Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Heineken Champions Cup: Round 6 Preview

Heineken Champions Cup: Round 6 Preview

Cheslin Kolbe of Toulon looks at scrum

Darry Worthington and Shaun Goosen preview the final Pool stage matches of this season's Heineken Champions Cup. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Pool 1

Lyon v Northampton
Saturday 18 January
Stade Gerland

To Wins Match
Lyon 7/4
Draw 20/1
Northampton 9/20

Demba Bamba and Hamza Kaabeche of Lyon
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Lyon are likely to field an extremely weakened side this Saturday as they have no hope of advancing to the next round. This will be music to the Saints' ears who currently sit in a solid position to claim a runners-up berth with 14 log points to their name. A bonus-point win here for the visitors would pretty much assure them of a berth in the knock-out phase.

The two sides have been in decent touch over the past three weeks with Lyon winning their two fixtures prior to going down heavily to Leinster, while Northampton have won their last three with their most recent victory seeing them beat Treviso by 13 points.

Verdict: Northampton 9/20
The Saints will be gunning for a bonus point win here and I think they may well get it against what is likely to be a very weak Lyon side.

Treviso v Leinster
Saturday 18 January
Stadio Comunale di Monigo

To Win Match
Treviso 13/2
Draw 35/1
Leinster 1/16

Leinster together in a huddle
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Treviso and Leinster will square off in what is a dead rubber to end all dead rubbers. The visitors have already secured qualification to the quarter-finals while the hosts sit at the foot of the Pool 1 standings with only one win from their five fixtures.

In terms of recent form, Treviso have lost their last two fixtures going down 19-38 to the Glasgow Warriors in the PRO14 and then suffering a 33-20 loss to Northampton in last weekend's Round 5 Heineken Cup action. Leinster continued their unbeaten start to the 2019/20 season as they beat Lyon 42-14. This was their second mammoth win in the fortnight with their previous fixture seeing them hammer Connacht 54-7 in the PRO14.

Verdict: Leinster 1/16
While they will send a very young side to Italy, I can still see Leinster winning this one by more than 18 points.

Pool 2

Exeter Chiefs v La Rochelle
Saturday 18 January
Sandy Park

To Win Match
Exeter 1/100
Draw 30/1
La Rochelle 11/1

Paul Jordaan of La Rochelle
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Exeter are likely to face a second-strength La Rochelle side this Saturday as the French club are out of the running for a quarter-final berth. The hosts, on the other hand, have already secured their spot in the next phase of the tournament and cannot be usurped at the top of the Pool 2 standings. As such, Exeter are likely to field a youthful side so as to avoid unnecessary injuries.

La Rochelle head into this one in solid touch having won four of their last five fixtures with their only defeat being a 20-15 Top 14 loss to Bordeaux. Exeter have fared even better winning four of their last five while drawing another.

When these two sides met in the reverse fixture, Exeter ran out 12-31 victors in France.

Verdict: Exeter 1/100
While the Cheifs won't be at full strength they'll have no problems beating La Rochelle. My money is on the hosts taking it by more than 17 points.

Sale v Glasgow Warriors
Saturday 18 January
AJ Bell Stadium

To Win Match
Sale 31/20
Draw 20/1
Warriors 5/10

Sale and Glasgow Clash
We close out the preview with a clash between the Sale Sharks and a Glasgow Warriors side that need a minor miracle to qualify for the next phase of the tournament. The hosts currently sit second on the Pool standings but only have 12 points to their name while Saracens and Gloucester - who both sit second in their respective pools - have 14 and Ulster - who lie second in Pool 3 - have 17. So in order to qualify, Glasgow would need to win this one while either Saracens or Gloucester lose their ties.

The Sharks have been pretty hit-and-miss in recent weeks only winning two of their last five fixtures. They head into Saturday's encounter having gone down 30-23 to La Rochelle last weekend. Glasgow have also been patchy winning two of their last five while drawing 31-31 with Exeter last weekend.

Verdict: Glasgow 5/10
The Warriors have actually looked pretty good recently and they would have one last weekend had they got the bounce of the ball. I think they may well win this one with a bonus point. 

Pool 3

Harlequins v Clermont Auvergne
Saturday 18 January
Twickenham Stoop

To Win Match
Harlequins 4/1
Draw 25/1
Clermont 1/6

Paul JEDRASIAK of Clermont
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.
Clermont can seal top spot in Pool 3 with a win over Harlequins at The Stoop on Saturday.

