It’s the second round of the lottery cup or officially known as the European Rugby Challenge Cup. This can be one of the hardest competitions to pick as you don’t know how seriously various sides will take the competition. Yes we are looking at you Stade!!!!
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Anyway you’re here for my predictions not for me to go off on a rant, so here they are:
Castres v Newcastle Falcons – Newcastle Falcons by 3
Castres and Brive are playing a mid-week Top 14 game next week to catch up on a postponed game due to COVID. With those 2 sides sat 12th and 13th in the Top 14 they are going to be resting players this weekend. Sure Falcons had a poor loss last weekend but of the 2 sides least trying to lose this weekend they come out on top.
Brive v Zebre Rugby Club – Zebre Rugby Club by 3
Here’s that second side that’s resting all their 1st and some 2nd choice players with a mid-week game coming up. Again Zebre not a great start in this competition but a draw is better than a loss! However this is a great opportunity for an away win in France and they have to grab it with both hands.
Benetton Rugby v Agen – Benetton Rugby by 20
It’s not often (if ever) that I predict an Italian side to win by 20 points. You might think I’m mad however if you look at last weekend’s fixtures it’s on the low side! Benetton beat Stade in France by 24 points and Agen lost at home to Irish by 26 points. Clearly shows how disinterested in this competition the French sides are.
Worcester Warriors v Ospreys – Ospreys by 3
After 3 games where teams are trying to lose we get to a game where both sides will actually want to win this game! What a crazy competition this is. Ospreys are slowly improving but let’s be honest they couldn’t get much worse at times last season. Worcester have had a poor start to the season and need a moral booster, unfortunately I don’t think it will happen this weekend.
Bayonne v Leicester Tigers – Bayonne by 3
Bayonne look like one of the few French sides that are actually trying to win in this competition. That’s bad news for Tigers who got an easy win over a French side that wasn’t interested in winning last weekend. I think Tigers will find this trip over to France much harder and a LBP will be a decent result for them.
London Irish v Pau – London Irish by 3
This is perhaps the game of the round. Irish got a good win in France last weekend and Pau are a side that can win away. It wasn’t an overly convincing win over Worcester but if they try in this game (and I mean selection wise) then this could be a decent game. Still Irish have had an OK start to the season and should add another victory here.
Cardiff Blues v Stade Francais – Cardiff Blues by 25
I called out Stade at the top. They lost at home to Benetton by 24 points! That’s disgraceful for a side sat 4th in the Top 14. Expect the reserve side to be sent to Wales for this one and for Cardiff to get what might be a record win for them.
4 from 7 or 57%, not a great start but better than most on Superbru….