European Rugby Champions Cup: Toulon ready to avenge Leicester Tigers defeat

Leicester Tigers won last weekend's clash with Toulon at Welford Road
Leicester Tigers won last weekend's clash with Toulon at Welford Road
Join today

Simon Mail previews the latest European action where champions Toulon are expected to get back on track after losing to Leicester Tigers...

"Toulon have won all 12 home matches in the competition and it will take something exceptionally special from Leicester to halt this impeccable run."

Back Toulon to win by under 12.5 points at [2.4]

Toulon v Leicester
Saturday December 13, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 1

The game of the weekend pits defending champions Toulon at home to Leicester Tigers with last year's winners looking to respond to last week's setback. The French giants went down to a 25-21 defeat at Welford Road which pushed the Premiership side into contention for a place in the last eight of the competition. But a trip to Toulon will a significant step up in difficulty altogether. 

The big talking point that came out of the last match was former Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni's scathing criticism of Richard Cockerill on his return to England. This has only increased the tension and anticipation of this rematch. It is hard to say whether this will have any bearing on the return match but the fact remains Toulon have an unblemished record at home in Europe.

Toulon have won all 12 home matches in the competition and it will take something exceptionally special from Leicester to halt this impeccable run. The Tigers' recent record in France also does not inspire confidence with one win from their last nine trips. Toulon will have a point to prove after last weekend but the visitors kept within six points when they visited them in the quarter-final two seasons ago so it could be worth backing another tight home win.

Recommended Bet:
Back Toulon to win by under 12.5 points at [2.4]


Bath v Montpellier
Friday December 12, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

All the focus ahead of this weekend's match is on new signing Sam Burgess with the former rugby league star making his first start for Bath. The 25-year-old made his debut last month against Harlequins and also came on last weekend during the comfortable 30-5 win in Montpellier. Burgess starts at inside centre and all eyes will be on the England prospect as he looks to make a major impact.

Bath's hopes of reaching the last eight are pretty distant with Toulouse and Glasgow holding significant points advantages in the table midway through the group stage. But the Premiership side showed their potential last weekend after coasting to victory in France. Bath were frustrated not to come away with a bonus-point win but were still far too strong for their opponents.

The French outfit are already out of contention in the competition after losing all three matches. The fact they were beaten so heavily by Bath suggests their opening defeats have ensured all interest in the tournament has gone. The hosts brushed Montpellier aside with ease one week ago and there is no reason to think it won't be a similar story again. Take Bath to cover a 20-point handicap and dish out another hammering at the Rec. 

Recommended Bet:
Back Bath -20 in the Sportsbook at [1.91]


Northampton v Treviso
Saturday December 13, 15:15
Live on BT Sport 2

Northampton Saints have put themselves back in contention to qualify for the quarter-finals after back-to-back wins. The Premiership champions were beaten in Racing Metro in their opener but bonus-point victories over the Ospreys and Treviso has left them in a decent position to challenge for the European title. 

As expected, Treviso are just making up the numbers with the Italians bottom of the pool with three defeats. Northampton had no problems last weekend as they ran in six tries during an easy 38-15 win. More of the same will be expected again and nothing less than five points will be looked upon as a satisfactory return.

Northampton have so much attacking talent throughout their side and at Franklin's Gardens are a difficult team to stop. The Ospreys found this to their cost when they were overwhelmed in October and the chances are Treviso will face a similar beating. The result looks a foregone conclusion so the handicap market, with the Saints needing to cover 35 points, could be the best play. 

Recommended Bet:
Back Northampton -35 in the Sportsbook at [1.91]


Saracens v Sale
Saturday December 13, 17:15
Live on Sky Sports 2

Saracens are battling in the toughest and tightest pool of the lot this season and cannot afford to slip up against Sale Sharks. The Men in Black are third in the table but only one point behind leaders Clermont. But Mark McCall's side will know a bonus-point win is necessary this weekend against a Sale team with three defeats to their name.

Sarries opened with a victory over Clermont but could not secure a losing bonus point from their trip to Munster. Crucially the side responded with a nervous 19-15 win at Sale last weekend which kept them in the running to emerge from this devilish group. It has not been vintage Saracens lately but their ability to grind out results has kept them in touch with their rivals.

It has proved difficult for the side to claim convincing wins with 12 points their biggest margin of victory since September. But perhaps significantly, their last comprehensive result came at home to Sale when they romped to a 40-19 Premiership win. With no margin for error, Saracens are fancied to claim maximum points with a comfortable victory over a Sharks team with little to play for.  

Recommended Bet:
Back Saracens -20.5 at [1.91]


Leinster v Harlequins
Saturday December 13, 19:45
Live on BT Sport 2

Harlequins have emerged as the surprise leaders of their pool after a superb start to the competition. Conor O'Shea's side have put their inconsistencies from the Premiership to one side with three successive victories. Their 24-18 home win over Leinster was the one which underlined Quins must be taken seriously and put them in pole position to qualify.

Leinster have undoubted pedigree in Europe having won the Heineken Cup three times and came into this year as contenders once more. But the Irish giants are not firing on all cylinders as last weekend's defeat at the Stoop demonstrated. Fifth place in the Pro12 underlines Matt O'Connor's side still have several gears to go through to find their best form.

All the pressure is on the home side with Leinster going into the clash three points behind Harlequins. But the visitors are missing both Chris Robshaw and Nick Evans which will certainly not help their cause at the Aviva Stadium. The sides' two meetings in the competition have been decided by six points or less so a narrow Leinster win looks the most likely outcome. 

Recommended Bet:
Back Leinster to win by under 12.5 points at [2.5]


Wasps v Castres
Sunday December 14, 13:00
Live on Sky Sports 2

It looks certain to be an emotional send off for Wasps on Sunday when the team play their final match at Adams Park. Dai Young's side are bidding farewell to Wycombe and moving to Coventry so a bumper crowd is expected as the curtain draws on their time in Buckinghamshire. Wasps will not want a limp exit so a big performance is anticipated. 

Wasps have still not given up on a last-eight spot although the team will probably require three more wins to have any chance. Narrow defeats to Leinster and Harlequins were followed by a 32-17 bonus-point win in Castres last weekend. This has renewed their hope in the competition although they remain outsiders compared to Quins and Leinster. 

Castres are out of contention with three defeats ending their prospects. It would be no surprise if they showed little interest in the competition from this point so a big home win could be on the cards. Wasps destroyed London Welsh 71-7 in their last match in Wycombe and, although a repeat score is unlikely, the hosts every chance of covering an 18-point handicap.  

Recommended Bet:
Back Wasps -18 in the Sportsbook at [1.91]

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

2014/15 Rugby P/L

Staked: 52pts
Returned: 57.89pts

P/L: +5.89pts

Join today

Discover the latest articles