Heineken Cup Round 4: Predictions

The second round of the December double headers is upon us, and after a couple of shock results in last weekend’s pulsating action, there are a few teams with plenty to do over the next few days.

Friday night sees Castres make the trip to Swansea to play the Ospreys. The Welsh region have nothing but pride left to play for in this competition, but having lost all three of their games so far do not underestimate how much that will fire them up. Castres are looking to keep the pace with group leaders Leinster (good luck), but have not travelled well this season and up against an Ospreys team that will be desperate for a win, they could well come unstuck. Friday night’s other fixture is Glasgow against Cardiff, and I expect Glasgow to take their revenge for last weekend’s loss in the Welsh capital.

The biggest game on Saturday comes from Dublin, where Leinster, who were all-conquering last weekend, welcome Northampton, who will be determined to salvage some of their reputation that was left so terribly in tatters as the Irishmen romped to a 40-7 win. I doubt the margin of victory will be the same, but I’d expect Leinster to win again. Exeter travel down to Toulon after putting in an encouraging performance at Sandy Park against the champions, but at home they are a different beast and should win comfortably.

Connacht’s win in France against Toulouse was arguably the biggest shock this tournament has ever seen – when they welcome the aristocrats of French rugby to the Sportsground this weekend, they will be brimming with confidence and looking to get another one over their vastly more wealthy opponents. Something tells me, however, that that result will have woken Toulouse from their slumber, and I’m backing them to win, and win well, this weekend. Munster, meanwhile, travel to Perpignan, such a tough place to come away with a result – but I’ve a feeling they’ll do just that. It’ll be very close though.

The two biggest games on Sunday are Anglo-French affairs. Another unexpected result from the last round was Harlequins’ victory over Racing Métro (in Nantes, not Paris, as I erroneously published this time last week!), and it is one they will be confident of repeating at the Stoop this weekend. Racing have stellar names in abundance, but for whatever reason they simply have not performed this season. After a poor start to the group, suddenly Quins look like they’re back in contention for the knockout rounds. The Tigers, meanwhile, take on Montpellier in a repeat of what was a hugely entertaining game at Welford Road last weekend. The Frenchmen need to win, and win well, to stand any chance of going through, but you just wonder if their focus may now have drifted back to the Top 14. Leicester could well come away victorious from that one, but it should be tight.

Ospreys v Castres: Ospreys by 7
Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues: Glasgow by 14
Toulon v Exeter Chiefs: Toulon by 10
Treviso v Ulster: Ulster by 14
Saracens v Zebre: Saracens by 35
Scarlets v Clermont Auvergne: Clermont by 3
Perpignan v Munster: Munster by 2
Leinster v Northampton: Leinster by 10
Connacht v Toulouse: Toulouse by 20
Harlequins v Racing Métro: Harlequins by 8
Gloucester v Edinburgh: Gloucester by 20
Montpellier v Leicester Tigers: Tigers by 3

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

27 thoughts on “Heineken Cup Round 4: Predictions

  1. I really think that Connacht v Toulouse will be closer than that. I may even suggest Connacht could hold out for a sneaky win!!

  2. I fancy the Blues to backup their win tonight but couldn’t stake my house on it. I do think though that Glasgow by 14 is a bit generous. Hope I’m not eating those words later…

    1. So embarrassing that things that Austin Healey says becomes interpreted as an English-wide opinion.

      Why can’t we just say it how it is? Leinster was on top form against a poor Saints side. Move on. Try and avenge it next week.

      The move from the English clubs in Europe is money driven; nothing else. I know that. They know that. Everyone knows that. I for one am ok with it; the English clubs have some pretty good reasons for wanting move of the financial pie. The whole European mess is just becoming move embarrassing for all sides now.

      1. Yep Jacob – I try hard myself not to fall into the trap but I will admit that it comes across as English sentiment, I need to remind myself it is not shared by everyone. I suppose it’s like when Mike Phillips said England “weren’t all that” there was uproar about “The Welsh” dissing England.

        1. Agree – we all do it!

          It’s a shame though. You’ve heard no such nonsense coming from inside the Saints camp, they just accepted it and moved on. Disgraceful article though,

    2. Healey appears to be little respected by anyone, even his colleagues at BT sport treat him as a joke. He depends on causing offense and controversy, a little like Jeremy Clarkson but without the comic talent. Responding just encourages him. if we all ignore him he will eventually wither away from lack of interest as he has no contribution of value to make.

      1. Last season, Sexton played 10 Rabo games for Leinster.

        So far, he has played 13 games for Racing this season.

        So, yes, his statistics are correct. However, Sexton would have played more Rabo games (I’m sure) if he hadn’t injured himself during the 6 Nations.

