Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Heineken Champions Cup: Round 5 (Pools 3, 4 and 5) Preview

Heineken Champions Cup: Round 5 (Pools 3, 4 and 5) Preview

Clermont forwards have discussion before scrum

Shaun Goosen takes a look at this weekend's Heineken Champions Cup fixtures from Pool three, four and five. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Friday 10 January

Bath v Harlequins
Recreation Ground

To Win Match
Bath 9/10
Draw 20/1
Harlequins 9/10

Ruaridh McConnochie of Bath Rugby
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

While both sides may be out of playoff contention, there will still be pride to play for when Bath welcome Harlequins to the Rec on Friday.

The hosts have lost all four of their Pool 3 encounters this season, which includes a 15-9 defeat by the Quins at the Stoop. Domestically, they are four from eight.

While the equally mediocre Quins are three from eight in the Premiership, their five Pool C Champions Cup points is two more than Bath have managed so far. That said, Bath should leapfrog their English foes with a win at home on Friday.

Verdict: Bath by five or more

Saturday 11 January

Clermont Auvergne v Ulster
Stade Marcel Michelin

To Win Match
Clermont 1/3
Draw 25/1
Ulster 24/10

Sebastien VAHAAMAHINA of Clermont
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Clermont can summit Pool C with a crucial win over Ulster at the Stade Marcel Michelin on Saturday.

The reigning Challenge Cup holders may have one win less than Ulster after their defeat at Ravenhill earlier this season but can overtake them into first place ahead of the final round-robin weekend.

Ulster, though, were phenomenal in a 38-17 Pro14 drubbing of Munster last week. If they can take that form into this trip and claim a win, they would have all but wrapped up the Pool.

An upset does seem unlikely, however, with Clermont always so deadly at home. They should be good enough to take it.

Verdict: Clermont by 12 points

Ospreys v Saracens
Liberty Stadium

Wenceslas LAURET of Racing 92 scores a try during the European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 4 match between Racing 92 and Saracens on November 17, 2019
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Lowly Ospreys will be hoping for a magical performance to see off Saracens at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

The Welsh club is languishing at the bottom of Conference A in the Pro14 after picking up just one win in 10, while they are still naught from four in Europe.

That record doesn’t look set to change this weekend, as the reigning champions pay a visit to Swansea.

Sarries sit third in the Pool, trailing Munster by a single point. With the latter playing away in Paris on Sunday, a win should be enough to see Mark McCall’s men leapfrog them into playoff position.

Verdict: Saracens by 14 points

Connacht v Toulouse
Galway Greyhound Stadium

To Win Match
Connacht 21/10
Draw 22/1
Toulouse 7/20

Cheslin Kolbe of Toulouse
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
A win over Toulouse can keep third-placed Connacht in playoff contention at the Galway Greyhound Stadium on Saturday.

Despite having one more win (two) from their four games than second-placed Gloucester, the Irishmen find themselves trailing their English counterparts by one point in the Pool.

A loss this weekend could spell the end for them with a trip to Montpellier still to come.

Meanwhile, with the Pool as good as won, Toulouse will need to avoid complacency this Saturday to keep intact their unbeaten record. That said, Connacht’s desire may see them end that perfect start.

Verdict: Connacht by five

Gloucester v Montpellier
Kingsholm Stadium

To Win Match
Gloucester 1/7
Draw 25/1
Montpellier 9/2

Handre POLLARD of Montpellier
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Gloucester can end Montpellier’s slim playoff hopes with a win at the Kingsholm on Saturday.

The Englishmen are in second despite winning just one of their matches so far. With a tricky away fixture in Toulouse to come, a W for them here would go a long way to ensuring they remain alive in the competition.

Montpellier, meanwhile, are seriously up against it. Consecutive bonus-point wins can do it for them, but they’ll need to call on all their might if they are to begin on Saturday. They may fall short this weekend.

Verdict: Gloucester by five

Sunday 12 January

Racing 92 v Munster
La Défense Arena

To Win Match
Racing 1/4
Draw 25/1
Munster 28/10

Francois TRINH DUC of Racing
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Racing 92 can win Pool 4 with victory over Munster at La Défense Arena on Sunday.

The Parisian outfit are six points ahead of second-placed Munster and will wrap up top spot if they can beat them at home.

Johann van Graan’s men on the other hand, are in serious danger of missing out on qualification. A loss here will determine just how much energy they need to put into next week’s home tie against Ospreys.

Munster were dismal in last week’s big loss at Ulster and will be under even more pressure to deliver now that Joey Carbery has been ruled out indefinitely. You’d have to fancy the hosts for this one.

Verdict: Racing 92 by 12 points

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets.

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