Thursday, October 12, 2017

A pocket guide to the prospects of the Irish sides in the Champions Cup!

 Robbie Henshaw

I'm approaching this Champions Cup with modesty ambitions for the Irish sides this year. Leinster are in the same pool as Exeter, Montpellier and Glasgow. Frankly that's a feckin' awful draw. Montplellier are first in the Top 14, Exeter are the English champions, and Glasgow have looked really good this season. Leinster meanwhile, have been competent but not inspiring. Their best match however was last weekend against Munster,  they should step up again this weekend, and could well shade this match against Montpellier. It's the away games I'm worried about. I'm really pleased to see Robbie Henshaw back anyway.

Ulster have megabucks Wasps, Harlequins and La Rochelle, another form French team. We've seen the good and the bad from Ulster this season, they seem to permanently on the cusp of bigger things, but stay there. I don't know if they'll tame a full strength Wasps side, but they won't die wondering!

Munster, with Leicester, Racing and Castres look to have the best chance of advancing this season of the Irish sides. Castres and Racing look pretty iffy, while the Tigers will be their main challenge. If they get a good start at Castres, they could be the catalyst for good things. Brilliant to see a new coach in place.

Connacht have Brive, Oyannax and Worcester. If they find just a smidgen of form they could win that group, and I'd fancy them to beat Oyannax on Saturday.

Champions Cup
Friday 13th October
Ulster 19:45 Wasps
Saturday 14th October
Leinster 13:00 Montpellier On Sky
Racing 92 15:15 Leicester Tigers
Bath 17:30 Benetton Rugby On Sky
Harlequins 17:30 La Rochelle On Sky
Oyonnax 19:00 Connacht (Challenge Cup)
Exeter 19:45 Glasgow Warriors
Sunday 15th October
Castres 13:00 Munster On Sky
Toulon 15:15 Scarlets On Sky
Northampton 17:30 Saracens
Ospreys 17:30 Clermont Auvergne

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