Thursday, January 12, 2017

I'm looking for a clean sweep from the Irish sides in the Champion's Cup!

 Rory O'Loughlin

Friday night see the return of Champions Cup rugby as Leinster welcome Montpellier to the RDS. It's a pity - and a bit worrying - that they still haven't found a major sponsor for the tournament. Anyway, this match is key for both teams - if Leinster win, they have qualified for the next round, and if Montpellier lose, that's their challenge over. Apart from hooker, Leinster have  basically a full first team to call upon - look how far players like Ringrose, O'Louglin and Byrne have come that they are now secure in their starting positions? We have a really solid, robust pack - and then a backline that likes to run round players not through them. For Montpellier, size is king, not subtlety - Jake White likes them big and beefy! They are not a team to be trifled with, but they play better at home than away, and I think we'll beat them in a close game.

Connacht have Zebre which is just well - they are calling in replacements from all over, and their injury list continues to explode. No way they will lose this. I'll be interested to see how ex Leinster man Steve Crosbie gets on.

The big, big match is Glasgow v Munster - Munster's star is on the rise, while the Scots have a good run of their own in the Champions Cup. I would say Munster will win, but it should be epic!

Finally, Ulster have a tall order to get out of their group, needing to win their last two matches to have any chance. Exeter have just about no chance though, so I think Ulster'll get their win this weekend.

Friday 13th January
European Rugby Champions Cup
Leinster 19:45 Montpellier
Saturday 14th January
European Rugby Champions Cup
Connacht 13:00 Zebre
Northampton 13:00 Castres
Wasps 15:15 Toulouse
Glasgow Warriors 17:30 Munster
Racing 92 19:45 Leicester Tigers
Sunday 15th January
European Rugby Champions Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13:00 Clermont Auvergne
Scarlets 13:00 Saracens
Toulon 15:15 Sale Sharks
Exeter 17:30 Ulster

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