2018-10-15 by Liam Del Carme
Munster v Gloucester
Munster dug deep to earn an unlikely draw away to Exeter Chiefs last weekend. The two points they picked up on their travels will serve them well later in the competition. It will also boost their confidence. They’ve now won just three of their last seven matches but at home Munster should prove too strong for Gloucester. Gloucester has bounced back well since their shock home defeat to Harlequins with wins away at Wasps and at home against Top 14 champions Castres. Johan Ackermann’s side is capable of producing upsets but it’s unlikely to happen this weekend.
Sharks XV v Golden Lions
The Sharks secured a home Currie Cup semi-final with a polished display away to Griquas. Their forwards rumbled with intent, while their backs were sharp when opportunity presented itself. The Lions delivered a solid performance in overcoming the Pumas in Nelspruit but they will have to be significantly more ruthless to beat the Sharks. The Sharks won the pool match the teams played earlier this season and their more experienced pack should again give them the edge.
Worcester Warriors v Ospreys
The Warriors produced one of the major upsets of the past weekend with victory over Stade Francais in Paris. They won that Challenge Cup game 38-27 which will be a significant confidence booster ahead of the visit of the Ospreys. The Ospreys boast four wins in their last six matches, the latest a 27-0 drubbing of Pau. The confident Warriors will do well to subdue the Ospreys.
Western Province v Blue Bulls
Western Province brushed aside the feeble challenge of the Blue Bulls in their weather curtailed match at Loftus last weekend. The Western Province scrum demolished their opposition and Bulls coach Pote Human admitted he will have his work cut out this week. The Western Province backline hasn’t been too shabby either and the competition’s leading try scorer Sergeal Petersen will again prove a menace to the opposing defence. Western Province will win this clash by more than 15 points.
Racing 92 v Ulster
Racing’s untimely home defeat against Lyon was quickly banished by their away win over the Scarlets. Their forwards kept them in that game and delivered a killer blow with a powerful scrum that earned them a penalty try with three minutes to go. In Ulster they have tricky opposition. Ulster who had been winless since they beat the Kings in the middle of last month recorded a 24-10 victory over Leicester Tigers in their latest clash. Ulster can be dangerous but Racing should have their measure this weekend.
Clermont v Timisoara Saracens
Clermont put their shock defeat against La Rochelle behind them with an emphatic 41-20 win away at Northampton. They have won four of their last six matches.
They will easily beat the Romanian side.
Wasps v Bath
Wasps slipped to another defeat last weekend. They were humiliated 52-3 by Leinster in Ireland. They were comprehensively outplayed and they will have to find significant improvement this week. They have won three of their last six matches, so consistency is an issue. Freddie Burns’ showboating cost Bath a victory against Toulouse last weekend. The French team won at the Recreation Ground after Exeter did the same the previous week. They have won two of their last six matches. Wasps will start favourites.
Bordeaux-Begles v Perpignan
Bordeaux has suffered successive defeats in the last fortnight. Their latest was a 22-10 beating they suffered at the hands of Connacht. They are however unbeaten at home and the closest they came to defeat was when they drew with Montpellier. The last time Perpignan won a game was at the tail end of last season. They are winless in this campaign and their latest slip up was a 41-24 home defeat to Sale Sharks. Bordeaux should win this one with a degree of ease.
Grenoble v Harlequins
Grenoble come off an away defeat at the hands of Treviso. Their home form isn’t that encouraging having already lost to Toulouse and Pau. Harlequins have looked an improved side over the last three weeks. They beat Gloucester away, lost narrowly to Saracens at home before putting 50 points on Agen in their latest match. Harlequins may well sneak it.
Newcastle Falcons v Montpellier
The Falcons are on a high after they narrowly edged Toulon in the south of France. They won 26-25 which was only their second win in their last six matches.
Montpellier however are unlikely to be as charitable as their compatriots. Montpellier toiled hard to beat Edinburgh last weekend but it was their fourth win on the trot. The visitors start as favourites.