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European Champions Cup Rugby Preview – March 30th & 31st

Saracens v Glasgow Warriors

30th March 2019 – 3.15 pm kick off

The knockout bracket of the European Champions Cup continues this weekend with the top-seeded Saracens taking on the Glasgow Warriors. With such powerful home from going behind them, the English side are long odds-on favourites to win the match. Can the Warriors produce something special?

Saracens v Glasgow odds*

Saracens 1/9
Glasgow 11/2
Draw 33/1
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

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Saracens v Glasgow Preview

There was no stopping Saracens in the pool stages of this season’s Champions Cup. They powered their way to six straight wins, which included victories over Glasgow Warriors. So these two are familiar foes this season and given the head to head form swinging with the English side, then it is not surprising that Saracens are the favourites.

But Saracens haven’t been having things all their way recently with a W2 L3 record in their last five games in all competitions. They did respond very well last weekend though with a home victory in the Premiership over Harlequins.

In their two games against Glasgow in the Pool stage, Saracens produced a 13-3 away win and then took a 38-19 victory over them back on home soil. Saracens have won each for the last five meetings with Glasgow in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Glasgow are carrying some good form with them though. Their current form has seen them string together a five-match winning streak in the Pro 14. Glasgow are topping Conference A with a fine W13 L5 record under their belt and Leinster are the only side in the competition who have scored more than the Scottish outfit have.

Despite suffering a loss at Allianz Park against Saracens in their final road game of the pool stage, they did have a good time of things on the road in general. They swept to a bonus point victory of 29-12 at the Cardiff Blues before another bonus point success out at Lyon, running up over 40 points against the French side.

Saracens v Glasgow Prediction

You would have to roll with home advantage and the head to head form that Saracens have over Glasgow. The visiting Warriors are actually in good shape at the moment, but Saracens showed a lot of character against Harlequins last weekend on domestic duty and can forward to claim the win in this one. The +15 handicap on Glasgow is generous at 10/11 so it’s worth a punt* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

Leinster v Ulster

30th March 2019 – 5.45 pm kick off

Reigning European champions Leinster continune their title defence as they step out into knockout stage against Ulster. This is going to be some intense clash at the Aviva Stadium between the two Irish outfits. Will it be Leinster sweeping through with home advantage behind them?

Leinster v Ulster odds*

Leinster 1/9
Ulster 11/2
Draw 33/1
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

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Leinster v Ulster Preview

Leinster won their section in the Pool Stage of this season’s Champions Cup, posting a W5 L1 record on their way to securing top spot. They edged out Toulouse by four points in the end in what was a close battle. Their scoring on home soil along the way was pretty spectacular, and with home advantage in this clash, they are favourites.

Leinster hammered Wasps 52-3, Bath 42-15 and then Toulouse 29-13 on home soil in the pool stage. They were the only side in the pool stage of this season’s competition to break the 200 points mark from their six games. Their one loss happened out in Toulouse in round two, with Leinster losing by just the one point and picking up a bonus.

Leinster have hosted Ulster already in this season’s Pro 14 and picked up a pretty convincing 40-7 win that victory. In their last five games, Leinster have posted a W4 L1 record, their only loss in that sequence happening in their last match, which was an away defeat out at Edinburgh in the Pro 14. Leinster at the top points-scorer in this season’s Pro 14 currently.

Ulster then are going to have their work cut out for them. They are second behind Leinster in Conference B of this season’s Pro 14 but a massive 18 points adrift. Ulster were one of the three best runners up to make it through to the knockout bracket of the European Champions Cup this season. They finished second in their group to Racing 92.

Of the eight qualified sides for the knockout stage, Ulster were the lowest scorers of all. As a positive, they do have the threat of Jacob Stockdale who is the joint top try scorer in this season’s competition with six. In the pool stage, Ulster posted a W5 L1 record, their only defeat being a heavy one out on the road at Racing 92.

