ERCC: Leinster v Montepellier Preview

Irish powerhouse Leinster welcome French Giants Montpellier to the RDS Arena this Saturday afternoon.

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Two of the outsiders for the European Rugby Champions Cup title will clash out in Ireland this Saturday with Leinster taking on Montpellier. The hosts enjoyed a solid campaign last year making it all the way to the semi-finals where they were knocked out by losing finalists Clermont. Montpellier didn't enjoy as solid a campaign as they missed out on qualification for the quarter-finals despite finishing second in their pool.

Ironically enough, this is the second year running that these two sides find themselves grouped in the same pool. Both sides managed to win their home games when they met last year, and Leinster are favoured to keep this sequence running here.

Leinster Rugby v Montpellier Herault | Saturday 14 October | RBS Arena | 14:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 7/20 | Draw 20/1 | Montpellier 24/10
Leinster (-6.5) 9/10 | Montpellier (+6.5) 9/10 

Leinster Rugby
The Irish side will be looking to repeat the trick against Montpellier at the RBS where they ran out 57-3 victors last year. They have enjoyed a solid start to their Pro 14 campaign winning five out of their six fixtures with their only loss coming away to the Free State Cheetahs. They also come into this one off the back of a 23-17 derby victory over Munster which will have been a massive shot in the arm.

Montpellier will provide a much different challenge to the ones Leinster have faced in the Pro 14 thus far. The French club's heavyweight forward pack, which has more South Africans in it than some small towns in the Republic, will test the Irish outfits heavies at the breakdown. If Leinster are to gain parity against the Montpellier monsters they are going to need props Jack McGrath and Tadgh Furlong to excel. The duo have been in great form for club and country and are capable of standing up to the best in the business at scrum time.

Montpellier Herault
Former Scotland coach, Vern Cotter has enjoyed a brilliant start at the helm of Montpellier. The club came in for a heap of criticism during Jake White's tenure with local fans agitated by Montpellier's lack of attacking intent and forward based gameplan. That has all changed under Cotter, with the Montpellier backs now seeing a lot more ball than they had in previous years.

While Cotter's influence has been key, the main reason for Montpellier being so lethal with ball-in-hand has been Aaron Cruden. The All Black has been arguably the Top 14 signing of the season thus far and has got his talented outside backs going with the likes of Frans Steyn and Nemani Nadolo having some of their best games in Montpellier colours with Cruden inside them.

Verdict: Montpellier (+6.5) 9/10 
Vern Cotter's men have enjoyed a solid start to their domestic campaign winning five of their seven fixtures. And while they do come into this one off the back of a loss to Stade, I don't think it will affect them all too much. I can see them getting having a blinder of an ERCC campaign this term and they're certainly a side worth backing on the outright winner market.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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