Friday 16th December
Glasgow v Racing 92
Glasgow will hope to follow up the heroics of last week with a win at home against the French giants. The confidence of the likes of Finn Russell and Alex Dunbar will be sky high, but with returning hero Leone Nakawara, Dan Carter and their pals gunning for revenge, the Scots will need to maintain the high standards they have shown throughout the tournament to achieve historic back-to-back victories.
Ben – Racing by 8, Russ – Glasgow by 5, George- Glasgow by 3
Saturday 17th December
Leicester v Munster
Leicester will hope that home advantage will play a part in preventing a repeat of the pasting that they suffered last weekend. However, with CJ Stander, Conor Murray and Simon Zebo amongst the many Munstermen in top form, the Tigers class acts in Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Peter Betham will need to show better form than they were able to demonstrate at Thomond Park.
Ben – Munster by 5, Russ – Munster by 8, George- Munster by 12
Toulouse v Zebre
Home win unless a flood of biblical proportions sweeps in from the Mediterranean.
Ben – Toulouse by 43, Russ – Toulouse by 50, George- Toulouse by 60
Connacht v Wasps
Connacht will be quietly confident after a lively performance in Coventry. The duel between Kieran Marmion and whichever combination of Joe Simpson and Dan Robson that Dai Young decides to employ should be a highlight. Wasps will be able to employ the in-form Joe Launchbury and the fit-again Kurtley Beale both of whom impressed last week.
Ben – Wasps by 2, Russ – Wasps by 7, George- Wasps by 8
Leinster v Northampton
With Dylan due to start the 306th suspension of his Northampton career, Tom Wood will hope that he will not have to stand Canute-like in the face of an Irish flood for the second successive week. Leinster produced a performance of such dominance in the East Midlands that they should be confident of another home win particularly as their front row of Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong manhandled Saints’ much vaunted outfit all over Franklins Gardens.
Ben – Leinster by 23, Russ – Leinster by 18, George- Leinster by 25
Bordeaux v Exeter
Exeter will rue the missed chances of last week and despite the successful return of Jack Nowell and Dave Ewers will not relish the visit to France for what is, for them, a near dead-rubber. Bordeaux, for whom Baptiste Serin is an emerging star at scrum, half still hold hopes of qualification from this tough group and should tear into the Devon side from the start.
Ben – Bordeaux by 13, Russ – Exeter by 6, George- Bordeaux by 9
Sunday 18th December
Scarlets v Toulon
Scarlets will do well to speak more nicely to the referee this week, as they will need all the help they can get against a resurgent Toulon. In France, Leigh Halfpenny came out of the clash of the Welsh full backs as a winner on points over Liam Williams and both players will look forward to a resumption of hostilities. Scarlets hope to welcome back Johnathan Davies, suspension means he won’t be forced to keep an eye on his brother’s potty mouth and can concentrate on dealing with Ma’a Nonu and Mathieu Basteraud.
Ben – Toulon by 15, Russ – Toulon by 9, George- Scarlets by 11
Sale v Saracens
After being savaged like a dog’s toy in London, Sale’s presence in this year’s tournament is looking pointless in more ways than one. For Saracens, Jamie George has even more incentive to impress Eddie Jones than usual, and with Sean Maitland in fine try-scoring form the men in black will want to maintain their healthy lead in Pool 3.
Ben – Saracens by 17, Russ – Saracens by 12, George- Saracens by 15
Castres v Montpellier
Montpellier are hot on the heels of leaders Leinster and will hope to follow up last week’s victory over their Top14 rivals. The presence of Frans Steyn and Nemani Nadolo will beef up an already star-studded line-up for the visitors who should have just enough to carry them to an away win.
Ben – Montpellier by 8, Russ – Montpellier by 6, George- Montpellier by 12
Clermont v Ulster
The sequel to the tie of the last round, if Paddy Jackson can get the time off from school and Charles Piutau, Tommy Bowe, Iain Henderson and Luke Marshall can maintain their levels of performance from last week, the visitors will challenge pool leaders Clermont. However, the French side looked equally dangerous at the Kingspan, with Wesley Fofana in particularly elegant form and will hope that their fire power at home will be enough to overwhelm the Irishman.
Ben – Clermont by 10, Russ – Clermont by 7, George- Ulster by 1
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