European Rugby Champions Cup: Round Six Pool Matches

Gabe Morency

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 2:47 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017 2:47 AM UTC

The final round of pool matches in this season’s Champions cup take place this weekend. So far Leinster Munster Clermont and Saracens have qualified for the last eight and games this weekend will decide not.
<p>The final round of pool matches in this season’s Champions cup take place this weekend. So far Leinster, Munster, Clermont and Saracens have qualified for the last eight and games this weekend will decide not only the full quarter-final line-up but the seedings, with the top four teams gaining all-important home advantage. The key games this weekend are as follows: (<a href=";book=William Hill">all prices William Hill</a>)</p><p> </p><p><strong>Friday 7.45pm Castres v Leinster</strong></p><p>Leinster thrashed Montpellier 57-3 last weekend to win the group. Now on 21 points, a win here means a home quarter-final in Dublin. Castres lost at Northampton to end their hopes of qualification and the contrast between their home and away form is stark. They lost all three pool away games and have won both their home games so far. Of course, they have a considerable home advantage here but may just have downed tools in the competition as several French sides have done when out of contention. I expect a narrow Leinster win, but can’t back them at 1/6, or indeed as 12 point handicap favourites</p><p> </p><p><strong>Saturday 3.15pm Saracens v Toulon</strong></p><p>Saracens secured qualification with a last gasp try to secure a 22-22 draw at Scarlets last weekend. They have won the group and on 20 points a four-point win here should ensure a home quarter-final. Toulon are on 15 points after beating Sale at home. Even a losing bonus point result here may take them through to quarter finals where tyhey would be a dangerous side to face, even away from home.</p><p>Toulon are available at 10/11 +8 and I expect them to cover the eight points, that losing bonus point (lose by seven points or less) will be the primary aim.</p><p> </p><p><strong>Saturday 5.30pm Leicester v Glasgow Warriors</strong></p><p>Glasgow’s hopes of winning group were dashed when they lost 14-12 at home to Munster last weekend. They have the consolation prize this weekend of qualification as one of the best runners’s up if they beat Leicester, who are out of contention and adjusting to life under a new coach and lost badly to Racing 92 in Paris at the weekend. Typically Leicester has a considerable home advantage at Welford road, indeed Leicester narrowly beat pool winners Munster at home in October. However, they are not the side they were in recent seasons and Glasgow, with the core of the Scotland national team on the side, are on the up. Glasgow are 4/7 outright and four-point handicap favourites and I expect them to cover here</p><p> </p><p><strong>Sunday 3.15pm Toulouse v Connacht</strong></p><p>This is the game of the weekend. Last weekend Toulouse put up a fine performance in Coventry and led at Wasps with a few minutes to go, at which point they were in control of the group. They lost to an opportunist Wasps try with the last play of the game.</p><p>Connacht currently lead the group on 18 points but Wasps are highly likely to reach 22 points with a five-point win at Zebre and have the tiebreaker over Connacht so to win the group the Irish province is going to need a bonus point win here, which has to be seen as highly unlikely at Toulouse. Thus it is more likely they are fighting for one of the three runners-up spots and losing by less than seven points is the first crucial aim.</p><p>Toulouse need to win with a bonus point or stop Connacht getting a bonus point of their own to make it into the last-eight as a very dangerous wild card side</p><p>Logic says Toulouse but Connacht are not a team to be readily dismissed and the question is, are Toulouse to be trusted to deliver a second strong performance in a row?</p><p>Toulouse are as short as 1/7 to win the game (Connacht 13/2) and 12 point handicap favourites. My selection would be Connacht +12 at 10/11</p>
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