The European domestic season is about to reach boiling point with this weekend seeing the Top 14 and Gallagher Premiership semi-finals taking place.
England provides us with two absolute pearlers this weekend with Bristol taking on Harlequins at Ashton Gate and Exeter squaring off with the Sale Sharks at Sandy Park.
The Bristol versus ‘Quins game looks far more cut and dry with the Bears having a blinder of a season finishing top of the pops with 17 wins and a draw for their 22 fixtures. Quins weren’t too shabby but were some way off the Bears’ pace as they won 13 and drew one of their 22. The hosts have an absolute world-class side that features the likes of Semi Radradra, Charles Piatau and Steven Luata. And while ‘Qunis have some real talent, they are unlikely to be able to keep up with a Bristol side that beat them 35-33 and 19-27 during the regular season.
On to Sandy Park now, and we’re in for one for the ages if last weekend’s titanic clash between Exeter and Sale is anything to go by. The hosts managed a miraculous come from behind victory over their opponents last weekend. Down a man for the majority of the second stanza, Exeter fought their way back into the game with a late penalty seeing them claim the spoils 20-19.
Bristol + Exeter Wins @ 77/100
We head across the English Channel and over to France for what should be two further cracking semi-finals with La Rochelle taking on Racing 92 and Toulouse squaring off with the Bordeaux Begles.
The first of the two semi-finals looks like it will be hotly contested. La Rochelle ended the season in second place while Bordeaux finished in fourth. This meant that La Rochelle had the weekend off last weekend while Bordeaux had to take on Clermont in a play-off fixture. Racing impressed in that play-off as they registered a 38-21 win over a solid Stade Francias outfit.
We head to Toulouse now where the reigning champs and table-toppers will be looking to make their favourites tag count when they take on Bordeaux. Like La Rochelle, Toulouse also enjoyed the weekend off last week while Bordeaux managed to beat Clermont 25-16 in the play-offs. This clash should be really easy on the eye with both teams having some extremely talented ball players in their ranks.
La Rochelle Win + Toulouse Win @13/10