European Rugby Champions Cup: Pool 3 Preview

ERCC: Outright Preview 2018 -2019 Season

The European Rugby Champions Cup will get underway on the weekend of October the 12th. Darry Worthington takes a look at Pool 3 below.

The battle to reach the St James' Park spectacle will get underway this weekend with Round 1 of the 2018/19 European Rugby Champions Cup. A few of the teams in Pool 3 will fancy their chances of making it to the Grand Final in Newcastle in May 2019, particularly 2016/17 Champions - Saracens, who are favourites to top Pool 3.

Pool 3 Teams

  • Saracens
  • Glasgow Warriors
  • Cardiff Blues
  • Lyon

Key Fixtures
  • Sunday 14 October
  • Glasgow Warriors v Saracens
  • Saturday 8 December
  • Lyon v Glasgow Warriors

Players to Watch

  • David Strettle (Wing) Saracens
  • Huw Jones (Centre)  Glasgow Warriors
  • Lionel Beauxis (Fly-half) Lyon
  • Josh Navidi (Flank) Cardiff Blues

Pool Analysis
Pool 3 should provide a lot of entertainment with Saracens, Lyon, and Glasgow all implementing attack-minded game plans.

The Cardiff Blues are by far the most conservative side in the pool, with the 2018/19 European Rugby Challenge Cup holders more focused on maintaining their defensive structures than having a go with ball-in-hand. And while this approach reaped dividends in the second tier last season, it's unlikely to function as well against quality sides like Saracens,

Lyon may not have the same calibre of player as Saracens and Glasgow posses but the plucky little French side could well cause headaches for their illustrious opponents at the Stade Matmut. The Top 14 team have been solid on home soil domestically this term, picking up wins against some of the French Top tiers big guns. If they can repeat the trick in Europe then they may well sneak into the next round of the tournament as one of the best-placed third finishing sides.

With the minnows now out of the way, it's time to look at the two sides who will more than likely duke it out for top honours in this pool. Glasgow have been playing some good rugby this season but they will struggle against a clinical Saracens outfit both home and away. The PRO14 side just don't have the pack to compete with the North London outfit, who, at the time of writing, are unbeaten domestically.

The only chance Glasgow have of topping this group is if they win their opener against Saracens at the Scotstoun Stadium on the 14th of October. This probably won't happen though as Saracens will be looking for a fast start to their European campaign after their shocking showing in last season's edition.

Verdict: Saracens
The North London club have by far the most experienced squad in the tournament. I can see them topping the Pool 1 standings come the close of the round-robin phase. Second-place is likely to go to Glasgow, while Lyon and the Cardiff Blues will be involved in an epic showdown for third.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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