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
20:00

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
20:00

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
13:00

To Win Match (Price TBA)
Cardiff
Draw
Calivisano

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
14:00

To Win Match (Price TBA)
Pau
Draw
Tigers

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
15:00

To Win Match (Price TBA)
Zebre
Draw
Bristol

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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