 14 predictions::

Stade Francais v Grenoble: Stade by 7
Brive v Racing Metro: Brive by 4
Castres v Perpignan: Castres by 9
Oyonnax v Bayonne: Oyonnax by 8
Clermont v Biarritz: Clermont by 19
Toulouse v Bordeaux-Begles: Toulouse by 15

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