Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Challenge Cup: Round 5 Preview

European Challenge Cup: Round 5 Preview

Semi RADRADRA WAQAVATU of Bordeaux

The penultimate round of the 2019/20 European Rugby Challenge Cup will get underway this Saturday. Darry Worthington previews all the Round 5 action below. 

We're in for an action-packed weekend of rugby with both the Heineken Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup reaching their penultimate phases this coming weekend.

While the Heineken Champions Cup will attract most of the focus, there may be better punting value to be found in the Challenge Cup with a number of play-off positions still up for grabs.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
All betting to be added on release

Bordeaux Begles v Edinburgh Rugby
Saturday 11 January
Stade Chaban Delmas
15:45

To Win (80 Mins)
Bordeaux
Draw
Edinburgh

We start things off on Saturday with a clash between French club Bordeaux and Scottish outfit Edinburgh. Only one-point separates the two sides on the Pool 3 standings with the hosts currently occupying top spot in the pool. A win for either side would secure their passage to the next round with a week to spare.

In terms of recent form, both teams have been in great touch with Glasgow winning four of their last five fixtures across all competitions and Bordeaux winning all five. When the duo met in Round 2 the game ended in a 16-16 draw.

Verdict: Bordeaux
Like the first encounter, I reckon this one will be tight which is why any plus handicap over four points should be backed. I do feel the hosts will come out on top, however.

Calivisano v Pau
Saturday 11 January
Pata Stadium
16:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Calivisano
Draw
Pau

Jale VATUABA of Pau
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.

Next up we have Italian minnows Calvisano taking on French side Pau. The hosts have endured a dire return back to European competition and head into this one having lost all four of their games and carrying a -132 points differential.

Pau have fared slightly better this term winning two of their four fixtures. They are still in with an outside chance of claiming qualification to the next phase of the tournament and they'll be gunning for a bonus point here.

Verdict: Pau
When the two sides met in Round 2 Pau ran out 61-10 victors. While I don't see the winning margin being as big as the last time around I can still see the visitors winning by more than 25 points.

Castres v Dragons
Saturday 11 January
Stade Pierre-Fabre
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Castres
Draw
Dragons

Castres celebrate a try
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Castres tackle the Dragons in our next fixture. The hosts currently sit two points off the pace of their opponents in Pool 1 with the Dragons leading the standings on 15 points.

When the sides met in Round 1 the Dragons ran out victors by a margin of 14 points.

The hosts have struggled on the domestic front over the past fortnight losing to Toulon before going down heavily to Clermont in the Top 14. The Dragons found the going slightly easier in the PRO 14 losing to the Cardiff Blues by four points before bouncing back to beat the Ospreys by seven points.

Verdict: Castres
Home ground advantage should see the hosts to a win in the region between 7 and 14 points.

Stade Francais v Zebre
Saturday 11 January
Stade Jean Bouin
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Stade
Draw
Zebre

James HALL of Stade Francais
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.

We continue the French theme in the next fixture with Stade Francais taking on Italian side Zebre. Both teams are enjoying horrid seasons and are out of the running for a spot in the next phase having only won four of their pool phase fixtures.

Stade got the better of their opponents when they squared off in Round 2 edging the game in Italy 12-13.

Verdict: Stade
The French side have shown a slight improvement in recent weeks and I can see them winning this one by more than 12 points.

Agen v Wasps
Saturday 11 January
Stade Armandie
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen
Draw
Wasps

Enrico Januarie of Agen
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Next up it's French minnows Agen taking on English club Wasps. Both sides have struggled this term and are out of the running for a knock-out berth as Wasps have only won one game and Agen are yet to claim a victory.

Wasps solitary victory in this season's tournament came against Agen in England back in Round 2, where they ran out  32-14 victors.

Verdict: Wasps
While Wasps are enduring a poor season both in Europe and on the domestic front I still cannot see them failing to clear any handicap below 18 points.

Worcester Warriors v Ensei STM
Saturday 11 January
Sixways Stadium
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Worcester
Draw
Ensei

Niall ANNETT of Worcester Warriors
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Worcester Warriors will be looking to claim the full five-point haul when they take on perennial whipping boys, Ensei STM.

The visitors head into this one rooted to the bottom of Pool 1 with a -98 points differential. Worcester, on the other hand, still have an outside chance of qualifying for the next round as they are only five points behind the pool's first placed side, the Dragons.

Verdict: Worcester
I'm expecting a massive scoreline here as Worcester will be searching for points. My money is the hosts winning this one by more than 30 points.

Bristol Bears v CA Brive
Saturday 11 January
Ashton Gate
17:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Bristol
Draw
Brive

Nick STIRZAKER of Bristol and Arthur COVILLE of Stade Francais
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Bristol Bears will be looking to secure passage to the next phase of the Challenge Cup when they lock horns with French side CA Brive.

The English club are enjoying a brilliant Challenge Cup having won or four of their opening four fixtures.

Brive have been less prolific and only have two wins from their four games. They need to win this one if they are to have a chance of advancing to the next phase of the tournament.

Verdict: Bristol
The last time these sides met Bristol ran out 0-36 victors. I can see them doing that again and clearing any margin less than 30 points.

Bayonne v London Irish
Saturday 11 January
Stade Juan-Dauger
19:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Bayonne
Draw
Irish

Michael RURU of Bayonne
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Bayonne and London Irish will go head-to-head in what is nothing but a dead rubber in Saturday's penultimate fixture.

The hosts have lost all four of their Challenge Cup fixtures and sit at the foot of Pool 2 with a -70 points differential. Irish haven't fared much better with their sole victory in the tournament being their 45-31 Round 2 victory over this weekend's opponents.

Verdict: Bayonne
Both teams will field weakened sides which is why I'd avoid this one. If you must have a punt, I'd recommend backing the hosts.

Scarlets v Toulon
Saturday 11 January
Parc Y Scarlets
22:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Scarlets
Draw
Toulon

Steff Evans of the Scarlets
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports


Saturday's final fixture should be a rather intriguing one with the Scarlets and Toulon squaring off in a top off Pool 1 clash.

The visitors currently hold a four-point lead over their opponents, whom they beat 17-16 when the two sides met at the Stade Mayol back in Round 2.

Both teams head into this one in great touch with the hosts only losing one of their last five fixtures across all competitions and the visitors winning four and drawing one of their last five.

Verdict: Scarlets
I think this one is destined to go the way of the home side.

Leicester Tigers v Cardiff Blues
Sunday 12 January
Welford Road
17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Leicester
Draw
Cardiff

Telusa Veainu of Leicester makes a break
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

The Leicester Tigers and Cardiff Blues will bring the curtain down on Round 5 when they square off at Welford road in what will be a vital Pool 5 encounter.

Both teams are well and truly in the running for a playoff spot with the Tigers only really needing a couple of bonus points to assure themselves of a place in the next phase of the tournament. Two losing bonus points for the Blues would also see them head into the final week of the tournament with a massive shot at making the knock-out phase.

The hosts have enjoyed a great pool phase campaign and are unbeaten in their four fixtures. Cardiff's only defeat, thus far, came at the hands of the Tigers who beat them 11-14 in Round 2.

Verdict: Leicester
The Blues will give Leicester a run but ultimately the hosts will come out on top by a very narrow margin.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets.

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