We are changing things up this week as we combine all of our European rugby previews into one easy to digest piece that includes an overview of each league, our best bets, and verdicts for each game.
The Gallagher Premiership is fast approaching its business end with only three rounds left to play until the close of the regular season.|
The league took a break last week for the European finals but returns with a bang this weekend as there are a number of blockbuster clashes with the pick of the bunch seeing the third-placed Sale Sharks taking on Bristol.
Two other games of interest will be the fixtures between Northampton and Wasps and Harlequins and Bath. These games could have a massive bearing on the make-up of the semi-finals as a loss for Northampton and a win for Harlequins would see the latter claim the last remaining semi-final berth with two rounds to spare.
Double Gloucester + Leicester straight wins at 1/1
I really like this double at even money. Gloucester are playing host to a London Irish side that have run out of steam in recent months, while Leicester tackle tournament whipping boys the Worcester Warriors.
Gloucester win v London Irish 7/20
Bristol Win v Sale 13/20
Harlequins win v Bath 31/100
Leicester win v Worcester 48/100
Wasps win v Northampton 14/10
Exeter Win v Newcastle 1/20
French Top 14
As is the case with the Gallagher Premiership, the Top 14 is heading into the final straight with only two rounds of regular-season action remaining.
French rugby is certainly in a great place at the moment with the European Challenge and Champions Cup finals going the way of Montpellier and Toulouse respectively.
The former currently leads the Top 14 standings but are only a point clear of second-placed La Rochelle – who they beat in last weekend’s Champions Cup final – and the Bordeaux Begles who reside in third place.
Things are tight slightly further down the ladder as well with only two points separating sixth-placed Toulon and ninth-placed Lyon. With so little between these sides, there’s going to be an absolute scramble for the final few barrage/play-off positions.
Clermont Win 49/20
I’ve forgone the best bet for the Top 14 as the ones I really fancy offer extremely short odds. Instead, I’ve looked for a bit of value and I fancy I’ve found it in the form of Clermont. They will take on Toulouse this coming weekend, whom I suspect will be nursing a massive hangover after their gruelling 17-22 Champions Cup win over La Rochelle.
Lyon Win v Stade Francais 31/20
Toulon win v Bordeaux 42/100
Castres win v Brive 15/20
La Rochelle win v Pau 1/10
Montpellier win v Bayonne 1/5
Clermont win v Toulouse 49/20
Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup
The final comp we’ll take a look at is the Guinness PRO 14 Rainbow Cup. Like the two tournaments above, there was no PRO14 Rainbow Cup action this past weekend due to the Champions and Challenge Cup finals being staged.
The tournament has been rather open during the first two rounds with some massive upsets occurring and only one side remaining unbeaten in the tournament, which is Italian outfit Treviso.
Treble – Munster, Ulster and Connacht Wins @14/10
I really like this treble. I think the first two are absolute gimmies, and while there’s a bit of risk in taking Connacht to beat Treviso in Italy, I reckon the Irish Province should get the job done as while Treviso have been good, it must be mentioned that they have played against two of the worst teams in the competition.
*Verdicts are for games priced up on Wednesday 26 May
Munster win v Cardiff 2/11
Ulster win v Scarlets 27/100
Connacht win v Treviso 61/100
Dragons win v Glasgow 12/10