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RUGBY 5 PREVIEW FRIDAY 21 SATURDAY 22 SUNDAY 23 FEBRUARY

2020-02-17 by Phantom

Column

Friday 21 February

M1. Ospreys v Leinster

Ospreys won last weekend for their second victory of the season. Leinster are unbeaten in 11. There is no doubt who the favourites are. Leinster should win well. They have been superb this season.

M2. Edinburgh v Connacht

Edinburgh has become a very tough team to beat whether domestically or in Europe. Connacht are a good side who can trouble teams far better than them but they will be seriously tested here.

M3. Zebre v Munster

It would be a big surprise if Munster got beaten. Zebre play nicely at home but they always seem to lack the class to beat the big sides. Munster are fancied.

M4. Sale v Leicester

Leicester have been terrible this season. Sale are lying third on the Gallagher Premiership log. They play with a bit of style and they have surprised teams with their daring play. Expect Sale to win.

M5. Wasps v Saracens

Any game featuring Saracens is a lottery. They won last week. Wasps aren't a very good side. They are tenth on the log. Saracens could have their class prevail.

Pool 1 Saturday 22 February

M1. Rebels v Sharks

The Sharks lost their first match of the season to the Hurricanes last weekend. They still weren't disgraced and some injuries early in the match hurt them. The Rebels have looked off the pace this season despite some slightly improved performances. The Sharks are tipped to win.

M2. Chiefs v Brumbies

The Chiefs are still unbeaten and they look like they will win more games than they lose. They are at home here too. The Brumbies might be the leading Aussie team but they must improve to win.

M3. Reds v Sunwolves

The Sunwolves have become tough to predict. Their inconsistency makes their matches the games in the pool where punters can make money. The Reds are pretty ordinary so they could be targeted. Play wide.

M4. Stormers v Jaguares

The Stormers found a way to win a match they probably shouldn't have. They scored in the last second to beat the Lions in Joburg. The return home to face an enigmatic Jaguares. The Jags are capable of beating anybody but they can have a bad day and lose badly. This Stormers side looks well oiled and they could confirm the promise. If they do, they are big contenders this year.

M5. Bulls v Blues

The Bulls have looked badly off the pace and they return from a one week break. The Blues have shown some spark but they are nowhere near the finished article yet. The Bulls must always be respected at home. Either side can win.

Pool 2 Saturday 22 February

M1. Stormers v Jaguares

The Stormers found a way to win a match they probably shouldn't have. They scored in the last second to beat the Lions in Joburg. The return home to face an enigmatic Jaguares. The Jags are capable of beating anybody but they can have a bad day and lose badly. This Stormers side looks well oiled and they could confirm the promise. If they do, they are big contenders this year.

M2. Italy v Scotland

Italy improved a huge amount from Week 1 to Week 2 but they will need to step up again. Scotland are winless but they have impressed with some strong rugby. Scotland should beat Italy.

M3. Bulls v Blues

The Bulls have looked badly off the pace and they return from a one week break. The Blues have shown some spark but they are nowhere near the finished article yet. The Bulls must always be respected at home. Either side can win.

M4. Wales v France

Wales have looked the part under new leadership. They know what they need to do and they are well drilled. France are France. Moments of brilliance mixed with inexplicable madness. Go wide in any match France play. They could win by 20 or lose by 30.

M5. Ulster v Cheetahs

Until the Cheetahs learn to win away from home, back the side at home. Ulster are a decent side too. Ruan Pienaar returns to Ulster where he had some successful seasons. The Cheetahs will look to make progress in the Pro 14 back in Bloemfontein.

Sunday 23 February

M1. Bristol v Worcester

Bristol will take some beating. They have kept on winning while big teams have taken knocks with international callups. Worcester are not the worst around but they should battle away from home.

M2. Exeter v Northampton

First vs Second. Exeter won their last match while Northampton lost. Exeter needed that win to stay atop the log. They are at home. Northampton will be reeling now. It's not desperation stakes yet but a loss will come at a bad time for the losing side. A win puts them firmly in the driver's seat.

M3. England v Ireland

What a match. England beat Scotland a fortnight ago in impossible conditions. Ireland have looked solid and sure of what they need to do. If anything, Ireland have looked more settled than England. But Eddie Jones would have worked this all out and England will come in blazing.

M4. Cardiff v Treviso

Cardiff are the team to beat. Treviso aren't great travellers. They were off last weekend because of inclement Welsh weather. So they will be fresh. But Cardiff dont lose often at home.

M5. Scarlets v Kings

The Kings were smashed again last weekend and this tour is a long one now. Scarlets are not the best around but they should have the game to win easily.