  3. Here are my SuperBru picks for the weekend:

    Ospreys v Castres: Ospreys by 5
    Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues: Glasgow Warriors by 5
    Toulon v Exeter Chiefs: Toulon by 23
    Benetton Treviso v Ulster: Ulster by 23
    Saracens v Zebre: Saracens by 38
    Scarlets v Clermont Auvergne: Scarlets by 3
    Perpignan v Munster: Munster by 5
    Leinster v Northampton Saints: Leinster by 8
    Connacht Rugby v Toulouse: Toulouse by 13
    Harlequins v Racing Metro: Harlequins by 8
    Gloucester Rugby v Edinburgh: Gloucester Rugby by 13
    Montpellier v Leicester Tigers: Leicester Tigers by 10

    I’ve gone for a cheeky Scarlets win over Clermont…

  4. That article is disgraceful. Jim Mallinder didnt make such a point. Northampton could have rested all their players and the difference is class would still have paid dividends.

  5. Long shot but I think Scarlets will put one over on Clermont. Also think Montpellier will beat the Tigers. Think the Ulster game will be closer. And as much as I hate to bet against Munster ………….. well maybe not.

  6. Zebre’s place in the competition looks more and more like a joke every week. Saracens just put 60 points on them. In no way is that kind of thrashing beneficial for their players. They should be in the Amlin, with the weaker competiton.

    Thank goodness after Friday’s tedious matches today was better. Munster game very good, Toulon v Exeter was intriguing for 65mins, and then what about Saints!

  7. Aye. That saints game was excellent. Can’t believe the future of games like that is at risk

    To take a kicking like last week’s and come back to beat Leinster in Ireland is nothing short of brilliant

  8. Brighty can sleep now safe in the knowledge that George North’s confidence isn’t going to take a hit playing in a second rate team like Northampton.

    Pleased to know that the death of English clubs in Europe was a slightly hasty sentiment expressed by a few.

    Just goes to show that all of the nation’s feed off each other (even Italy imo) and a European competition without any of them would be a travesty. Would everyone now please start listening to Ritchie and sort it out for next season!

    Not convinced by France’s UEFA equivalent suggestion. Not convinced that UEFA are completely functional to start with and it would give too much power to France who would inevitably be able to lock up much of the Latin vote. Comes back to power again!

  9. Glad North is playing in a quality outfit, that will boost his confidence for the six nations…

    What a game. Exactly as I hoped for. Northampton turned up and fought hard for a win. Brilliant to watch as a neutral. Besides Staggy correctly mentioning the resurgence of English sides (perceived at least) I’d also say it puts into perspective Ireland’s 6N title hopes. Like they’ve done very, very often in the past they fail to backup an emphatic performance. One offs don’t win you six nations titles.

  10. Ireland do seem to be the new France, I have to admit. Capable of beating pretty much anyone on their day, but also capable of being abject.

    France are the new Ireland. Plenty of quality players, but underachieving.

    England are the new Scotland, hard to beat but ultimately not title contenders.

    Wales are the new England with all the players, but never seeming to scale the heights despite beating up the other NH teams.

    Scotland are the new Wales with loads of potential.

    And Italy are Italy. Thank goodness some things don’t change!

    1. Hmm, I’ve found a method to your madness. It’s some kind of recipe for bean curd soup. By your reckoning (ahem hyperbole), Portugal are surely the new Samoa!!
      All is as it was. Italy are the new Scotland, and Scotland are the new Italy, or some such. I predict both those teams to receive a fine walloping.

      1. To be fair in sevens Portugal may be the new Samoa.

        BTW this was a comment following on from Brighty’s on the previous page which is why it might seem slightly Roger Irrelevant! It all started with the comparison between Leinster and Ireland (same players) blowing hot and cold. I just extended it slightly!

    2. Haha, I’m quite pleased that England are the new Scotland and all their ‘world class players’ Andy Nicol keeps talking about.

      Glos must be the new Japan (even play in the same kit), lots of endeavour, pace and skill behind the scrum, but mullered upfront.

    1. Couldn’t have put it better myself. Is it Davies? I had high hopes for him at the start but now I’m not so sure. I know Brighty doesn’t think very highly of him and he’s generally a good judge of Welshmen, even if a bit one eyed when someone comes from outside the country!!

      1. I was not happy when Davies was appointed (thought we were destined for mid table obscurity) but then we had a good season last year. Perhaps his influence wasn’t full felt last year………
        Our tight 5 is poor – hence the new recruits for next season – but it is a disgrace not to have a decent tight 5.
        Losing to Edinburgh is no shame but losing at home is!

        1. Losing to Edinburgh at home in the manner in which we lost was terrible. Just no bite and what was up with the decision making? Brighty seems to be right – soft underbelly.

  11. I’d pin it on Davies. I will concede he might be a decent developer, brought some good players through – though I’m never sure how much credit to give him for that – but results and performance wide he is poor. He’s teams always seem to have a soft underbelly – some skill and the odd good result but go to pieces when really up against it.

    Also, Fiji, RWC 2007.

  12. Had a bit of a split personality last Sat night as the pub showed both games at once, but I think they made for ok viewing.

    This was in contrast to Sun tho when Quins & Leicester played (not each other). When the score was still 0-0 in the 2nd match @ 1/2 time, I switched the telly off & went to a music exchange shop I know in Piccadilly.

    Does this mean that rugby is the new music then?

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