Heineken Cup Predictions: Rd 2

Forecast Thunder

The second round of the Heineken promises more fireworks this weekend.

There are plenty of must win games for teams who harbour genuine hopes of making the knock out stages

Pool 1

Two major clashes in the toughest pool – Northampton must beat the Ospreys after defeat at Castres whilst the Welsh side will be all but out if they don’t collect 4 points. Expect the Saints to edge it even though Ospreys may field up to 6 of the British Lions squad.

I think Leinster will put away Castres to leave them battling the Saints for group supremacy when the competition resumes in early December

Pool 2

I’m going to stick my neck out and go for two away wins – Toulon to knock over Cardiff Blues despite the fight back the Welsh managed against the Chiefs in R1.

Exactly the same up in Scotland where I believe the Chiefs will just have enough to pick up 4 points with Glasgow getting a bonus point from a narrow loss

Pool 3

Friday night is the mouth- watering clash at Wembley where Saracens host the mighty Toulouse.

I think home advantage and a noisy partisan crowd will prevail but again it will be close. Saracens will want to stop Toulouse from coming away with anything and their big combative pack should just do it.

Zebre and Connacht look to be also rans in pool 3 although an away win for Connacht might just worry Toulouse when they have to visit the Irish province in mid December’s 4th round tie.

Pool 4

The Scarlets will want to carry on from their big win at Harlequins but I’m again going for an away win for Racing. The French teams are often notoriously bad travellers but Racing’s win over Clermont will have given them the heart and incentive to kick on in the competition.

Another bad day at the office for Quins, who are unlikely to come away with anything from Clermont on Sunday. Last year’s losing finalists will be looking to get 5 points after the R1 loss.

Pool 5

Leicester should get a much needed bonus point at home to Treviso although the Italians are no longer the whipping boys of Europe. Ulster are likely to struggle to overcome Montpellier and may not even manage the losing bonus point they need to keep their hopes up in the group.

Pool 6

Munster will be busting to get back on track and they are hard to beat at Thomond Park. Gloucester to come back to earth after last week’s good result against Perpignan.

It will be the same for Edinburgh who won’t fancy the trip to face Perpignan in France and are unlikely to come away with anything.

Overall another set of intriguing ties – there will be some close results I think, but less shocks than in week 1 – and also fewer bonus points won.

 

Finally in the Bledisloe Cup, the storming All Blacks should continue their unbeaten run at the ‘House of Pain’.

Even without their dreadful run of injuries the Wallabies are likely to struggle against the best team on the planet.

 

 

About David Shute

Shutey’s obsession with all things rugby far exceeds his ability on the pitch during his playing days as his blog (www.rugbyoldbloke.wordpress.com) certainly testifies.
He lives in England and can be caustic about the progress of his team since his mate Clive resigned – this is reflected in his writing about the state of Northern Hemisphere rugby. You can follow Shutey on twitter but only if you seriously have nothing better to do.

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