The Welsh regions join the party this weekend and here’s how I see it panning out.
How did the predictions go last week?
5 out of 6, so close to the full house. With the inclusion of the Welsh regions this week I’m not so confident but we will see how it goes.
OK so what are your predictions for round 2?
Scarlets v Northampton Saints
It’s a shame that George North won’t be available to play against his old club. Even so this should be a good one, Scarlets may only be mid table in the Pro12 but they are fresh from a win over Tigers. Saints mind you will be looking at building on their TBP win from last weekend. I’m going with the English champions but I think this one could be quite close.
Ospreys v Saracens
Ospreys are the pace setters in the Pro12 with 7 wins from 7, but have had a mixed start to the Champions Cup. Saracens have similarly had a mixed start to the Champions Cup, also whilst they are second in the Aviva Premiership they haven’t been at their clinical best. Even though Saracens opened with a win over Quins in this competition I’m going with the home side from the Pro12 in this one.
Harlequins v Dragons
Dragons only had two wins all season and one of those was at home to Treviso, who are competing for the worst team of the season accolade. So it’s hard to see them travelling to London and getting anything out of this game, even if they did surprise Stade in the Challenge Cup. Quins may have lost last weekend to Saracens but a win here will get them back into the competition.
Newcastle Falcons v Cardiff Blues
Blues put together a couple of moral boosting wins in the Challenge Cup after what has been a poor start to the season in the Pro12. But they are travelling to a rejuvenated Falcons who may have stumbled last weekend to Saints but Blues at home is a different prospect. Just as a side note this is probably the only away game where the Blues get to play on an artificial pitch like they have at home.
Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby
Both these teams kicked off this competition with wins last weekend. This weekend is probably a more difficult proposition of both teams. Bath had Welsh at home last weekend and got the required TBP. Exeter had Gloucester who they tend to do well against. This though is a west country derby where Bath have the upper hand having only lost to the Chiefs once in the last few years. But that was in the semifinal of this competition last year so I’m going to stick my neck out and pick the Chiefs.
Wasps v London Irish
Wasps lost a close one last weekend up in Sale but I’m expecting the season to start catching up on them. Their style is very physical and has involved lots of tackling so I think fatigue is going to start to tell and players need to be rested. Irish having been playing better rugby this season and the results are going to start coming at some point. I’m backing them to take this London derby, it’s probably the last between these two sides.
London Welsh v Gloucester Rugby
Welsh are still looking for their first win of the season and really need the moral boost of one. With two teams in Gloucester’s group already racking up wins they need a TBP win from this to keep them in the competition. For me this is Gloucester all the way unless they have totally given up on this competition and field even more of an academy side.
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks
Tigers took close one at Irish last weekend, after the season they have had with injuries I thought that they really would not bother with this competition. Sale also took a close one after the captain took control of the halftime team talk and got them to front up. Going to Tigers is never an easy proposition and if you don’t front up it’s going to be a long afternoon. I don’t think Sale will be as soft in the contact but still I’m going for Tigers in front of their supports.