European Rugby Champions Cup: Leinster v Wasps Preview


Leinster and the London Wasps will square off in the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup at the Aviva Stadium this Saturday.

We are in for a pulsating European Rugby Champions Cup clash this coming Saturday with a star-studded Leinster side taking on the attack-minded, London Wasps. The hosts come into this one as hot favourites but you can never discount a Wasps side, who are able to strike from anywhere on the pitch.

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Leinster Rugby v London Wasps | Saturday 1 April | Aviva Stadium | 16:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 5/10 | Draw 18/1 | Wasps 7/4
Leinster (-4.5) 17/20 | Wasps (+4.5) 17/20

When I said Leinster are a star-studded outfit I wasn’t trying to draw you in with a touch of hyperbole. Leo Cullen’s really has some superb players at his disposal, with the likes of Jonathon Sexton, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw and Tadgh Furlong all set to take to the Aviva Stadium turf this Saturday.

The men from the east of Ireland enjoyed a solid pool phase campaign, winning four and drawing one of their six fixtures. While it's not exactly a perfect record, it must be remembered that they were pitted in a group that featured Jake White’s Montpellier, a solid Northampton side and a red-hot Castres outfit.

In terms of a game plan, Leinster are likely to go the conservative route during the early stages and look to Irish pivot Jonathon Sexton to dictate proceedings via the boot. They are likely to open up as the game wears on, however, with the centre pairing on Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose set to come to the fore during the second stanza.

The Londoners come into this one off the back of a narrow domestic victory over Worcester, which saw recent recruit, Willie Le Roux, sustain what looks to be a serious concussion. The Springbok and former Cheetahs man is unlikely to take to the field this week due to the mandated concussion protocols.

Wasps will still have a touch of the mercurial out on the field with Kurtley Beale set to line up at fullback. The Wallaby has been in sensational touch since moving to London, and he could prove a real threat to Leinster's defensive line.

Another man to keep an eye on this Saturday is Christian Wade. The flying winger equalled the Wasps try-scoring record by dotting down twice against Worcester last week. While Wade will offer a hell of a lot on attack, he may be caught out on defence, with Leinster likely to bomb a few high up-and-unders onto him. If the diminutive winger can deal with these ‘bombs’ then Leinster will be forced to pack this tactic away.

Verdict: Leinster
As much as I love Wasps' southern hemisphere-esque style of play, I just can’t see it bearing fruit against this experienced Leinster outfit. Avoid the handicap markets and have a straight punt on Leinster at 5/10.

Written by Darry Worthington for!

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