Champions Cup: Expect fresh Saracens woe on the continent
It’s business time in the first European Rugby Champions Cup, with 11 teams in with a chance of joining already-qualified continental kings Toulon in the latter stages, and top spots in all five pools yet to be decided.
We’ve studied all the permutations to bring you a confident fourfold going into the final round of pool fixtures. Good luck!
Few sides compare to Clermont for home dominance, with the Top 14 leaders’ incredible 77-game unbeaten run at Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin finally snapped at the end of last term, while only Montpellier (by a point) have won there since.
Saracens lost 14-3 at Munster early on in the pool before beating them 33-10 at home, so Mark McCall’s men’s seven-point triumph over their next opponents at Allianz Park in October needn’t fill the north Londoners with confidence going into this fixture.
The hosts will be hugely buoyed by their recent 16-12 win over last year’s domestic and European double winners Toulon, in Jake White’s first game as head coach, but their next task looks thankless.
Toulouse need a bonus-point win to secure top spot in Pool 4 ahead of Bath, and Montpellier have lost all five of their Champions Cup games thus far, so this match only looks likely to go one way.
A tough call, but the three-time kings of Europe are up against it in this Ricoh Stadium fixture against one of England’s form teams.
Wasps are unbeaten at their new home and last lost when hosting all the way back in October, in this competition against Harlequins.
At the prices, getting behind Dai Young’s charges to make it eight out of nine in front of the faithful this term seems the sensible play.
Saints only need to win at Franklin’s Gardens to take top spot in Pool 5, but a precious bonus point will see them guarantee overall top seeding for the quarter finals.
Racing go into this clash having lost both their last two Top 14 away fixtures by at least six points, so Jim Mallinder and co will be confident of putting down a marker in the East Midlands.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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