European Champions Cup: Quarter Finals

Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!


Rugby fans must feel like they have reached nirvana this week. We’ve been treated to two brilliant Varsity Cup semi-finals and we’ve still got a weekend’s worth of rugby action to go.

While Super Rugby will obviously steal the limelight this weekend, there are some huge European Champions Cup quarter-final clashes also taking place.

We're going to keep this one short and sweet but make no mistake about it, our rugby writer ensures us that there are some solid tips here!

London Wasps v Exeter Chiefs | Saturday 9 April | Ricoh Arena | 16:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Wasps 4/10 | Draw 22/1 | Chiefs 21/10

Wasps and Exeter will square off this Saturday afternoon at the Ricoh Arena. The hosts have been in immaculate form domestically and are coming off the back of a 22 point win over Northampton in the Aviva Premiership. Their opponents also managed a victory on the domestic front last weekend hammering Worcester by 38 points.

The Londoners have a great history in European knockout clashes. They’ve won six out of their last seven Champions Cup knockout games. Three of these victories came against English opposition. This will be Exeter’s first appearance in the Champions Cup knockout stages. They have participated in the Challenge Cup knockout phases, though, so they aren’t complete strangers to European knockout rugby.

Verdict: Wasps 4/10
I can see Charles Piutau and Frank Halai leading the hosts to victory here.

Saracens v Northampton Saints | Saturday 9 April | Allianz Park | 18:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Saracens 2/9 | Draw 27/1 | Saints 33/10

Saracens are hot favourites to win the actual competition. The Wolf Pack were spectacular during the group stages of the tournament all six of their group fixtures and racking up an astonishing 220 points for while only conceding 73.

While Saries secured qualification for the knock-out stage with consummate ease, Saints had to sneak through the back door. The men from Northampton progressed as one of the best-placed runners-up having finished second in group 2.

Saracens managed a 20 point victory over Bath last Friday in an Aviva Premiership clash, Northampton had a weekend to forget going down by 22 points to Wasps.

Verdict: Saracens 2/9
I think Saracens are destined to claim this year’s European Champions Cup trophy. They’re the form team and should be able to dispatch the Saints with realative ease. 

Leicester Tigers v Stade Francais | Sunday 10 April | Welford Road | 14:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Leicester 7/20 | Draw 22/1 | Stade 23/10

Sunday’s first fixture will see Leicester take on Stade Francais at Welford Road. Funnily enough, both sides were actually grouped in the same pool for the knockout stages of this year’s tournament. Leicester won the first of the two group stage clashes by 33-20 while Stade managed to exact some revenge in the second fixture, running out 36-21 victors.

The two sides have enjoyed conflicting form domestically. Leicester have been climbing the Aviva Premiership standings and currently occupy fourth spot on the table. They are also coming off the back of a five-point victory over a spirited Gloucester outfit. Stade on, the other hand, are languishing two spots off the bottom of the Top 14 table and are coming off the back of an embarrassing 21-18 defeat to La Rochelle.

Verdict: Leicester 7/20
I can see Leicester hammering Stade this Sunday. 

Racing Metro v Toulon | Sunday 10 April | Stade Yves Du Manoir | 17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Racing Metro 11/20 | Draw 18/10 | Toulon 15/10

This game promises to be an absolute classic with old friends, and foes, set to lock horns at the Stade Yves Du Manoir. Dan Carter will square off against former teammate and good friend Ma’a Nonu in the battle of the backs while former Springbok colleagues Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen will go head to head in a battle of the bruisers.

This French derby is always a heated one and while we could look at the group stage stats to try and get some indication of how this one may pan out, that may ultimately prove to be an exercise in futility. My reasoning behind negating the statistics for this one is that both of the sides are rather inconsistent - although Toulon probably do edge the unpredictability stakes. Bernard Laporte’s men are capable of the producing a performance bordering on the sublime one week and then the ridiculously poor the following.

Verdict: Toulon 15/10
Despite Toulon’s inconsistencies, they are still a brilliant knockout side. My money is on the defending Champions winning this one and at 15/10, it’s well worth a punt.

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