European Champions Cup: Round 5 (Pool 4 and 5) Preview

Rugby Players engage into a scrum

The European Rugby Champions Cup enters its penultimate pool phase round this coming weekend. Darry Worthington previews all the Pool 4 and 5 action below.

The penultimate round of the European Rugby Champions Cup is set to be an absolute cracker with a number of teams still in the hunt for a spot in the knock-out phase.

Montpellier v Newcastle Falcons
Saturday 12 January
Altrad Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Montpellier 1/12
Draw 30/1
Newcastle 13/2

The first fixture we'll take a look at is the Pool 5 clash between Montpellier and Newcastle. Both teams desperately need the win to ensure they're in the running for a place in the play-off round come next weekend's final set of pool fixtures. The hosts are currently in the driver's seat in this regard as they sit in second spot, three points clear of Newcastle.

The Falcons have endured a tough time of it domestically this term and head into the game off the back of a 17-38 home loss to Harlequins. Montpellier were just as poor on the domestic front last weekend as they went down 14-25 to Lyon.

Verdict: Montpellier 1/12
I just cannot see Montpellier losing this one at home. The Falcons have been poor in the Gallagher Premiership and they're a side that's ripe for the taking. I can see the hosts claiming a bonus point win with a victory in excess of 12 points.

Ulster v Racing Metro 92
Saturday 12 January
Kingspan Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Ulster 5/4
Draw 20/1
Racing 13/20

Next up it's the Pool 4 clash between pool leaders Racing Metro and second-placed Ulster. The visitors just need two bonus points to ensure their participation in the next phase of the competition, while Ulster will still be in a solid position to qualify for the knock-out phase should they claim two losing bonus points from this one.

The visitors head into the clash off the back of a subdued nine-point Top 14 victory over domestic foes Toulon, while Ulster went down by 33 points to local rivals Leinster in the PRO14 last weekend.

Verdict: Racing 13/20
Look, Racing aren't the best of travellers but they do possess a far more talented squad than their foes. I can see the visitors edging a close fought affair out in Ireland.

Scarlets v Leicester Tigers
Saturday 12 January
Parc ye Scarlets

To Win (80 Mins)
Scarlets 7/20
Draw 20/1
Leicester 12/10

The Pool 4 action continues on Saturday evening with Scarlets playing hosts to English club Leicester. The hosts are rooted to the foot of the Pool 4 standings and have no chance of advancing to the next phase of the competition, while Leicester would need a minor miracle to secure a spot in the knockout phase as one of the best-placed pool runners up as they only have six points to their names.

In terms of recent form, Leicester make the short trip to Wales off the back of a 34-16 Gallagher Premiership victory over Gloucester, while the Scarlets come into this one having beaten local rivals Gwent 22-13 in a PRO 14 derby.

Verdict: Leicester 12/10
Both teams will field extremely weakened sides, so don't expect to be familiar with every player that takes to the field at Parc ye Scarlets. In all honesty, I'm going to avoid this one, but if you must have a bet I'd recommend baking the visitors for minimal money.

Toulon v Edinburgh
Saturday 12 January
Stade Felix-Mayol

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulon 53/100
Draw 25/1
Edinburgh 15/10

We round out the Pool 4 and 5 preview with a clash between French giants Toulon and in-form Scottish outfit Edinburgh. The hosts have endured a poor season both domestically and in Europe and currently sit at the foot of the Pool 5 standings with little hope of qualifying for the knockout phase.

Edinburgh, on the other hand, are having a great season and only need two points from this game to book a spot in the knock-out phase,

Verdict: Edinburgh 15/10
The in-form Scots offer great value at 15/0. Toulon have struggled this term, and without injured centre Malakai Feikitoa they are a far weaker side. I'll be having a solid strike on the away team this weekend. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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