Darry Worthington preveiws all of this weekend's European rugby coming your way from the Top 14, Gallagher Premiership and PRO14.
Well, the first week of our big European preview was a bit of a disappointment with only one of the three tipped bets arriving. We’ll be looking for a much better showing this week as the Top 14 and Gallagher Premiership fast approach the close of their regular seasons.
The Premiership served up some fascinating rugby this past weekend with the Sale Sharks beating the log-leading Bristol Bears, while the Exeter Chiefs put in a master class as they hammered the Newcastle Falcons 74-3. These two results mean that Exter are still capable of usurping the Bears to top spot on the log and booking themselves a home final should they win their semi.
While the order of the top 4 is yet to be decided, we do know which teams will be in the semi-finals as Harlequins’ win over 44-33 win over Bath has put them 12 points clear of fifth-placed Northampton.
The two games that catch the eye this coming weekend are the Sale versus Harlequins fixture and the Northampton versus Exeter clash. Sale will be looking to launch a late bid at claiming one of the home semi-final berths while Exeter will be looking to put the pressure on Bristol by claiming another big bonus-point win.
Bristol, Exeter and Sale Wins @ 15/10
Sale Win @ 39/20
Bristol Win @ 47/100
Newcastle Win @ 36/100
Wasps Win @ 21/20
Exeter Win @ 24/100
This is the final weekend of Top 14 round-robin fixtures and there are still a number of barrage places up for grabs. Toulouse still top the log but they are equal on ladder points with La Rochelle. Both teams have rather tricky encounters this weekend with Toulouse playing fourth-placed Bordeaux away and La Rochelle taking on fifth-placed Clermont.
Things get even more interesting further down the ladder as Toulon, Stade and Castres are still in with a chance of claiming the final ‘Barrage/play-off berth’. Toulon will take on Castres away this weekend and that game will decide which team claims sixth place.
With play-off places on the line, we’re set for a very interesting weekend.
Stade Win v Bayonne @ 7/10
Stade Win @ 7/10
Toulon Win @ 23/20
La Rochelle Win @ 7/4
Pau Win @ 1/25
Guinness Rainbow Cup: PRO14
The Guinness Rainbow Cup enters its fifth round this coming weekend and surprise packages Treviso still lead the log with their victory over Irish side Connacht seeing them remain the only unbeaten side in the comp. They won’t be in action this weekend, however, as their game against the Scarlets has been called off due to a COVID outbreak in the Welsh side’s camp. It also looks like the fixture between Ulster and Edinburgh may be called off.
While it is a shortened fixtures list, there are some really interesting games still be played with Friday’s clash between Glasgow and Leinster certainly worth watching.
Leinster – 9.5 v Glasgow
Cardiff Blues Win