European Rugby Champions Cup: Back Saracens to seal double over Toulon

Saracens finish the pool stage with a home clash against Toulon
Saracens finish the pool stage with a home clash against Toulon
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Simon Mail expects defending champions Saracens to end the pool stage with a home victory over former winners Toulon...

"Saracens have not lost at Allianz Park all season and the Premiership champions will be confident about completing the double over Toulon following their 31-23 win in France back in October."

Montpellier v Northampton
Friday, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Montpellier were left reeling after being thrashed 57-3 by a rampant Leinster last weekend. The drubbing has severely hit their hopes of qualifying as a best runner-up although the Top 14 side still remain in second place. Montpellier have won both of their home games but their away form has let them down during the competition.

It has been a real slow burner this season for Northampton but Jim Mallinder's side are finally starting to show some form. The Saints have won their last four games in all competitions including a 28-21 win over Castres last weekend. Northampton's poor start to the tournament has cost them though leaving the side bottom of the group.

Montpellier will want to salvage some pride after their crushing defeat in Ireland even if it has harmed their hopes of getting through. The French side have been strong at home, edging past Leinster 22-16, which makes them strong favourites. Northampton are not the best travellers but are still worth backing with a 23-point handicap advantage.

Recommended Bet
Back Northampton +23 to win @ Evens (Sportsbook)

Clermont v Exeter
Saturday, 13:00
Live on BT Sport 2

Clermont have coasted through the pool stage with four wins from five matches comfortably seeing them through to the quarter-finals. It has been a tale of near misses over the years in Europe but the team will hope this can finally be their season. Clermont booked their place in the next round after grinding out a 9-6 win at Bordeaux last weekend.

Exeter are finishing the group stage in superb style but it may be just too late for them to squeeze into the next round. The Chiefs are paying the price for a poor start losing their first three games. Exeter have responded by beating Bordeaux and Ulster, during a run of one defeat in their last ten matches, as they head to France with confidence.

But Clermont have a superb record at Stade Marcel-Michelin leaving Exeter with an uphill task to pull off a shock win. The Chiefs lost 35-8 at home to them this season although the team are playing much better now. Nevertheless, Clermont will want to seal a home tie in the next round and could be worth supporting to win by 11 to 20 points at a tempting price.

Recommended Bet
Back Clermont to win by 11-20 points @ 12/5 (Sportsbook)

Saracens v Toulon
Saturday, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 2

Saracens showed the fight of champions on Sunday after snatching a last-minute 22-22 draw at the Scarlets. The Men in Black were well below their best but still managed to deny their opponents and extend their unbeaten run in the competition this season. Sarries lost their 100 per cent record but the holders are safely through to the last-eight.

There is a lot more at stake for the visitors with Toulon probably needing a result to progress to the knockout stage. The three-time winners have it all to do after losing at home to Saracens in their opening pool game. Toulon also slipped up at the Scarlets but their bonus-point win over Sale has kept them in contention.

Saracens have not lost at Allianz Park all season and the Premiership champions will be confident about completing the double over Toulon following their 31-23 win in France back in October. This clash should be fiercely contested but the hosts have the stronger team, with Toulon lacking the quality of previous years, so a narrow home win appeals in the pool finale.

Recommended Bet
Back Saracens to win by 1-12 points @ 13/8 (Sportsbook)

Sale v Scarlets
Saturday, 15:15
Live on Sky Sports 2

Sale have endured a miserable run in recent months after losing their last ten matches in all competitions. Steve Diamond's side have been beaten in all five Champions Cup games this season in a year to forget. The Sharks gave Toulon a few problems last weekend but two late tries gave the French side a 27-12 win.

The Scarlets' hopes of progression to the next round were cruelly dashed after a dramatic try snatched a draw for Saracens. It was a very encouraging performance and the Pro 12 side were unlucky not to defeat the champions. The Scarlets have won two of their five European games including a 28-11 victory over Sale.

Sale are on a desperate run which has to end some time but there is no temptation to side with a team on a ten-match losing run. The Scarlets won handsomely against them in October and are worth backing to defeat them again. This looks like being a tight contest with Sale losing by no more than three points in two of their last three defeats so a slender away win is suggested.

Recommended Bet
Back Scarlets to win by 1-12 points @ 8/5 (Sportsbook)

Leicester v Glasgow
Saturday, 17:30
Live on BT Sport 2

Leicester badly need a positive result to lift the mood at the club after four consecutive defeats in all competitions. The Tigers' poor form recently led to the axing of director of rugby Richard Cockerill but it has not get any easier under the leadership of Aaron Mauger. His two matches in charge resulted in a loss to Wasps and a 34-3 hammering at Racing last week.

Glasgow's hopes of finishing as one of the best runners-up hang in the balance with a positive result in their final game needed to secure a place in the quarter-finals. The Warriors have been excellent at times in this competition including their one-sided 42-13 home win over Leicester. But their agonising 14-12 defeat against Munster last week has left qualification in doubt.

The Tigers may be on a bad run but there appears to be an overreaction to this with Leicester outsiders to win. Leicester still have an excellent record at Welford Road where they defeated pool winners Munster. Glasgow will not find it easy claiming the win and the Tigers appeal with a two-point handicap.

Recommended Bet
Back Leicester +2 to win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)

Zebre v Wasps
Sunday, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 2

Wasps left it late to snatch a thrilling 17-14 home win over Toulouse last weekend. The victory keeps the Premiership leaders in control of their own destiny in the most competitive pool this season. Wasps have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions and should have no problems brushing aside their opponents.

Zebre have predictably propped up the table after losing all five matches in this season's pool stage. The Italians have been totally out of their depth and suffered a humiliating 82-14 opening loss at Wasps. It has not got much better since for Zebre with their 30-point loss to Toulouse the smallest margin of defeat.

This match is surely only about how much Wasps win by and it is easy to make a case for the rampant side romping to another huge victory. Sitting second in the group, Wasps will want to wrap up the bonus-point early on and this team scored 82 points against Zebre in October. The visitors have been set a 48-point handicap and are more than capable of achieving this with something to spare.

Recommended Bet
Back Wasps -48 to win @ 10/11 (Sportsbook)


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2016/17 Rugby P/L

Staked: 74pts
Returned: 74.7pts
P/L: +0.7pts

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