Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: ERCC: Quater-Finals Preview

ERCC: Quater-Finals Preview



Darry Worthington previews the 2019/20 European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals, which get underway on Saturday the 19th of September. 

Image copyright: Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone
After what seems an eternity, the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals are finally here with the tournament's first set of knock-out fixtures getting underway this Saturday afternoon.

There are some absolute crackers in store for rugby fans with an Anglo-Irish clash between Leinster and Saracens opening up proceedings. It's then over to France for an all French-affair with Top 14 giants Clermont and Racing squaring off.

Sunday's game seem a bit more subdued, although Ulster could give Toulouse a run for their money should the Irish side show up on the day. The final fixture of the weekend is likely to be extremely one-sided, however, as a red-hot Exeter Chiefs side will likely put a cricket score over a struggling Northampton Saints outfit.

Leinster v Saracens
Saturday 19 September
Aviva Stadium
16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Leinster
Draw
Saracens

Handicap
Leinster
Saracens

What a way to open up the quarters! Ireland's most dominate team will tackle England's disgraced reigning champions. The two sides have been the dominant forces over the past half decade with Saracens winning three of the last four Champions Cup titles and Leinster winning the other one. The duo met in last season's final with Saracens running out 20-10 victors.

Leinster are well fancied to overturn that loss, however. The Irish Province are enjoying a fantastic season which sees them head into Saturday's clash with the PRO14 title under their belts and unbeaten across all the competitions they've played in this year.

The 2019/20 season has been a lot less rosy for 'Saries. The North London club have been relegated from the Gallagher Premiership due to financial irregularities and only pipped Munster to the Champions Cup quarter-finals by two points. To make matters worse for Saracens, they'll be without talismanic pivot Owen Farrell who has copped a ban for a dangerous tackle in a Gallagher Premiership game. 

Verdict: Leinster (-)
While Saracens forward pack will keep up with Leinster's, I can't see their backs doing the same thing. My money is on the hosts' quick outside backs doing massive damage to their opponents on the counter and ensuring the Irish side wins this one comfortably.

Clermont v Racing Metro 92
Saturday 19 September
Parc Des Sports Marcel Michelin
18:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Clermont
Draw
Racing

Handicap
Clermont
Racing

Top 14 big boys Clermont and Racing 92 are next up on the fixtures list. Both teams enjoyed solid pool phase campaign with Clermont topping Pool 3 with five wins from six games and Racing topping Pool 4 having won four, drawn one and lost one.

In terms of recent domestic form, Racing head into this off the back of a perfect start to the 2020/21 Top 14 season as they've racked up wins over Lyon (23-27) and Montpellier (41-27), while Clermont have been a bit more patchy beating Toulouse (33-30) before going down to Bayonne (21-19) last weekend. It must be noted that they did rest a few of their big names for the Bayonne game.

The recent head to head results between the two sides favours Racing who have won three of the last five fixtures. Two of these victories have come on home soil, however. The other two games have been a 31-31 draw and Clermont win 17-40.

Jockeys Ride HorsesVerdict: Racing 92 (+)
I think this one will be a tight old affair which is why I'm rather confident Racing will keep it within the handicap.

Toulouse v Ulster
Sunday 20 September
Stade Ernst-Wallon
13:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Toulouse
Draw
Ulster

Handicap
Toulouse
Ulster

Sunday's action will kick-off out in France where Toulouse will be looking to avoid a potential banana peel when they take on rack underdogs, Ulster. 

Toulouse were in fine form during the round-robin phase of the Champions Cup as they racked up six wins from six starts on the way to topping Pool 5. Ulster did rather well themselves winning five of their six fixtures as they finished as runners-up in Pool 2. 

The hosts haven't played much competitive rugby over the last couple months but do have two Top 14 games under their belts in which they went down 33-30 to Clermont but bounced back with a 39-23 win over La Rochelle. 

Ulster have had a lot more rugby these past couple week's with the Irish Province enjoying a solid run to the PRO14 final where they went down 27-5 to local rivals Leinster. 

Verdict: Toulouse (-)
In fear that Ulster will be in for a similar beating to the one they took in last weekend's PRO14 final. My money is on the hosts clearing the 'cap with room to spare. 

Exter v Northampton
Sunday 20 September
Sandy Park
18:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Exeter
Draw
Northampton

Handicap
Exeter
Northampton

Exeter and Northampton will bring the curtain down on the 2019/20 European Champions Cup quarter-finals when the two English rivals lock horns at Sandy Park.

The two sides have experienced contrasting form since the Gallagher Premiership restarted with Exeter winning all of their games and Northampton only winning one of their sixth fixtures, with that victory coming against a struggling London Irish side.

The hosts have a very healthy record over their opponents and have won the last four games between the sides. Northampton's last victory over Exeter came way back in December 2018. 

Verdict: Exeter (-)
Northampton are really struggling at the minute and I cannot see them avoiding a hiding here. 


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