Champions Cup Round 3 Preview

As Christmas rapidly approaches, European Rugby has thrown up a festive treat of double-headers in the Champions Cup as clubs lock horns on consecutive weekends as the fight for places in the knockout stages heats up.

Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier (Pool 3)

Following back-to-back defeats in the opening rounds of the Champions Cup, Glasgow Warriors will make a desperate attempt to keep their campaign alive on Friday evening as Montpellier travel to Scotstoun.

Top 14 side Montpellier, despite their near-embarrassing wealth of talent, also endured successive defeats in the Champions Cup, but did collect losing bonus points on the way, giving them a slight edge, but with Leinster Rugby and Exeter Chiefs flying high, it is hard to see how either of these sides qualify.

PREDICTION: Glasgow Warriors win
Match odds: Glasgow 4/9 Montpellier 10/11
Unibet pick: Glasgow @4/9

Scarlets v Benetton Treviso (Pool 5)

Consecutive defeats in the opening rounds of the European Rugby Champions Cup mean survival is unlikely for Scarlets, but they will do all they can to revive hopes as bottom side Benetton Treviso vist the Parc y Scarlets on Saturday afternoon.

Both sides lost their two opening fixtures, beaten by Bath and RC Toulon, although Scarlets hold a single-point advantage over the Italian side given they picked up a losing bonus point in both matches, while Benetton could only register one point from the two matches.

PREDICTION: Scarlets win
Match odds: Scarlets 1/25 Treviso 12/1
Unibet pick: Scarlets -22.5 @4/5

RC Toulon v Bath Rugby (Pool 5)

Three-times kings of Europe RC Toulon do battle with 1998/99 European champions Bath at the Stade Mayol on Saturday, with control of Pool 5 in the Champions Cup at stake.

Bath Rugby currently hold first spot in the standings with a 26-point advantage in points difference over RC Toulon, with both sides dispatching Scarlets and Benetton Treviso in the opening rounds this looks set to be a fierce encounter.

Match odds: Toulon 2/11 Bath 19/5
Unibet pick: Toulon -11.5 @10/11

Northampton Saints v The Ospreys (Pool 2)

Northampton Saints will seek to retain their hex over The Ospreys on Saturday as the Welsh region travel to Franklin’s Gardens in the Champions Cup having never beaten the Premiership side in four previous encounters.

Successive defeats in the opening two rounds means both sides face an uphill battle to remain in Europe, although Ospreys have managed to chalk up three points, leaving them just six adrift of Clermont Auvergne, with losing bonus points as well as one try-scoring bonus.

PREDICTION: Northampton Saints win
Match odds: Northampton 7/25 Ospreys 3/15
Unibet pick: Ospreys +9.5 @4/5

Castres Olympique v Racing 92 (Pool 4)

Castres Olympique welcome to Top 14 heavyweights Racing 92 to the Stade Pierre Fabre on Saturday for the lone all-French encounter in Round 3 of the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Saturday’s showdown will be the second meeting between the sides this season, Racing 92 running on winners on the opening day of the Top 14 season, although this is the first time the side have ever locked horns in European competition.

PREDICTION: Racing 92 win
Match odds: Castres 11/20 Racing 7/5
Unibet pick: Racing @7/5

Munster Rugby v Leicester Tigers (Pool 4)

Munster Rugby welcome Leicester Tigers to Thomond Park on Saturday evening for a crucial clash which will determine who seizes control of Pool 4 in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

The sides come into the clash level on six points apiece, although Leicester have one bonus-point win and a defeat to their name, while Munster Rugby are unbeaten, having a win and a draw on their tally.

PREDICTION: Munster Rugby win
Match odds: Munster 1/4 Leicester 29/10
Unibet pick: Munster -7.5 @4/5

Harlequins v Ulster Rugby (Pool 1)

Harlequins’ search for a first win in the European Rugby Champions Cup extends into Round 3, as they welcome Ulster Rugby to the Twickenham Stoop in the first of four Sunday clashes.

This will be the fourth European meeting between the clubs, with Harlequins just holding the edge in previous encounters, winning two of their three fixtures and are buoyant having beaten defending Champions Cup winner Saracens in the Premiership last weekend.

PREDICTION: Harlequins win
Match odds: Harlequins 11/20 Ulster 7/5
Unibet pick: Harlequins -5.5 @10/11

La Rochelle v Wasps (Pool 1)

La Rochelle will seek to tighten their grip on Pool 1 in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday afternoon as last season’s Premiership runners-up Wasps travel to the Stade Marcel-Flandre.

Bonus-point triumphs over Ulster Rugby and Harlequins in the opening rounds saw the French side assert their dominance early, while Wasps stand as their most realistic competitors five points adrift in the second place, although it will be hard to see how La Rochelle will be overturned on home soil.

PREDICTION: La Rochelle win
Match odds: La Rochelle 7/25 Wasps 13/5
Unibet pick: Wasps +8.5 @17/20

Saracens v ASM Clermont Auvergne (Pool 2)

Reigning champions Saracens will look to take charge of Pool 2 in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday as Clermont Auvergne travel to Barnet’s Allianz Park for a repeat of last season’s final.

Premiership giants Saracens would appears on paper to be favourites after beating the French side 28-17 in the European showpiece last season, yet they also come into Round 3 of the Champions Cup frail having lost their last five matches in all competitions, are they there for the taking?

PREDICTION: Saracens win
Match odds: Saracens 1/4 Clermont 14/5
Unibet pick: Saracens -9.5 @17/20

Exeter Chiefs v Leinster Rugby (Pool 3)

The final encounter of Round 3 in the European Rugby Champions Cup comes from Devon on Sunday evening as defending Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs welcome three-times European winners Leinster Rugby to Sandy Park for what promises to be a tasty clash.

The Chiefs are on a charge with a run of nine successive victories in all competitions, but Leinster have themselves fallen just twice all season, albeit their defeats have come away from home and Exeter will be desperate to seize their opportunity to steal control of Pool 3.

PREDICTION: Exeter Chiefs win
Match odds: Exeter 16/25 Leinster 4/5
Unibet pick: Exeter @16/25 


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