ERCC: Leinster v Exeter Chiefs Preview

Leinster and the Exeter Chiefs will go head-to-head in a mouth-watering European Rugby Champions Cup clash on Saturday the 16th of December.

Leinster’s 18-8 win at Sandy Park last week brought up a century of wins for the club in the top-tier of European club competitions, and they will be looking to extend that record by one more when Exeter visit the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. The Irishmen seem to be well in control of the “Pool of Death”, having won all three of their fixtures, but the Chiefs will want to take them down a peg and make up for some lost ground.

Leinster Rugby v Exeter Chiefs | Saturday 16 December | Aviva Stadium | 17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster 2/7 | Draw 22/1 | Exeter 11/4

Leinster

Johnny Sexton produced a typically brilliant display as he guided his beloved Leinster side to victory at Exeter last week. The flyhalf’s all-round influence was just too hot for the Chiefs to handle. Last week's, Sexton-inspired, hard-fought win against the English champions perhaps underlined their status as one of the competition favourites this season; especially with the likes of Saracens and Toulon producing some less than convincing performances.

The Aviva Stadium is nothing short of a fortress for Leo Cullen’s side, who have been undefeated their all season, and common sense does suggest that they will head into this Saturday’s rematch as heavy favourites.

Last week, Leinster controlled both the territory (62%) and possession stats (60%), while completing 90% of their tackles in some very tough conditions. The way in which they ground out the victory proves just how much character there is in this Leinster side, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the Chiefs will come roaring back for this one; indeed, the Irishmen will need to summon every ounce of that character if they are to claim a double over the club from Devon.

Exeter

The English champions, who have some seriously lofty ambitions this European season, will be hurting after their uncharacteristic display last week. For a Chiefs side not to have dominated the territory and possession stakes is not exactly something to which their home faithful are accustomed, and they will need some proper regrouping ahead of this Saturday’s tough fixture in Dublin.

With some better rugby-playing conditions expected for this weekend, Exeter will hold on to the hope that they will manage to produce a better all-round display. They certainly looked most dangerous with ball in hand last time out and, if they can wrestle most of the possession away from Sexton et al., they could well be in with a shout of causing a massive upset at the Aviva, especially if their dangerous loose trio also turns up to the party.

Verdict: Leinster 2/7
As good a side as Exeter are, Leinster proved last week that they are simply a cut above them. Playing in Dublin, and on the basis of how well they controlled proceedings a week ago, Leinster should remain in pole position in Pool-3 with another victory here.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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