Champions Cup Round 2 Preview

After a thrilling first round of action, the European Rugby Champions Cup returns to our screens this week with another host of intriguing fixtures across the pools.

These opening two weekends are crucial in continental competition; those teams who won last weekend will be desperate to back it up, while those who lost will want to bank a win or face a long old wait to clinch one.

Scarlets v Bath (Pool 5)

After travelling to home of European giant Toulon and putting up a very credible fight, coming back from 18-0 down to lead 20-18 – only to lose 21-20, Scarlets return home to host in-form Premiership side Bath in the lone Friday night fixtures.

Bath were runaway winners against Treviso last time out, but with Scarlets having a bit between their teeth and the home advantage, you expect the Welsh region may just have too much for the West Country side to handle.

PREDICTION: Scarlets win
Match odds: Scarlets 1/3 Bath 11/5
Unibet pick: Scarlets -6.5 @4/5

Glasgow Warriors v Leinster (Pool 3)

 After an opening weekend triumph in front of a partisan RDS crowd, Leinster travel to Scotland to face a Glasgow Warriors side who had their unbeaten season halted by defending Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs in Round 1.

It’s fair to say the Warriors were outmuscled by the Chiefs and will face a stern test against a buoyant Leinster side who should well be seeking a rare away win to take control of Pool 3.

PREDICTION: Leinster win
Match odds: Glasgow 8/11 Leinster 21/10
Unibet pick: Leinster @21/20

Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints (Pool 2)

Clermont, the perennial bridesmaids of European Rugby started out with a significant away win at Ospreys, and should assert their hex on Pool 2 against a deflated Northampton Saints at the State Marcel-Michelin.

Saints were smashed by Premiership rivals Saracens, again, last weekend and face a stern test travelling away to France, making a runaway bonus point win for Clermont the most likely outcome.

PREDICTION: Clermont Auvergne win
Match odds: Clermont 1/12 Northampton 7/1
Unibet pick: Clermont 1/12

 Benetton Treviso v RC Toulon (Pool 5)

After a scare last weekend RC Toulon hit the road to visit Benetton Treviso, who pose as an easy opposition for the French giants to push their case in Pool 5.

Toulon sneaked past Scarlets on home soil in Round 1, while Benetton were smashed 23-0 by Bath, and can be expect punishment aplenty again this time around.

Match odds: Treviso 7/1 Toulon 1/12
Unibet pick: -17.5 Toulon @10/11

Leicester Tigers v Castres Olympique (Pool 4)

 After a holding Munster to a draw in France Castres make the trip to Welford Road to face Leicester Tigers, who opened their Pool 4 campaign with a 22-18 defeat away to Racing Metro 92.

In a sense, there are two evenly matched sides, but you would expect the Tigers to take victory on home soil and edge out their French visitors and give their feint European hopes a boost.

PREDICTION: Leicester Tigers win
Match odds: Leicester 1/6 Castres 4/1
Unibet pick: Castres +13.5 @10/11

Munster v Racing Metro 92 (Pool 4)

One of the weekend’s most mouthwatering clashes comes from Thomond Park, where Munster host Racing Metro in what looks set to be a battle for the top two places in Pool 4.

Racing’s win last weekend will put them on a high, but they French club have lost their previous four away clashes in Europe and Munster will feed of the atmosphere in their home fortress to take victory.

PREDICTION: Munster win
Match odds: Munster 2/9 Racing 3/1
Unibet pick: Muster @2/9

Saracens v Ospreys (Pool 2)

Reigning kings of Europe Saracens got their title defence off to a great start by demolishing Northampton and face an Ospreys side who look unlikely to win a game in Pool 2.

Beaten by Clermont in Wales last weekend, the Welsh region now must travel to Barnet for a crunch clash with Saracens, who will be seeking to their visitors to the sword.

PREDICTION: Saracens win
Match odds: Saracens 1/25 Ospreys 12/1
Unibet pick: Saracens -22.5 @41/50

Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs (Pool 3)

After losing to Leinster in Round 1, Montpellier welcome Premiership champions Exeter to the Altrad Stadium in the first of three Sunday fixtures, with the Chiefs riding high having overthrown previously unbeaten Glasgow Warriors.

Despite Montpellier’s embarrassing wealth of riches, something simply is not clicking for the French big-spenders and this is a pivotal opportunity for the Chiefs to outline their European potential with an away scalp.

PREDICTION: Exeter Chiefs win
Match odds: Montpellier 3/10 Exeter 49/20
Unibet pick: Montpellier -8.5@ 10/11

La Rochelle v Ulster (Pool 1)

Ulster opened their Pool 1 journey with a convincing win against last season’s Premiership runners-up Wasps, but a trip away to La Rochelle will be a defining moment in the campaign.

The French side were winners against Harlequins last weekend and will be looking to double up, but Ulster are developing some serious European credentials and have a chance to underline that on Sunday afternoon.

PREDICTION: Ulster win
Match odds: La Rochelle 2/9 Ulster 3/1
Unibet pick: Ulster +10.5 @4/5

Wasps v Harlequins (Pool 1)

Sunday’s final showdown is the round’s lone all-Premiership affair as Wasps host Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena, both seeking their first win of the campaign.

Wasps, Premiership finalists last term, have had an indifferent start too the new season, likewise their guests Harlequins are not hitting any levels of consistency, forging what promises to be a fierce clash, which you would expect the hosts to snatch.

Match odds: Wasps 2/7 Harlequins 13/5
Unibet pick: Wasps -8.5 @17/20

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