Gloucester Rugby v Biarritz
Gloucester come into this game on the back of two narrow wins, but win they did and Kingsholm is getting that fortress-like feeling once again – they haven’t lost at home since January. Biarritz, for their part, haven’t won an away game since the first month of the year either. While their form at home is impressive – they beat title contenders Clermont there recently – they are not so hot on the road. All set for an easy Gloucester win then? Perhaps not – the knockout stages of any competition are usually tight, cagey affairs, and this could well be the same. The Frenchman will bring a bullish, big pack and it may well be a case of their forward power against Gloucester’s brilliant backs.
Home advantage should see Gloucester into the semis.
Gloucester by 5
London Wasps v Leinster
Wasps are in the midst of an horrific losing streak, having not won since mid-February. This weekend, in an attempt to get things back on track, they take on the reigning Heineken Cup champions Leinster. The Wycombe-based team have lost their last two at home. Leinster lost at home to Ulster last weekend, bringing to an end an astonishing run of nine wins in a row. They will be snarling from not having the chance to defend their Heineken crown, and will want to fill that space in their trophy cabinet with the other European trophy.
Wasps may be unbeaten in the Amlin, but the European champions will be a step too far for them.
Leinster by 8
Perpignan v Toulouse
The cliché this season is that Toulouse are ‘not the side that they used to be’ – but to be honest, the side they used to be was so good that they are still a remarkably strong team. They have won their last three and are sitting comfortably in third in the Top 14. Perpignan, on the other hand, have lost their last two, including last weekend at home to Castres, the side just below Toulouse in the league. However, Perpignan have beaten their opponents this weekend twice in the league already this season, including an impressive win at the Stade Ernest Wallon under two months ago.
Two wins over Toulouse will be all Perpignan get this season – the French powerhouse club should make the semis.
Toulouse by 5
Bath v Stade Francais
Bath’s form has been mixed of late, combining impressive victories over Gloucester and London Welsh with an inept loss to Sale. At home, however, they haven’t lost in any competition since before Christmas and the Bath faithful have been treated to some impressive victories. There has been nothing mixed about Stade’s form, however, as they have lost four of their last five games. They haven’t won away from home since 8th December, against the might of I Cavalieri Prato in this very competition. Brilliant travellers they are not.
It won’t be a stroll, but Bath should win fairly comfortably.
Bath by 10