Home > Predictions > RUCK’s Champions Cup predictions: Champions Cup predictions: Glasgow v Munster, Racing v Leicester and Exeter v Ulster

RUCK’s Champions Cup predictions: Champions Cup predictions: Glasgow v Munster, Racing v Leicester and Exeter v Ulster

RUCK’s Steven Smith is back with his latest Champions Cup predictions, including Glasgow Warriors v Munster and Exeter Chiefs v Ulster.

Take a check on the team sheets and prediction from all 10 matches taking place in the Champions Cup this weekend.

Read on to see what Editor-In-Chief Smith is tipping…

Leinster v Montpellier (Friday, live on Sky Sports 2 from 7:30pm)

This will be the fourth meeting between the clubs with honours even so far – one win each and a draw. Leinster have won 20 of their last 22 home games against Top 14 opposition in the competition, meaning they will more than likely stroll to a bonus-point victory on Friday evening.

RUCK Prediction: Leinster by 20
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Jack Conan, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Kearney
Montpellier: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Joseph Tomane, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Antoine Battut, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Tomas O’Leary, 22 Henry Immelman, 23 Jesse Mogg

Connacht v Zebre (Saturday, live on Sky Sports Mix from 1pm) 

Connacht have won all five previous meetings with Zebre in the tournament including a 52-7 victory in Round 2. This will be an easy win for the Irish province.

RUCK Prediction: Connacht by 25
Connacht: 15 Tiernan O’Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Rory Parata, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Matt Healy, 10 John Cooney, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Eoin McKeon, 6 Sean O’Brien, 5 James Cannon, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 JP Cooney, 18 John Andress, 19 James Connolly, 20 Naulia Dawai, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Tom Farrell, 23 Danie Poolman
Zebre: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Lloyd Greeff, 13 Edoardo Padovani, 12 Mattia Bellini, 11 Guglielmo Palazzani, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Federico Ruzza, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbandà (c), 5 Valerio Bernabò, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Pietro Ceccarelli, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Oliviero Fabiani, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 George Biagi, 21 Carlo Engelbrecht, 22 Derick Minnie, 23 Serafin Bordoli

Northampton v Castres (Saturday, live on Sky Sports 2 from 12:45pm) 

The Saints are out of the quarter-final race after back-to-back defeats to Leinster and their 41-7 Round 2 loss at Stade Pierre Antoine. But they have a shot at redemption this weekend after finally finding some form and I’d back them to win.

RUCK Prediction: Northampton by 12
Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Juan Pablo Estelles, 13 Luther Burrell, 12 Harry Mallinder, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Tom Wood (c), 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Paul Hill, 19 James Craig, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Ahsee Tuala
Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 David Smith, 10 Julien Dumora, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Alexandre Bias, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Victor Moreaux, 4 Loic Jacquet, 3 Damien Tussac, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Mihaita Lazar
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Antoine Tichit, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 20 Antoine Dupont, 21 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 22 Steve Mafi, 23 Thomas Combezou

Wasps v  Toulouse (Saturday, live on BT Sport 2 from 2:45pm)

The Coventry club sit top of Pool 2 but are level on 13 points with Connacht and the four-time champions of Europe, who travel to the Ricoh Arena this weekend. French sides notoriously don’t travel too well but they have some serious firepower with Yoann Huget and Gael Fickou in their ranks. Wasps will edge it but we could see double figure tries from the clash.

RUCK Prediction: Wasps by 12
Wasps: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Thomas Young, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Edd Shervington, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Matt Symons, 20 James Gaskell, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Kyle Eastmond, 23 Frank Halai
Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Kunatani Kunabuli, 13 Yann David, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Jean-Marc Doussain, 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Francois Cros, 7 Talalelei Gray, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Christopher Tolofua, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Piula Faasalele, 21 Gillian Galan, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Arthur Bonneval

Glasgow Warriors v Munster (Saturday, live on Sky Sports 2 from 5pm)

After back-to-back wins over Racing 92 in Rounds 3 and 4, Glasgow are on track for a third consecutive tournament victory for just the second time in their history (2011). Munster have won four of their five previous games against Scottish opposition in the Champions Cup, but this time on home soil I think the Warriors could edge it.

