We are into the second of the back to back ties in the opening block of European games. Here are my Challenge Cup round 2 predictions.
First here is a link to my round-up of all the action from last weekend.
How did your round 1 predictions go?
7 from 10, 3 away wins messed up my predictions.
Here are my 1 Line Predictions, read below for my full reasons.
Bath v Bristol
This one is simple with Bath at the top end of the Aviva Premiership and Bristol at the bottom. This 1 though does have a little bit of bite about it as they are neighbours and reviving an old derby match-up. Even so I think it’s only a matter of how much the home side win by.
Bath by 20
Stade Francais v Timișoara Saracens
Timisoara had a tough start of it with a big loss to Edinburgh at home. It just gets harder they are away to Stade who should be looking to score a lot of points and secure the TBP win to ignite their European campaign.
Stade Francais by 50
La Rochelle v Bayonne
La Rochelle won by 17 when these 2 sides met earlier this season in the Top14. With Bayonne losing at home to Gloucester last weekend I can see them throwing the towel in on this competition. La Rochelle have had a good start to the season and being at home in front of their home fans should take this 1.
La Rochelle by 7
Cardiff Blues v Pau
Cardiff are going well and with the TBP win in the bank from last weekend should be giving this competition a real go. Pau already have a home loss and will be thinking about Top14 games to come. Expect a 2nd string team to get on the airplane from France and a relatively comfortable Cardiff win.
Cardiff Blues by 10
Gloucester Rugby v Benetton Treviso
This is another 1 that is just a matter of how much the scoreline blows out. Gloucester seem to always go well in this competition finishing the pool stages last season as top seeds. Treviso don’t travel well and it will be damage limitation from the start.
Gloucester Rugby by 30
Enisei-STM v Newport Gwent Dragons
This is perhaps the most interesting game of the round. Both these sides got wins last weekend and will be thinking they are in with a chance. Enisei really need to win their opening 3 games as they have all their home games first up due to the weather in Russia. Unfortunately they aren’t playing at home but it should still be a culture shock for Dragons. Dragons did put in a good performance at home last weekend but home Friday night games are their speciality. Last season Enisei won 2 of their 3 home games and so I’m baking them to go well again this weekend.
Enisei-STM by 3
Worcester Warriors v Brive
Both these sides lost last weekend away, Brive I think will have decided that they don’t want to be playing this competition. So this is another case of a second string team getting on the plane from France and I’m backing a home win.
Worcester Warriors by 3
Edinburgh v Harlequins
Edinburgh got a big away win last weekend but it was against Timisoara. Quins on the other hand saw off Stade who were French champions a couple of seasons back. I think Quins could be heading back to the Challenge Cup final and I expect them to win here.
Harlequins by 7
Lyon v Ospreys
Ospreys have impressed me so far this season and got a good home win. Lyon surprised me with an away win in an all French affair so maybe they will take this competition relatively seriously. I’m going with the away win by Ospreys but I think it will be narrow and this should be 1 of the better games of the round.
Ospreys by 3
Newcastle Falcons v Grenoble
Both these sides came up short last weekend. I think that all Grenoble’s resources will be aimed at the Top14 where they are struggling. Falcons on the other hand will be looking at regaining some confidence before returning to Aviva Premiership action after a disappointing result last weekend. I’m backing another home win.
Newcastle Falcons by 7
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