06 December 2013

Heineken Cup Round 3 Predictions: Pools 4,5 & 6

Pool 4:

Clermont V Scarlets

At the moment Clermont are at 1st place in the Top 14, but one point behind both Scarlets and Racing Metro in this Heineken pool. Their Round 1 loss to Racing Metro leaves them with very little room for manoeuvre in the remaining pool games. Scarlets top the pool with a win over Harlequins in Round 1 and a draw against Racing Metro. But Clermont’s record at home is extraordinary in all competitions. A home loss for Clermont could see them miss the quarter-finals and damage their home record.

Win: Clermont

Racing Metro V Harlequins

Racing Metro have performed below their own expectations in the Top 14 and languish in 8th place. The team owner, Jacky Lorenzetti, is far from happy with his team and also has high aspirations in the Heineken Cup. Harlequins, after losing both Rounds 1 and 2 have nothing to lose and will certainly take the game to Racing Metro. But Racing Metro need to take pressure off themselves and stay in the hunt for the quarter-finals. Another home loss would upset Lorenzetti even more than he currently is.

Win: Racing Metro


 Pool 5:

Ulster V Treviso

Ulster are top of the pool with two wins, including a huge away win in Montpellier. But they still have to travel to Welford Road in the final pool game to face Leicester. They need to get to the final pool game with as many points in the bank as possible. Treviso are bottom of the pool with no wins and away from home. Ulster need to ensure they keep their Heineken campaign on track, especially at home in “Fortress Ravenhill”.

Win Ulster

Leicester V Montpellier

Despite being in second place, Leicester are still in a position to win the pool. Of course that involves getting to the final pool game without dropping any more points. Montpellier’s hopes of quarter-final qualification are pretty forlorn and they are just hanging onto a play-off place in the Top 14. Given their position in the Heineken, Montpellier’s priorities lie back at home and will not relish the challenge of pitching up at Welford Road, which is a notoriously difficult venue to get a result.

Win: Leicester


Pool 6:

Munster V Perpignan

Perpignan top this Pool by virtue of bonus points, as they lost to Gloucester in Round 1. But they travel to Thomond Park this weekend with injuries to five players and two suspensions, which deprives them with almost half their team. Perpignan are also in the bottom half of the Top 14 Table. On top of all that there doubt whether two of their Fijian players will be selected after some off-field breaches of discipline. After the Round 1 defeat in Edinburgh, Munster cannot afford another slip up, particularly at home. It is already do or die for Munster in front of the home faithful at Thomond Park.

Win: Munster

Edinburgh V Gloucester

Despite being in the bottom half of the pool, both teams will still harbour aspirations of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Each team in the pool has lost one game, but there is no room left for any errors for either team. The domestic form of both sides in the Aviva Premiership and Pro 12 is no guide as to how this game could pan out. Both are struggling near the bottom of their respective leagues. But taking into account the most recent domestic performance of both teams, along with home advantage may tip this game in Edinburgh’s favour.

Win: Edinburgh