ERCC: Ulster v Wasps Preview

Ulster and Wasps will get the 2017/18 European Rugby Champion Cup underway when they go head-to-head on Friday the 13th of October.

Anglo-Irish rivalries will be renewed for the first time this season when Ulster host Wasps this Friday evening. The English side head to Ireland having endured a torrid start to their Aviva Premiership campaign. Ulster, on the other hand, have been in red-hot form in the Pro 14 winning five out of their six matches.

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So will the Champions Cup offer some respite for Wasps or will heir miserable start to the 2017/18 season continues at the Kingspan Stadium?

Ulster Rugby v London Wasps | Friday 13 October | Kingspan Stadium | 20:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Ulster 5/10 | Draw | Wasps 7/4
Ulster (-6.5) 9/10| Wasps (+6.5) 9/10 *Please note expected handicap

Ulster Rugby
The Ulstermen come into this one as strong favourites with the 'books mainly due to their solid start to their Pro 14 campaign. The Irish outfit have won five out of their six Pro 14 fixtures with their only loss coming away to Zebre. The aforementioned result was a massive shock as Zebre were expected to be one of the whipping boys in the tournament. It was more a case of the Ulstermen having an off day rather than Zebre tearing them apart. Ulster will have to ensure they pitch up at home this Friday as while Wasps are struggling at the minute, the English side are more than capable of upsetting the applecart.

The hosts really do have a talented squad, particularly their backline personnel which includes the likes of former All Black Charles Pitau and Irish veteran Andrew Trimble. Hopefully, the Irish weather gods play ball this week because, if they do, we could be in for a cracking game of rugby with both sides certain to try and get their talented outside backs into the game.

London Wasps
The Coventry outfit had another week to forget as they went down 38-19 to Saracens this past Sunday. The loss was their fourth of the season and has seen them drop way down to 10th position on the Aviva Premiership standings. Coach Dai Young may actually be a relieved man to have European Rugby this weekend as it offers his side some respite from what has been a dreadful start to their domestic campaign.

Wasps will need to hit the ground running in Europe if they are to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition a la the 2016/17 season where they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Ulster's big rivals Leinster. The Londoners find themselves in an extremely tough pool that features La Rochelle and domestic rivals Harlequins so a lot could hinge on this result despite it being so early in the season.

Verdict: Ulster 5/10
Wasps really are going to struggle this year due to their injury crisis. I can see ulster putting a similar score to the one Saracens put over this beleaguered Wasps outfit last Sunday afternoon.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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