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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

Ulster make changes for Toulouse

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The Ulster match-day squad has been named for the Second Leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 versus Toulouse at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday evening.

Nick Timoney will make his 100th appearance for the Ulster men, as he is named to start at openside – with Marcus Rea at blindside and Duane Vermeulen at Number Eight. Andrew Warwick comes in to start at loosehead, and will pack down with Rob Herring at hooker and Marty Moore at tighthead. Captain Iain Henderson will partner with Alan O’Connor in the engine room.

Mike Lowry and Rob Baloucoune, who signed new 3-year contract extensions this week, are named at full-back and on the right wing respectively. Ethan McIlroy returns to take the left-wing starting berth. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield partnership, and John Cooney and Billy Burns are retained at scrum-half and out-half.

Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy will provide forward reinforcements, while Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall and Rob Lyttle will offer back line cover.

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 Second Leg, Saturday 16 April at Kingspan Stadium, 8pm kick-off, live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, and Sky Italia:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle.

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Champions Cup

Graham Rowntree Confirmed As Next Munster Head Coach

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Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm that Graham Rowntree will be promoted from Forwards Coach to the role of Head Coach from July 1, 2022.

Rowntree will commence the role of Head Coach at the start of the 2022/23 season after signing a two-year deal.

The former England prop made the move to Limerick in October 2019 on completion of his Rugby World Cup coaching duties with Georgia Rugby.

In his third season as Forwards Coach Graham and family have settled well into Limerick life, noting earlier this year, “I have made my thoughts about this club widely known throughout my time so far, and for me and my family it really has been an easy decision, a non-decision if truth be told.

“We’ve put down roots here and have no desire to move anywhere else.”

With an impressive coaching CV and vast experience, Rowntree previously held coaching roles with the British and Irish Lions, England Rugby, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.

Working closely with the IRFU, the province will advance with next steps in securing the backroom team that will work with Graham from next season as Head Coach Johann van Graan, Senior Coach Stephen Larkham, and Defence Coach JP Ferreira depart the province at the end of June.

IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented, “I would like to thank the Munster Professional Game Committee for their work and diligence during this process.

“It is important that Munster have someone who understands the unique history and culture of the club and has the experience to maximise the talent in the squad.

“Graham was very impressive throughout this process and demonstrated he has the capabilities to spearhead the next chapter of Munster Rugby.”

On confirmation of the promotion, Graham Rowntree added, “I am hugely honoured to be taking over the role of Head Coach for a club of this calibre, one that means so much to me and my family.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed every moment here and I fortunately get to work with an incredible group of staff and players who share a common goal each day in striving for success for this club.

“I’ve talked about our fantastic supporters before and again at the weekend we stepped off the bus to a huge red welcome in Exeter. Who doesn’t want to be part of that, that’s special!

“I believe we have the established structures in place with the resources and facilities to match and that it will be a smooth transition for the coaching ticket we assemble in ensuring continued development and success for this club.

“Before then I have a role to complete this season and working closely with Johann, Steve, and JP is the immediate focus and priority for now.”

Commenting on the appointment, Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan said, “Graham’s extensive coaching experience and knowledge for the game makes him the perfect candidate to lead this squad forward.

“With Graham stepping up at the start of the new season it will be a seamless and natural progression from the work that has been carried out to-date.

“For now, we will continue our focus on the remainder of this season with Graham supporting Johann and the coaching staff in achieving our goals.”

Munster Rugby Home Fixtures

Saturday, April 16

Champions Cup Round of 16: Munster v Exeter Chiefs, Thomond Park, 3pm; Buy tickets here

Friday, April 29

URC: Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Champions Cup

Ulster name team for Toulouse

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad has been selected for the first leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 versus Toulouse at Le Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Ben Moxham will make his first European start for Ulster as he is named on the left wing alongside Mike Lowry at full-back and Robert Baloucoune on the right wing. Stuart McCloskey comes in to start and will partner with James Hume in the centre. Billy Burns and John Cooney return to form the half-back pairing.

The front row sees Eric O’Sullivan and Rob Herring named at loosehead and hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his place at tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor returns to pair up with captain Iain Henderson in the second row. Marcus Rea comes in at blindside flanker, with Nick Timoney and Duane Vermeulen retained at openside and Number Eight respectively.

Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy provide the forward reinforcements on the bench. Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall and Rob Lyttle will offer the back line options.

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 First Leg, Saturday 9 April at Le Stadium, 3.15pm kick-off (UK / IRE time), live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, FR2:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ben Moxham, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle.

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