European Rugby Champions Cup: Wasps can clinch final place with win over Sarries

Christian Wade scored six tries for Wasps in last weekend's win at Worcester
Christian Wade scored six tries for Wasps in last weekend's win at Worcester

The last four of the Champions Cup is dominated by English clubs and Simon Mail thinks Wasps can defeat Premiership rivals Saracens to reach the final...


"Wasps come into this match in better form than Saracens and can also boast an emphatic win over them after a 64-23 drubbing in February. Sarries were missing key internationals during that clash but Wasps have the momentum and belief to topple the favourites."

Saracens v Wasps
Saturday, 15:00
Live on Sky Sports 1

Saracens have been consistently knocking on the door for European success and this is perceived as their best chance with the Premiership champions installed as the favourites heading into the semi-finals. The Men in Black are the only team in the competition to have won all their games this season after victories in the six pool matches.

Sarries were not at their best in the quarter-finals but managed to grind out a 29-20 home win over Premiership rivals Northampton. Mark McCall's side were beaten finalists in 2014 and they reached the last-four the season before and after this run. Their credentials are obvious but Saracens are far from certainties to get past extremely dangerous opponents.

Wasps are in exceptional form and present a threat to Saracens both in Europe and the Premiership. Dai Young's side have won their last six games and 12 of their last 13 matches in all competitions. Wasps crushed Worcester 54-35 last weekend when wing Christian Wade equalled the Premiership record after scoring six tries.

Their superb run has taken them up to second in their league but arguably some of their best rugby has been in the Champions Cup. Wasps started their campaign with a comprehensive 33-6 win at Leinster and backed this up with a stunning 32-6 home win over champions Toulon. Finishing above them in the pool was an excellent achievement and the side showed their character in the quarter-finals when they snatched a dramatic 25-24 win against Exeter.

Wasps come into this match in better form than Saracens and can also boast an emphatic win over them after a 64-23 drubbing in February. Sarries were missing key internationals during that clash but Wasps have the momentum and belief to topple the favourites. The Madejski Stadium will host this English showdown and outsiders Wasps look a very appealing price to extend their winning run and reach the final.

Recommended Bet:
Back Wasps to win at 2.727/4


Leicester v Racing Metro
Sunday, 15:15
Live on BT Sport Europe

Leicester have a rich history in Europe and this year represents a great chance to reach the final for the first time in seven years. The Tigers have twice been crowned European champions but the last time came back in 2002. Leicester have not got past the quarter-finals since 2009 so their return to the the last-four is a big boost.

Richard Cockerill's side won five of their six pool games to top the group. In the last eight, Leicester produced a dominant performance to defeat Stade Francais 41-13. The Tigers have found their form in recent weeks with three consecutive victories including last weekend's 30-24 win at rivals Northampton in the Premiership.

Racing Metro are making their first semi-final appearance but there is no doubting their star quality and they have the ability to advance further. The Top 14 side have a host of world class players in their side including World Cup winner Dan Carter. Racing ended Toulon's three-season reign as champions after a 19-16 victory in the quarter-finals.

The odds suggest it is hard to split them with the French side deemed marginal favourites. But Leicester should feel comfortable playing in Nottingham at the City Ground and this could tip the balance in their favour. It is new territory for Racing and the Tigers are running into top form. Leicester can end the wait for another final and set up an all-English showdown by edging to a narrow win.

Recommended Bet:
Back Leicester to win by 1-12 points in the Sportsbook at 9/5


Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster


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