RUCK Prediction: Glasgow by 5
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Ryan Wilson, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray (c), 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Gordon Reid
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’arcy Rae, 19 Matt Fagerson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Peter Murchie
Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 James Cronin, 18 Thomas Du Toit, 19 Dave Foley, 20 Billy Holland, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Francis Saili

Racing 92 v Leicester Tigers (Saturday, Live on BT Sport 3 from 7:30pm)

This will be the third time the clubs have met in the last 12 months, Racing won their semi-final encounter last season before Leicester’s triumph in Round 2 earlier this season. Leicester’s last away game in the competition against Leinster saw them kept scoreless for just the second time, setting them up for another defeat in Paris.

RUCK Prediction: Racing 92 by 14
Racing 92: 15 Juan Imhoff, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Anthony Tuitavke, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Benjamin Dambielle, 9 Xavier Chauveau, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Matthieu Voisin, 6 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 5 Francois van der Merwe, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 Virgile Lacombe, 1 Eddy Ben Arous
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Ali Williams, 20 Olivier Missoup, 21 James Hart, 22 Benjamin Dambielle, 23 Albert Vulivuli
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Will Evans, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Mike Fitzgerald, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Sam Harrison, 23 Jack Roberts

Bordeaux-Begles v Clermont Auvergne (Sunday, live on BT Sport 2 from 12:30pm)

This will be the fourth meeting between the clubs; the previous three have seen an average of 62 points scored per game. Clermont, who lead the Top 14, are the favourites in my eyes though.

RUCK Prediction: Clermont Auvergne by 10
Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Jean-Marcellin Buttin, 14 Nans Ducuing, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Joe Wakacegu, 11 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Marco Tauleigne, 7 Hugh Chalmers, 6 Loann Goujon, 5 Cyril Cazeaux, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Sébastien Taofifenua
Replacements: 16 Clément Maynadier, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Steven Kitshoff, 19 Berend Botha, 20 Luke Jones, 21 Yann Lesgourgues, 22 Blair Connor, 23 Geoffrey Cros
Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Adrien Plante, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Damien Chouly, 5 Arthur Iturria, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Raphael Chaume
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Alexandre Lapandry, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Benson Stanley, 23 Scott Spedding

Scarlets v Saracens (Sunday, live from 12:45 on Sky Sports 3) 

Saracens are on a run of 13 consecutive victories in the Champions Cup, one more victory would be a new record for the competition (Munster won 13 between 2005 and 2007). With a strong pack, which inclues Maro Itoje and Schalk Burger, Sarries will power to the new record but may struggle to get the bonus-point.

RUCK Prediction: Saracens by 10
Scarlets: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Aled Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (c), 1 Rob Evans
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Tom Price, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Jonathan Davies
Saracens: 15 Alex Lozowski, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Tim Streather, 23 Sean Maitland

Toulon v Sale Sharks (Sunday, live on BT Sport 2 from 3pm) 

he last time Toulon hosted Sale (2012) the Premiership side suffered their heaviest defeat in the competition (0-62). It won’t quite be the same thrashing this time around but I’d expect a comfortable win for the hosts.

RUCK Prediction: Toulon by 20
Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 James O’Connor, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pierre Bernard, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Liam Gill, 5 Samu Manoa, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Marcel Van Der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Laurent Delboulbès
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Juan Smith, 20 Matt Giteau, 21 Josua Tuisova, 22 Jonathan Pelissie, 23 Mamuka Gorgodze
Sale: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Will Addison (c), 12 Mark Jennings, 11 Josh Charnley, 10 Sam James, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 David Seymour, 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Jonathan Mills, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Ross Harrison
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 James Flynn, 18 Kieran Longbottom, 19 George Nott, 20 Ben Curry, 21 Tom Curry, 22 James Mitchell, 23 Dan Mugford

Exeter Chiefs v Ulster (Sunday, live on BT Sport 2 from 5:15) 

Ulster’s most recent game was against Clermont where they lost 38-19, but before that the Northern Irish side had consecituve wins against Clermont 39-32 and against the Chiefs by a single point (19-18). It will be another close contest but this time I’m expecting Chiefs to edge. getting revenge after heartbreak at Kingspan earlier in the season.

RUCK Prediction: Exeter by 5
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Don Armand, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Moray Low, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Stuart Townsend, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Ollie Devoto
Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Luke Marshall, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Andrew Trimble (c), 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Dave Shanahan, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Pete Browne, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Ross Kane, 2 Rory Best, 1 Callum Black
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Jonny Simpson, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Clive Ross, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Brett Herron, 23 Jacob Stockdale

 

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