Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Rugby Challenge Cup: Round 6 Preview

European Rugby Challenge Cup: Round 6 Preview

James Hall of Stade Francais passes the ball from the base of a ruck

Darry Worthington takes a look at the final set of 2019/20 European Challenge Cup Pool phase fixtures.

There's a whole lot to play for in the final round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup pool phase with each second-placed pool team in with a shout of claiming a spot in knock-out phase.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.

Dragons v Ensei-STM
Friday 17 January
Rodney Parade

To Win Match
Dragons N/A (-42.5) 9/10
Draw 40/1
Ensei 20/1 (+42.5) 9/10

The Dragons will be looking for a big win over minnows Ensei-STM when the two sides square off in Wales on Friday evening.

The hosts currently sit level with Pool 1's second-placed side, the Worcester Warriors with both teams having accrued 15 points from their five fixtures. The Dragons have a superior point head-to-head points difference over Worcester so a bonus-point win here would see them advance to the next round.

Verdict: Dragon (-42.5) 9/10
Ensei have once again been the tournament's whipping boys and I think they'll concede a number of points here again. My money is on the hosts clearing the cap.

Worcester Warriors v Castres
Friday 17 January
Sixways Stadium

To Win Match
Worcester 1/3 (-7.5) 9/10
Draw 22/1
Castres 22/10 (+7.5) 9/10

Next up, Worcester and Castres will square off in a vitally important fixture with the hosts needing a win and the visitors needing at least a bonus point and keep the scoreline within less than a seven-point losing margin to ensure qualification.

When the two sides last square off Castres ran out 17-9 victors in France. Worcester will fancy their chances of winning the reverse tie, however, as French sides tend to struggle on the road.

Verdict: Worcester 1/3
This is a pretty narrow handicap and I'm not confident either way. I do, however, believe that the Worcester 1/3 straight win can add a bit of meat to your weekend multiples. 

Cardiff Blues v Rugby Calivisano
Saturday 18 January
Cardiff Arms Park

To Win Match (Price TBA)

We kick Saturday's proceedings off with a Cardiff Blues side who have a small chance of making it to the quarter-finals taking on a Calivisano team with absolutely nothing to play for.

The visitors have endured a poor old season, losing their last five Pool fixtures and conceding a staggering 225 points. That points aggregate could get a whole lot worse this weekend as Cardiff will be looking to run up a big score and increase their chances of advancing to the next phase of the competition.

Verdict: Cardiff
The Blues will be gunning for a try-scoring bonus point and I can see them achieving it without really breaking a sweat. My money is on the hosts taking it by 25 points or more.

Pau v Leicester Tigers
Saturday 18 January
Stade du Hameau

To Win Match (Price TBA)

Saturday's second fixture will see French side Pau take on English Club Leicester. The Tigers have already secured top spot on the Pool 5 standings so are likely to send a weakened side out to France. Pau, on the other hand, need the win to advance to the next phase.

When the two sides met back in Round 1 the Tigers dominated proceedings to run out 41-20 victors at Welford Road.

Verdict: Pau
A full-strength Pau side should have no trouble getting one over a second strength Tigers outfit. My money is on the hosts taking this one by more than 10 points.

Zerbe v Bristol Bears
Saturday 18 January
Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

To Win Match (Price TBA)

Zebre will be looking to do the unthinkable and register a bonus point victory over a Bristol Bears side that are yet to lose a pool phase game this term. The hosts currently lie on 11 points and would need a five-point haul and results to go there way, to advance to the next phase. Conversely, Bristol have already qualified for the next round and are likely to send a weakened side over to Italy.

Verdict: Zebre
While I think Zebre may well win this one they are unlikely to claim a bonus point.

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