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European Champions Cup Round 5 Predictions

We give our predictions on this weeks Champions Cup fixtures.

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We’ve put together our predictions for scores and possible bonus points for Round 5 of the Champions Cup. We got 90% of results correct in Round 4. Can we go one better?

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Gloucester v Munster

It’s all to play for technically in Pool 2. The tightest group on paper. Munster top the pool on 12 points, Gloucester are on the bottom with 8 points so it’s all to play for. Gloucester are boosted by the return of Danny Cipriani following a lay-off but Munster have Chris Farrell back from injury along with all their Ireland Internationals named in a strong lineup and we expect them to take the victory.

Prediction – Munster Win (+12)

RESULT – Gloucester 15 – Munster 41 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Montpellier v Newcastle

Montpellier will be looking for revenge after their loss to Newcastle in the earlier round of the competition. Newcastle have struggled in the Premiership this season and sit bottom of the domestic competition but have been strong in Europe and could technically still qualify for the next round. We do however expect Montpellier to come out on top.

Prediction -Montpellier (+20) Bonus Point Win

RESULT – Montpellier 45 – Newcastle 8 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Leinster v Toulouse

If this game is half as good as their first encounter this season, we’re in for a treat. Two teams that have been in scintillating form this season come head to head in Dublin. Toulouse pipped Leinster in France but we expect Leinster to take the spoils this weekend. Sexton will be a huge loss for Leinster but there is enough quality in the squad to see them take what we think will be a narrow victory.

Prediction – Leinster Win (+7)

RESULT – Leinster 29 – Toulouse 13 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Bath v Wasps

Both teams have little hope of progressing past the pool stages in this years competition but this dead rubber game could hopefully provide a platform for fringe players to gain some valuable European experience.

Prediction – Bath (+6) Both Team Try Bonus Points

RESULT – Bath 18- Wasps 16 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Ulster v Racing 92

On paper, this is a no brainer. Racing 92 should be firm favourites but 2 big factors come into play in this fixture. Ulster are typically very strong in Europe at home and the French don’t seem to like Belfast. Racing are in the driving seat to top the group and will remain that way even if they lose in Belfast however, Ulster’s chances of progressing further than the pools means a win is essential.

Prediction – Ulster Win (+9)

RESULT – Ulster 26 – Racing 22 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Scarlets v Leicester Tigers

Another dead rubber game with both teams effectively out. Scarlets have injury issues everywhere. Welsh Hooker Ken Owens lines up at No.8 again after making the switch last week to assist with the Scarlet’s injury crisis. Leicester Tigers have experienced a reassurance of late and we expect them to get the win.

Prediction – Leicester Tigers Win (+9) Both teams, try bonus points

RESULT – Scarlets 33 – Leicester 10 – 

Prediction – Wrong 

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Toulon v Edinburgh

Toulon are out, Edinburgh are in the mix. Toulon have had a torrid season and the Stade Mayol is not the fortress it once was. They will probably still go into the game as the bookies favourite but we expect Edinburgh to nick a win.

Prediction – Edinburgh Win (+8)

RESULT – Toulon 17 – Edinburgh 28 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Exeter Chiefs v Castres

Exeter have named a strong lineup for the clash at Sandy Park and we can’t see anything but a home win this weekend.

Prediction – Exeter Win (+18) Try Bonus

RESULT – Exeter 34 – Castres 12 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Lyon v Saracens

Lyon are out. They sit bottom of the pool while Saracens will look to bounce back from their defeat against Sale last week to continue their unbeaten run in Europe. We expect this to go one way, Saracens.

Prediction – Saracens Win (+15) Try Bonus

RESULT – Lyon 10 – Saracens 28 – 

Prediction – Correct

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Glasgow v Cardiff

Glasgow suffered a shock domestic loss last week to Benetton but their European hopes are still very much alive but a win is essential to keep their hopes alive and keep the pressure on Saracens. Glasgow to win comfortably.

Prediction – Glasgow Win (+13) Try Bonus

RESULT – Glasgow 33 – Cardiff 24  – 

Prediction – Correct

This weeks prediction score – 9/10 (90%)

No bang on score predictions this week but stuck the neck out with bold calls on Edinburgh & Ulster victories over big French opposition.

90% for consecutive rounds for our Champions Cup score predictions. Check back next week to see if we can go one better!

Champions Cup

Big names miss out for Ulster

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The Ulster match-day squad to face Gloucester tomorrow afternoon in Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup has been named (Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm).  

The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.  

The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.

John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.    

Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:  

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.  

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Champions Cup

Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse

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The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad for the province’s opening Pool game of the 2020-21 Heineken Champions Cup against Toulouse on Friday (kick-off 8pm, Kingspan Stadium). 

In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half. 

Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight. 

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench. 

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee. 

Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

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Champions Cup

Heineken Champions Cup Pool Draw for 2020/21

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The holders, Exeter Chiefs, will play against Toulouse and Glasgow Warriors in the pool stage of the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup following the tournament Pool Draw which was held on Wednesday 28 October at the Maison du Sport International in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Exeter, who lifted the trophy for the first time after a dramatic 25th anniversary final earlier this month, were drawn into Pool B and will meet the four-time tournament winners and Glasgow over four pool stage rounds on a home and away basis.

Under the new format for the 2020/21 season featuring two pools of 12 clubs, reigning Guinness PRO14 champions, Leinster Rugby, will have Montpellier and Northampton Saints as their opponents in Pool A when the tournament kicks off again in December, while last season’s runners-up, Racing 92, are in Pool B where they will be up against Connacht Rugby and Harlequins.

Wasps, who were edged out by the Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership final, will meet Dragons and Montpellier in Pool A, and PRO14 finalists, Ulster Rugby, will take on Gloucester Rugby and Toulouse in Pool B.

Munster Rugby will renew their European rivalry with ASM Clermont Auvergne and Harlequins in Pool B, while Bristol Bears’ Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, will make a return to Galway when the Challenge Cup winners go up against Connacht and Clermont also in Pool B.

For the purposes of the draw, the 24 clubs which qualified from the Premiership, the PRO14 and the TOP 14 were classified into four tiers based on their performances in the knockout phases of their respective leagues, and/or on their qualifying positions in their respective league tables.

Each tier contained six clubs with Tier 1 made up of the number one and number two ranked clubs from each league, and Tier 2, the number three and number four ranked clubs from each league, and so on.

Starting with Tier 1, the clubs were either drawn or allocated into either Pool A or Pool B so that each pool contained 12 clubs with no clubs in the same tier from the same league in the same pool.

The key principles regarding the pool stage fixtures are that clubs will only play against opponents in the same pool, and clubs from the same league cannot play against one another.

The Tier 1 and Tier 4 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league, will play one another home and away over four rounds. The same principle applies to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which were drawn in the same pool, but which are not from the same league.

The exact dates of the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures and the Challenge Cup preliminary stage fixtures, including venues, kick-off times and TV coverage, will be announced as soon as possible following consultation with clubs and EPCR’s partner broadcasters.

The four highest-ranked clubs from each Heineken Champions Cup pool will qualify for the quarter-finals which will be played over two legs, and the clubs ranked from number five to number eight in each pool will qualify for the Round of 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Today’s draw, which mapped out the first steps on the journey to the 2021 Marseille finals weekend, was conducted by EPCR Chief Executive, Vincent Gaillard, and by EPCR Commercial and Brand Manager, Anya Alderslade.

The event scrutineer was Lausanne-based solicitor, Jean-Guillaume Amiguet.

2020/21 HEINEKEN CHAMPIONS CUP

POOL A (with opponents in brackets)
Bordeaux-Bègles (Dragons, Northampton Saints)
Leinster Rugby (Montpellier, Northampton Saints)
Wasps (Dragons, Montpellier)
Bath Rugby (La Rochelle, Scarlets)
Edinburgh Rugby (La Rochelle, Sale Sharks)
RC Toulon (Sale Sharks, Scarlets)
La Rochelle (Bath Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby)
Sale Sharks (Edinburgh Rugby, RC Toulon)
Scarlets (Bath Rugby, RC Toulon)
Dragons (Bordeaux-Bègles, Wasps)
Montpellier (Leinster Rugby, Wasps)
Northampton Saints (Bordeaux-Bègles, Leinster Rugby)

POOL B (with opponents in brackets)
Exeter Chiefs (Glasgow Warriors, Toulouse)
Lyon (Glasgow Warriors, Gloucester Rugby)
Ulster Rugby (Gloucester Rugby, Toulouse)
Bristol Bears (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Connacht Rugby)
Munster Rugby (ASM Clermont Auvergne, Harlequins)
Racing 92 (Connacht Rugby, Harlequins)
ASM Clermont Auvergne (Bristol Bears, Munster Rugby)
Connacht Rugby (Bristol Bears, Racing 92)
Harlequins (Munster Rugby, Racing 92)
Glasgow Warriors (Exeter Chiefs, Lyon)
Gloucester Rugby (Lyon, Ulster)
Toulouse (Exeter Chiefs, Ulster Rugby)

2020/21 season weekends
Round 1 – 11/12/13 December 2020
Round 2 – 18/19/20 December 2020
Round 3 – 15/16/17 January 2021
Round 4 – 22/23/24 January 2021

Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 1st leg – 2/3/4 April 2021
Challenge Cup Round of 16 – 2/3/4 April 2021
Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, 2nd leg – 9/10/11 April 2021
Challenge Cup quarter-finals – 9/10/11 April 2021
Semi-finals – 30 April – 1/2 May 2021
2021 finals – Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Challenge Cup final – Friday 21 May
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 22 May

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