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European Rugby Champions Cup: Leinster can complete double over Exeter Chiefs

Leinster claimed a win at Exeter Chiefs last weekend
Leinster claimed a win at Exeter Chiefs last weekend
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The fourth round of the Champions Cup takes place this weekend and Simon Mail previews key games including Leicester v Munster and Leinster v Exeter...

"Exeter face a daunting challenge this weekend against a Leinster side which have won eight of their last nine matches. The three-time European champions have won all their home games this season but the Chiefs could push them all the way."

Ulster v Harlequins
Friday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Ulster appear to be playing for second place in their pool after the exceptional form from La Rochelle. But the 17-5 win at Harlequins last weekend has put them in a decent position to finish as runners-up. Premiership side Quins already look down and out after their third successive defeat in the Champions Cup. This suggests Ulster will have far greater motivation this weekend and a home win is understandably a very short price.

Ulster back Jacob Stockdale has been a revelation this season and scored their try last weekend in the win over Harlequins. Six tries in eight appearances for the club is an impressive haul and Stockdale has also made the step up to the international stage scoring three tries in two matches for Ireland during the Autumn internationals. The Ulster wing has already scored the first try twice in the Champions Cup this season and is worth backing to do so again, with an each way bet securing a profit if Stockdale is among the first three try-scorers in the match.

Recommended Bet
Back Jacob Stockdale to score the first try @ 6/1 each way (Sportsbook)

Leinster v Exeter
Saturday, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 2

Leinster took a firm grip of their pool after winning 18-8 at Exeter on Sunday. It means Leo Cullen's side have won all three matches in the competition this season and has given them a six-point cushion over the Premiership champions. It ended Exeter's excellent run of nine consecutive wins in all competitions. The Chiefs were always in the game at Sandy Park but Leinster's powerful performance sent them to their first home defeat for 12 months.

Exeter face a daunting challenge this weekend against a Leinster side which have won eight of their last nine matches. The three-time European champions have won all their home games this season but the Chiefs could push them all the way. Exeter have not lost by more than ten points during this campaign and there is every chance of another tight encounter but Leinster's experience and home advantage can tip it in their favour.

Recommended Bet
Back Leinster to win by 1-12 points @ 6/4 (Sportsbook)


Bath v Toulon
Saturday, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Action

Bath came agonisingly close to pulling off a memorable win in Toulon last weekend with the Premiership side pipped 24-20 despite leading in the closing stages of the match. It was a very encouraging performance from Todd Blackadder's side which will have given them the belief they can beat their opponents. The French side got the job done for their third successive pool win but have not convinced after winning by the slenderest of margins.

Hosts Bath are very much still in the running for a place in the knockout stages sitting only three points adrift of the three-time champions. Bath will be lifted by their return to the Rec and with home advantage on their side could have the edge. Toulon have lost five of their seven away matches this season and look there for the taking, with four coming by a single figure margin, so a narrow Bath win could be the best bet.

Recommended Bet
Back Bath to win by 1-12 points @ 17/10 (Sportsbook)

Wasps v La Rochelle
Sunday, 13:00
Live on Sky Sports Action

Wasps were put to the sword last weekend after falling to a 49-29 defeat against a superb La Rochelle side. The French newcomers have been exceptional so far and are the only team to have recorded three bonus-point wins in the competition this season. Wasps could not handle their attacking quality as six tries handed the hosts the points and put them in a commanding position with a seven-point lead in the pool.

Dai Young's side desperately need a home victory with Ulster having a two-point advantage over them in second place. But Wasps face a tough ask at the Ricoh Arena against extremely dangerous opponents. La Rochelle also lead the way in the Top 14 and have already been to Harlequins and won this season so the visitors look worth backing as slight outsiders in this contest.

Recommended Bet
Back La Rochelle to win at [2.4]

Clermont v Saracens
Sunday, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 2

Clermont took control of their pool after a stunning 46-14 win at Saracens in Monday's rescheduled game. The wintry weather forced a delay in the match and the European champions had no answer as they were handed a record home defeat in the competition. Saracens are in a crisis after this week's hammering condemned them to a sixth consecutive defeat in all tournaments.

With the team suffering from a lack of confidence, a trip to the Stade Marcel-Michelin is probably the last place they would want to visit. Clermont have won all of their home games this season and will be relishing the chance of piling the agony on Sarries after their six-try rout at Allianz Park. It may not be as one-sided as the last meeting but the hosts still look well worth backing to cover a six-point handicap.

Recommended Bet
Back Clermont -6 to win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)

Ospreys v Northampton
Sunday, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 3

Northampton's 43-32 home defeat to the Ospreys last weekend proved costly after director of rugby Jim Mallinder was sacked. The long-serving Saints boss paid the price for several years of mediocrity which culminated in a poor start to this season. Northampton's European hopes are long gone after losing their first three matches but the Ospreys' bonus-point victory has kept them in contention.

The hosts' motivation is much higher than the visitors with qualification still up for grabs. Northampton may be more relaxed, following the coaching upheaval, but the visitors have lost nine of their last ten games in all competitions. While the Ospreys appear to be heading in the right direction, Northampton are struggling desperately and the Welsh side can cover a nine-point handicap for the second week in a row.

Recommended Bet
Back Ospreys -9 to win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)

Leicester v Munster
Sunday, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 2

Munster lead the way in pool four after an unbeaten start but it is all to play for in the tightest group with only five points separating the teams. Leicester have work to do after their 33-10 defeat at Thomond Park last weekend. Munster produced a dominant performance with four tries firing them to a bonus-point victory. It was a performance which underlined their status as contenders for this year's competition.

The Tigers made too many costly errors in Ireland last weekend and cannot afford a repeat back at Welford Road. Munster appear to be the more polished side at this moment and are capable of completing the double this weekend. Leicester have lost their last three matches and have been beaten twice already at home this season. Munster are a tempting price as the slightest of outsiders and look worth backing for the win.

Recommended Bet
Back Munster to win at [2.12]


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2017/18 Rugby P/L

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