Leinster v Ulster Prediction

It should be Leinster all the way in this one. They have the scoring power that Ulster are unlikely to be able to match up to. The defence of the visitors is going to come under some heavy pressure at the Allianz Arena. A Leinster -15 handicap is at 10/11 odds* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

 

Edinburgh v Munster

30th March 2019 – 12.45 pm kick off

This is going to be no easy home game for Edinburgh who go into the knockout stage of the Champions Cup as underdogs for this tie. They are seeded fourth in the bracket with their opponents fifth. Will the Irish side raid Murrayfield in what looks to be a fantastic match up?

Edinburgh v Munster odds*

Munster 8/15
Edinburgh 13/8
Draw 20/1
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

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Edinburgh v Munster Preview

Edinburgh topped their group in the Pool Stage of this season’s tournament with a W5 L1 record on the board. Their only slip up in the group happened in their opening fixture which was out at Montpellier. The Scottish side still managed to pick up a bonus point in the fixture still though.

Edinburgh recovered well from that and they produced some scintillating stuff on home soil. They ran up 40 points against Toulouse, 31 against Newcastle and then earned their revenge victory over Montpellier 19-10 in their final home fixture at Murrayfield.

The one area which will perhaps be an area of concern for them is their lack of tries scored in the group stage. They ran up sixteen of them, which was the joint-second lowest tally of all eight sides in the knockouts. The team with the lowest try tally from the Pool stage is their quarter-final opponents, Munster, with 14.

But the Irish side are favourites here. They have already met Edinburgh in this season’s Pro 14 and they pounded the Scottish side 44-14. That was on home soil, with Munster yet to make a visit to Murrayfield in the competition.

If you gauge things by the progress of the teams in this season’s Pro 14 then Munster, who have racked up a W13 L5 record compared to that of Edinburgh’s W9 L9 record does look to have the advantage here. Munster were Pool winners in this season’s Champions Cup, with a W4 D1 L1 record in facing Exeter, Castres and Gloucester.

They only went W1 D1 L1 on the road though. Munster’s Joey Carbery is this season’s top points scorer in the Championship Cup while Sean Corbin is the joint try scorer leader with six touchdowns.

Edinburgh v Munster Prediction

This has the look of being tight, it really does. Home advantage is so important in these game, but we feel there is enough about Munster to overcome that. They perhaps just edge it with the game-breakers and they are 5/6 to overcome a -4 handicap at Murrayfield* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

 

Racing 92 v Toulouse

31st March 2019 – 4.15 pm kick off

Last year’s losing finalists Racing 92 will have home advantage for this all-French quarterfinal duel. It should be some fantastic showdown between them at the Paris La Defense Arena. They powered their way to top their pool, while Toulouse scraped in as one of the best runners up.

Racing 92 v Toulouse odds*

Racing 92 4/9
Toulouse 15/8
Draw 20/1
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on March 26th, 2019 at 4:29 pm)

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Racing 92 v Toulouse Preview

Racing 92 were runners up to Leinster in last season’s Champions Cup and they have put together a strong title defence so far. They topped their pool ahead of Ulster by four points, posting a W5 L1 record along the way. In their big home game against Ulster, Racing 92 pounded the Irish outfit 44-12.

Their only loss of the campaign came when they made the trip to the Kingspan Stadium to face Ulster, the French side losing by four points. Racing 92 at have won their last three games so their current form is going well at the moment but they are trailing Toulouse in their domestic Top 14 table currently. Racing 92 are third, 16 points adrift of leaders Toulouse.

When the two met back in September in Toulouse, it is the home side who took a 30-17 victory in the match. But then in the rematch in January at the Paris La Defense Arena, it was Racing who took a 22-13 revenge victory. So is it going to be a matter of home advantage playing a key part once again when the two French sides meet?

Toulouse then are in form. They have won their last five games on the bounce. In the pool stage of this season’s competition, they finished second behind Leinster, matching the Irish side with W5 L1 record in the campaign. The only defeat that Toulouse took was out on the road at Leinster in round five of the competition.

Toulouse were the joint second lowest scorers of tries in the pool stage of this season’s European Champions Cup. Racing 92, on the other hand, was only bettered by Leinster in the try count.

Racing 92 v Toulouse Prediction

This should be some game. Top 14 leaders Toulouse are clearly going to show up and make a fist of this. However, the two meetings this season already in the league have gone the way of the home side so it is probably safe sticking with that. Home win.


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