Ah the one that we’ve been waiting for! It’s the Heineken Champions Cup the big daddy of the European rugby competitions. There are some cracking games lined up for this weekend.
From a picking point of view though how teams are balancing the different demands of ending a season or starting a season at the same time as this competition makes it tougher than usual.
You can fuel New Zealand Sport Radio with a coffee over on the right of the page
Leinster Rugby v Saracens – Leinster Rugby by 7
What a cracker of a fixture to return with! This feels more like a final than a quarter final. Leinster are looking for the perfect season. They won all their games in the Pro 14 and swept their pool in this competition too.
Saracens on the other hand are looking to make a statement about how good they are even if they will be missing from Europe next year. I’m going with the home team as they are so efficient and also Saracens have had a couple of players move on.
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92 – Racing 92 by 3
For me this is the hardest game of the round to call. Two cracking sides that have so much talent at their disposal. Racing 92 have started the Top 14 2020-2021 season better with 2 wins whilst Clermont have dropped one already.
Toulouse v Ulster Rugby – Toulouse by 10
Ulster were thinking of this game when they lost the Pro 14 final against Leinster last weekend. Still I think a trip over to France against one of the most storied teams in the Champions Cup will be a trip too far.
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints – Exeter Chiefs by 10
Possibly the easiest game to call of the weekend. Exeter are clear at the top of the Gallagher Premiership meaning they could rotate players for this game. Saints don’t have the same depth and are having a tough season. This should be a comfortable home win as Exeter look to finally make a mark in Europe.
I’m 49 from 60 or 82% so far this season. Going well so far but feeling a bit out of touch due to the lockdown so hope the knockouts go well.