European Champions Cup Round 4 Preview

Rugby Players engage into a scrum

We're into Round 4 of the European Champions Cup - Munster, Stade  Toulousain, Saracens, Racing, and Edinburgh, top their respective groups. With three more group stage rounds to go, Shaun Goosen takes a look at how the teams will fare this weekend. 



Friday 14 December

Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs
21h45
Kingsholm Stadium

To Win
Gloucester 7/10
Draw 20/1
Exeter Chiefs 11/10

Gloucester’s stunning 27-19 win over Exeter at Sandy Park in Round 3 boosted them to second spot in Pool 2 and all but ended the latter’s playoff aspirations. Johan Ackermann’s men dominated proceedings up front on their way to securing a hard-fought win away from home that will give them huge confidence heading into this weekend’s rematch at the Kingsholm.

Despite having been so unceremoniously dumped out of the competition, Rob Baxter’s men still have pride to play for and will be buoyed by an opportunity to avenge their latest defeat. It should be a seriously tight contest once more.
Verdict: Exeter 11/10
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Ulster v Scarlets
21h45
Kingspan Stadium

To Win
Ulster 1/3
Draw 22/1
Scarlets 22/10

Another enthralling Champions Cup contest played out in Llanelli last weekend as Ulster hung on for a narrow one-point win over the Scarlets. The men from Belfast advanced their playoff hopes with that 25-24 bonus point victory, whilst condemning the Scarlets to a third-straight loss in Pool 4.

Much like the Exeter Chiefs, however, Scarlets will still have pride on the line despite playing in what is an effective dead rubber this weekend. Ulster’s inconsistency may well come back to haunt them on Friday, with a talented Scarlets line-up sure to come back biting.
Verdict: Scarlets 22/10
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Saturday 15 December

Cardiff Blues v Saracens
15h00
BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park

To Win
Cardiff Blues 4/1
Draw 30/1
Saracens 1/7

The Cardiff Blues played arguably their finest half of the season as they took an incredible 18-13 lead heading into the break against Saracens on the weekend. Unfortunately for the men from the Welsh capital, they couldn’t replicate that showing in the second-stanza as the English champions eventually cantered to a resounding 51-25 win.

When the two outfits collide again on Saturday, Sarries will remain favourites to condemn the Blues to a third loss in the competition and advance their cause for a top place finish in Pool 3.
Verdict: Saracens 1/7
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Glasgow Warriors v Lyon
15h00
Scotstoun Stadium

To Win
Glasgow Warriors  1/33
Draw 30/1 
Lyon 8/1

Dave Rennie’s Warriors continued their impressive form this season when they beat Lyon 42-22 in France on the weekend. The result was never really in doubt as the men from Scotland produced a clinical all-round display to score five tries to Lyon’s three.

The French side would have lamented a chance to put some pressure on the likes of Cardiff in Pool 3 but as it stands they sit bottom without a single point to their name. They will get another opportunity on Saturday but may be in for more of the same if they don’t shore up their defence.
Verdict: Glasgow 1/33
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Toulouse v London Wasps
17h15
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win
Toulouse 1/16
Draw 30/1 
London Wasps 13/2

Toulouse have wound back the clock this season. Their most recent 24-16 win over the Wasps in London again showed signs that they really are a team on the up, with the likes of Cheslin Kolbe absolutely tearing it up amongst a truly star-studded squad.

The challenge for them of course is to maintain this level of performance throughout the season and certainly much will be expected of them when they gear up for this weekend’s clash in Round Four. A win for the hosts would take them that much closer to topping Pool 1, while another Wasps loss may see them finish bottom of the pile.
Verdict: Toulouse 1/6
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Castres v Munster
19h30
Stade Pierre Fabre

To Win
Castres 31/20
Draw 20/1 
Munster 5/10

Castres were poor in their 30-5 defeat at Thomond Park and, despite trailing by just six-points at half-time, never really seemed in it. Christophe Urios will expect better things from his Top 14 champions on Saturday, though, when they tackle Munster for a second in succession.

The Irishmen can stretch their advantage at the summit of Pool 2 with another win, but Castres will be gunning for an opportunity to haul them back with one of their own.
Verdict: Castres 31/20
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Leinster v Bath Rugby
19h30
Aviva Stadium

To Win
Leinster 1/50
Draw 30/1 
Bath Rugby 9/1

The reigning champions and Bath engaged in a highly entertaining matchup at The Rec in Round Three, albeit in a game more suited to purists than casual watchers. In an immense game of attrition, Leinster eventually ground out a 17-10 win to maintain the pressure on Toulouse at the summit of Pool 1.

This weekend’s game at the Aviva may not be as closely contested, however, with Bath set to come up against a hostile Dublin crowd. A win would keep their playoff hopes alive, but not much is expected of them away from home.
Verdict: Leinster 1/50
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Sunday 16 December

Leicester Tigers v Racing 92
15h00
Welford Road

To Win
Leicester Tigers 12/10
Draw 20/1 
Racing 13/20

The Tigers fought bravely in Paris to eventually succumb to a 26-36 loss against a talented Racing line-up and, while they may be sitting in third on Pool 4, can still qualify if several results go their way.

Racing lead the way in the pool and will be expected to claim another win over their English counterparts this weekend, but one can never be too sure considering their haphazard domestic form so far in 2018/19.
Verdict: Leicester 12/10
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Montpellier v Toulon
17h15
GGL Stadium

To Win
Montpellier 12/10
Draw 20/1 
Toulon 13/20

Toulon eventually prevailed in last weekend’s heavyweight French clash in the south to see each of the contestants of Pool 5 in with a shout at qualification. With just five-points separating first from fourth, every game from here on out will be absolutely crucial.

Sunday’s rematch at the GGL offers both sides, currently sitting in third and fourth-place respectively, another grand opportunity to advance their causes. While they have been poor domestically, it is Montpellier who will look to avenge their defeat with a win at home.
Verdict: Montpelier 12/10
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Newcastle Falcons v Edinburgh
17h15
Kingston Park

To Win
Newcastle Falcons 6/10
Draw 20/1 
Edinburgh 13/10

The two surprise leaders of Pool 5 will battle it out again on Sunday after Edinburgh’s 31-13 home victory at Murrayfield. With things so finely poised in their pool, there is still a possibility that either or both teams may still fail to qualify.

Still though, Newcastle will feel confident of claiming a result at home after their lackluster showing last weekend.
Verdict: Newcastle 6/10


Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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