European Champions Cup 2017/18: Round 5 Predictions

Ken Owens

It’s make-or-break time in the Champions Cup this weekend, as some teams will qualify for the knockout stages, whilst others will be cast adrift.

Here are my predictions for this weekend’s matches.

Bath v Scarlets
A win over Bath would almost guarantee progression for Bath, with a trip to Treviso to come next week. Scarlets are up against it, away this weekend and home to Toulon next week, and I think their campaign will end tonight. Bath by 9

Ulster v La Rochelle
This is a must-win for Ulster, as they face a tricky trip to Wasps next week, whilst La Rochelle have an easier fixture at home to Harlequins. Ulster was well beaten in the return fixture in France, and their Pro14 form has hardly been convincing – Leinster and Connacht have put 31 and 28 points past them in recent weeks. But then again, this is Europe and it’s a French team away from home. Ulster by 2

Exeter v Montpellier

As Henry Slade says, if the Chiefs can beat Montpellier, their European dream is (just about) still alive – but a defeat here and it’s definitely over. They were disappointing in both matches against Leinster, but there’s no shame in that the way Leinster has been playing. Exeter beat Montpellier away, so they can do it at Sandy Park. Exeter by 4

Harlequins v Wasps
Quins are definitely out and Wasps are almost out, but these two English rivals will still give it everything at the Stoop. Aside from Quins’ win in Coventry in September, the home team has won this fixture every time over the last 3 years, and I’m leaning towards Quins again. I haven’t seen the lineups yet, and Wasps have more to play for, but… Quins by 2

Northampton v Clermont
A morale-boosting win over Gloucester last weekend was most welcome at Franklin’s Gardens, but I can’t see them getting much out of this visit from Clermont. Along with Leinster, Clermont remain unbeaten, which is remarkable when you remember that it includes back-to-back wins over Saracens. I suspect Saints will change their team up a little and Clermont will win comfortably. Clermont by 16

Ospreys v Saracens
Sarries are suddenly struggling to qualify, albeit from a very tough group, and they’ll need to win their last two fixtures to go through. Ospreys are in reasonable shape after two big wins over Northampton, but they haven’t been too convincing in the Pro14, and I think Saracens will keep their hopes alive with a win. Saracens by 6

Leinster v Glasgow
Unbeaten Leinster take on winless Glasgow, and add to the fact that the Scots almost never win in Dublin, I can only see this going one way as Leinster play for the top seeding. Leinster by 16

Toulon v Trevsio
The Italians haven’t been quite the pushovers everyone expected, but they still haven’t won any games. Toulon’s motivation will be much higher, with a bonus point win the target, and they will win this comfortably at home. Toulon by 23

Racing v Munster
Munster has a good record against this French side, having won their last four European meetings, including a 7-32 away win this time last year. But Racing is going well in the Top 14, and there is more at stake – win or lose, Munster should qualify with a home win over Castres next week (and a losing bonus point here would be very handy), but if Racing lose this one at home, they’ll be out. Racing by 5

Castres v Leicester
Both sides are already out, and I suspect the Tigers will be prioritising the Premiership. Castres has only lost one match at home this season, and I suspect they’ll win this one narrowly. Castres by 2

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

6 Replies to “European Champions Cup 2017/18: Round 5 Predictions”

    1. Actually, I saw the lineups and changed my mind on the prediction. Marcus Smith is being rested, plus one or two others, and I would expect Wasps to win.

      But, COYQ!

  1. Sarries should beat Ospreys far more comfortably that 6 points. Billy, Itoje, and Rhodes back last week made a massive difference

    1. Sarries have selected a starting back row of Rhodes, Wray and Billy. Itoje at lock with Skelton!!!!
      That’s a lot of weight and ball carrying ability!!

  2. I would have gone for a Bath win but that didnt pan out as i thought it would!
    Think Wasps will win, possibly with a try BP. I take Saracens and Exeter to win as well, though not with a BP.
    Saints just might get something from their game. The pressure is off so they can play with a bit of freedom and last weeks win will have given them a real boost.
    Tigers will lose in France. They always do.

  3. a pity that the best 2 teams in tournement cant both go through to the final as they are in the same draw ,.. Lienster or Scarlets to win it !

Comments are closed.