Heineken Champions Cup Predictions: Round 2

Leinster Rugby

Let’s not dwell too much on my predictions for Round 1, where four out of 10 was a miserable return and below par. But I’ll accept the failure and move on, and Round 2 will be a different story.

Here are my Heineken Champions Cup picks for Round 2.

Leicester v Scarlets
A home defeat last week means the Scarlets are up against it already, and this is probably the away trip they are most likely to win. The Tigers have been fairly average so far this year, and I fancy an upset to kick us off. Scarlets by 2

Munster v Gloucester
This game is a great prospect at Thomond Park, although after drawing away at Sandy Park last week, it’s hard to see Gloucester winning away, where so few teams have been successful. Munster by 9

Castres v Exeter
The Chiefs had high hopes coming into this tournament, but they couldn’t manage a home win in Round 1. Castres are 6th in the Top 14, but they looked average against Gloucester and lost their last match at home, so I think Exeter can get back on track with a win in France. Exeter by 7

Edinburgh v Toulon
The Scots were better than expected away in Montpellier last weekend, which should give them confidence hosting Toulon at Murrayfield. There is rain forecast, and Toulon’s stars won’t fancy that much. Edinburgh by 2

Wasps v Bath
Familiar foes in the Premiership, and a loss for either team will likely mean elimination. It’s a tough group with Leinster and Toulouse, and Bath’s self-inflicted defeat at the Rec has not done them any favours. A home win is the sensible pick here, and it would put Wasps back in contention. Wasps by 13

Saracens v Lyon
Losing at home to Cardiff isn’t the ideal preparation for a French team making the trip to Saracens. Even with all the injuries, Sarries should walk this. Saracens by 23

Racing v Ulster
A win over Leicester last weekend flew in the face of Ulster’s Pro14 form, and I’m not sure how much they have improved or whether the Tigers were just rubbish. Either way, picking Racing to win at home is usually a good idea. Racing by 9

Newcastle v Montpellier
How on earth did the Falcons win in Toulon? Bottom of the Premiership and with no real prospect of progressing in this tournament, they somehow pulled out the victory. Can they back it up with a win over Montpellier? I’m not sure. Montpellier by 6

Toulouse v Leinster
After demolishing Wasps, this will be a great measure of Leinster’s credentials. They certainly have the personnel, and I think they’ll back it up. Leinster by 13

Cardiff v Glasgow
The Blues have beaten Glasgow just once in their last 9 matches against Glasgow, and although they won in Lyon last weekend, I fancy Glasgow here. Glasgow by 4

What do you think of these predictions?

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

9 thoughts on “Heineken Champions Cup Predictions: Round 2

  1. I only got four last week as well Hutch, and am not confident of getting many more this week. Trouble is you never know how most of the French teams will get out of bed in the morning, and you can´t budget for things like the Burns melt down last week. I think Bath might bounce back against Wasps, who are really missing Launchbury, Robson and Gopperth (not to mention the sadly departed and much put upon Cipriani). I also definitely fancy Cardiff to beat Glasgow, and with an away win under their belt Newcastle now have a real incentive to win at home.

    1. I have to agree with you regarding bath….I think bath have got more about them than wasps….I’m putting a speculative £5 on ?????

  2. I didn’t fare much better last week either and only got 5. It appears not following/having expectations about the Pro and Top 14s seemed to be and advantage, colleague at work who I’ve gotten into this doesn’t really follow those two leagues and did much better!

    As for this week, not sure you could call Scarlets winning an upset, feels much more like a 50:50 to me, could go either way. Also like Andy, I quite fancy Newcastle and Cardiff at home and I can’t decide if Exeter are going to fare well at Castres, for me Castres are the epitome of that cliched French team that are entirely unpredictable away but incredibly solid and difficult to beat on their own turf.

    1. Er, this is a basketball match. The ball’s the wrong shape, the players never kick it & are always offside! Still, c’mon the Kiwis!

  3. Well what a weekend of interesting results, whether the refereeing decisions were right or not felt Glouc game amongst others was ruined by cards but rules is rules. Castres beat Exeter at their own game a man down. Toulouses win really adds some much needed excitement in this comp, I imagine Leinster won’t struggle to use this loss as a way to further adapt and improve. Really enjoying the competition and as an Englishman am not too worried overall by the results, just the injury lists

    1. Injury lists are relative. Every team has them. If they have effective rotational plans in place, this should help to alleviate the problem.

      1. Should help yes, I think it’s increasingly obvious that the increased pressure on the English and French from their domestic leagues allows far less room for the rotation of players. Of course this depends on acceptance of the premise that the top 14 and premiership are more competitive and attentional than the pro 16 or what ever it’s called. Only Leinster are able to really rotate their squad and remain competitive but they did just lose to Toulouse…

        1. Well, this pressure from attrition raises the issue of playing less rugby. H’ever, in order to pay for big squads to cope with more games & therefore more injuries, the clubs need these bigger squads. Of course these require more money to pay for them, so they need to play more games to generate the necessary money. So, the cycle goes on. Better salary & offshore player numbers caps might help. As the RFU does not have control of the clubs or how they operate with the number of games they play etc, the spiral continues. To make matters worse, if I understand correctly, the clubs run @ a loss. As I recall, Saracens ran @ a loss of £2m last yr. This situation is unsustainable, so something has to give @ some point. Players need better man management & less rugby, not more, but whether there’s solution or even the desire to do this seems unlikely.


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