Challenge Cup Northampton v Clermont Preview

European Rugby Challenge Cup: Outright Preview

Two of the outright favourites will lock horns in Round 1 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup with the Northampton Saints playing host to Clermont Auvergne on Saturday the 13th of October.

There's a bit of extra draw to this year's European Rugby Challenge Cup with European glamour sides such as the two that will do battle on adding more intrigue to a tournament that is often overlooked.

Friday night's opener should be an absolute cracker with decorated English club Northampton playing host to the 2016/17 runners-up Clermont. Both these sides will fancy their chances of lifting the cup and will keen to underline their credentials on Friday evening.

Northampton Saints v Clermont Auvergne
Saturday 13 October
Franklin's Gardens

To Win (80 Mins)
Northampton 23/10
Draw 25/1
Clermont 9/10

The Saints find themselves dining at a three-star restaurant this year having dropped out of the European Rugby Champions Cup. Nevertheless, the men from Northampton will be eager to take this trophy as it would end a long-running barren streak in Europe.

They face an almighty acid test first up with tournament favourites Clermont coming to town. The visitors have enjoyed a rollicking start to their domestic campaign and sit at the of the Top 14 ladder with only two losses from their seven games.

Northampton haven't enjoyed as solid a start to their Premiership campaign only winning two of their opening four fixtures. They also head into this one off the back of a 15-23 home defeat to the Leicester Tigers.

It must be strange for Clermont fans to see their side in the second tier of Europe's elite competition. I mean this is a team that won the Top 14 two year's ago and was competing in the European Champions Cup Grand Final.

There is a ray of sunshine for Clermont fans, however, as their side really should take this season's Challenge Cup. Their squad is far superior to any of the other teams playing in it and they really should have no troubles advancing to the final.

While Northampton have struggled for form this year, Clermont have had no such issues winning five of their opening seven Top 14 fixtures. They do head into this one off the back of a somewhat surprising 16-12 away defeat to La Rochelle, however.

Verdict: Clermont 9/10
While French sides aren't the greatest of travellers I can still see Clermont taking the spoils here. My money is on the visitors winning it by six points or more. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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