European Champions Cup Round 6 | Pools 1-3 Preview

Rugby Players engage into a scrum

Shaun Goosen previews Pool 1 to Pool 3 of the European Champions Cup fixtures scheduled for the 19th to the 20th of January.

Toulouse v Bath Rugby
20 January 17h15
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win
Toulose 1/25
Draw 33/1
Bath 17/2

While their hopes of topping Pool 1 may be hanging by a thread after succumbing 29-13 at Leinster, Toulouse will still be in with a shout if they manage to beat Bath by at least a bonus point this Sunday. Their aspirations, though, do rely on Leinster losing at Wasps and while this is a rather unlikely scenario, Dai Young’s men shouldn’t be ruled out considering the talent at their disposal.

In any case, the four-time champions are already assured of safe passage into the knockouts having claimed four wins from their five matches thus far. Considering their lofty ambitions this season, they will be hurting after their embarrassing loss in Dublin. Back them to make amends with a big win over a struggling Bath outfit this weekend.
Verdict: Toulouse 1/25

London Wasps v Leinster
20 January 17h15
Ricoh Arena

To Win
Wasps 7/1
Draw 33/1
Leinster 1/6

Leinster once again underlined their status as arguably the best squad in Europe after putting a powerful Toulouse side to the sword at the RDS last weekend. Considering the fact that they pretty much fielded a second-string side and still managed to blow the French outfit off the park, a lot will be expected of them in the knockouts once they’re back to full strength.

While Wasps do have plenty of talented individuals in their ranks and should hence never be totally discounted, they will need to put in a performance for the ages to upset this steamrolling Leinster side on Sunday. Currently bottom of the pool and with very little confidence heading into this one, Wasps may just be overwhelmed at home.
Verdict: Leinster 1/6

Munster v Exeter Chiefs
19 January 19h30
Thomond Park

To Win
Munster 7/20
Draw 25/1
Exeter Chiefs 22/10

Having booked their place in the playoffs after thrashing Gloucester 41-15 away from home, Munster will be determined to hang on to top spot when they take on second-placed Exeter on Saturday. With the exceptional Joey Carbery scoring 26-points last week, Munster strolled to victory over Johan Ackermann’s side. Their forward power play was too much for the Englishmen to handle, as CJ Stander and the like dominated proceedings up front.

Exeter, though, have a rather formidable pack themselves and will need to call upon every last ounce of their strength to match the Munstermen in Limerick. Having initially seemed down and out of the competition, Rob Baxter’s men are now just an upset win away from qualification to the quarterfinals. With so much riding on this one, expect Munster’s European experience to come to the fore to earn them a fourth win of the campaign and possibly deny Exeter a playoff place.
Verdict: Munster 7/20

Castres Olympique v Gloucester
19 January 19h30
Stade Pierre Fabre

To Win
Castres Olympique 1/3
Draw 20/1
Exeter Chiefs 24/10

While both Castres and Gloucester will be relying on a Munster win against Exeter to give them a shot at sneaking into second, they must first secure victory over one another to keep their slender European hopes alive. Gloucester require nothing less than a big bonus point win after being thrashed by Munster a week ago. Their points difference (-39) may be a shade better than Castres’ (-47) but this will come to nought if they cannot overcome their opponents this week along with a Munster win.

The reining French champions will be expected to get the result at home, but even that may not be enough for Christophe Urios’ men.
Verdict: Castres 1/3

Saracens v Glasgow Warriors
19 January 15h00
Allianz Park

To Win
Saracens 1/10 
Draw 30/1
Glasgow Warriors 11/2

With both sides having already secured qualification to the knockouts, Saturday’s clash at Allianz Park will centre around which team ends up topping Pool 3. Mark McCall’s men triumphed in October’s meeting in Glasgow (13-3) and will be aiming to keep intact their 100% record in the competition to set up an easier path to the last four with another win this weekend.

The Warriors, meanwhile, can steal first place away from the Londoners with a bonus point win themselves. While Dave Rennie’s charges can be a force to be reckoned with on their day, they will find the going tough against a Saracens outfit that knows what it takes to win important European matches.
Verdict: Saracens 1/10

Cardiff Blues v Lyon
19 January 15h00
BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park

To Win
Cardiff 1/8
Draw 28/1
Lyon 5/1

Both Cardiff and Lyon have endured difficult European campaigns this term with the former having claimed just one victory while the French side remain win-less. The Blues’ sole victory (30-21) came at the home of Lyon back in October which will give them a massive confidence boost heading into this weekend despite their questionable form of late.

Lyon can finish in third with a big victory in Wales on Saturday and while they may claim four points, it may still not be enough to avoid the wooden spoon.
Verdict: Lyon 5/1

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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