The Challenge Cup champions are three points ahead of Ulster on the standings with this the final round to play. They will expect to beat the side they put 50 points past earlier this season and will look to give themselves the easiest route through the playoffs.

Quins did well to beat Bath away last week but won’t stop the Frenchmen.

Verdict: Clermont 1/6
Clermont should prove too strong for a hit-and-miss Harlequins outfit. 

Ulster v Bath
18 January 2020
Ravenhill Stadium

To Win Match
Ulster 1/33
Draw 30/1
Bath 9/1

Ulster in a huddle
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.
Ulster can keep their slim hopes of winning Pool 3 alive when they host Bath at Ravenhill on Saturday.

A win for the men from Belfast, coupled with a Clermont loss, will see them finish first. If not, a bonus-point victory should be enough to see them through to the playoffs.

For the inconsistent Bath, with nothing tangible to play for, they may be fighting a losing battle.

Verdict: Ulster by 12
The Irish province will prove too much for what will likely be a second-string Bath outfit to handle. 

Pool 4

Munster v Ospreys
Sunday 19 January
Thomond Park

To Win Match
Munster 1/100
Draw 30/1
Ospreys 11/1

Conor Murray of Munster
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Munster can still qualify for one of the three best runners-up spots with a bonus-point win over Ospreys on Sunday.

Gaining five log points would see them in with the slightest chance, depending, of course, on the result of the Saracens game with Racing 92. Currently, Munster are third in the Pool after defeat in Paris last week.

Ospreys, a side that has lost all five of its fixtures to date, won’t stand in the Red Army’s way.

Verdict: Munster by 15
Munster should canter to victory against an Ospreys side who have been woefully our of their depth in continental competition this season. 

Saracens v Racing 92
Sunday 19 January
Allianz Park

To Win Match
Saracens 1/10
Draw 30/1
Racing 5/1

Racing 92 players celebrate a try
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports.
Saracens can qualify for the knockouts with a bonus-point win over Racing 92 at Allianz Park on Sunday.

The defending champions were given a boost following Racing’s defeat of Munster last week and should qualify with a big win at home. After a rocky start that included two losses from their opening three rounds, they will grab the chance with both hands.

It won’t be easy, though. Racing proved last time out what a powerful outfit they are, and they won’t simply roll over and die. That said, the Englishmen should still achieve their objective here; even if it is by the slightest of margins.

Verdict: Saracens 1/10
Saracens should have just enough quality at Allianz Park to get the win they need to qualify for the knockout phase of the competition.

Pool 5

Montpellier v Connacht
Sunday 19 January
Altrad Stadium

To Win Match
Montpellier 1/6
Draw 25/1
Connacht 4/1

Lena CHILACHAVA of Montpellier gets tackled
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports. 
Montpellier can earn some respite from what has otherwise been a disappointing campaign with a win over Connacht at the Altrad Stadium on Sunday.

Xavier Garbajosa’s men have recorded just one win from their five matches and will finish bottom of Pool 5 with another loss this weekend.

In Connacht, three points ahead of them in third and also fighting to avoid finishing last, they face an opponent just as desperate to avoid defeat as them. It may be a scrappy affair, but Montpellier’s superior class and personnel should get them over the line.

Verdict: Montpellier 1/6
Back the French side to get the business done in front of their home faithful.

Toulouse v Gloucester
Sunday 19 January
Stade Ernest-Wallon

To Win Match
Toulouse 1/10
Draw 30/1
Gloucester 5/1

Thomas RAMOS of Toulouse
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports
Toulouse will want to retain their 100% record in the competition this season with a win over Gloucester at the Stade Ernest-Wallon on Sunday.

Along with Exeter, Leinster and Racing, the Top 14 champions are yet to taste defeat in Europe this campaign. They’ve played extremely effectively so far and will be a favourite to go all the way after their semi-final disappointment in 2018/19.

Gloucester, though, will be fighting for a place in the quarters as one of the Pool runners-up. They may not have enough in their arsenal to repel the Frenchmen, however.

Verdict: Toulouse 1/10
Toulouse have been imperious in the Champions Cup this season and are tipped to go six from six in the phase. 

Written by Darry Worthington and Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets. 

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