Record Losing Week Hits Hard!
Well, It was an absolute nightmare of a week past for yours truly with both of my tipped sides imploding in spectacular fashion. Clermont, who I had tipped to clear a minus 5.5 handicap, were absolutely diabolic as they went down 34-21 to a previously winless Northampton side. So that was four and a half units gone but things went from bad to worse as Saracens drew with the Ospreys leaving me a further four units in the hole.
Anyway, I’m going to take the Mantra of Irish pop group Chumba Whumpa to heart and try and get up again as I was well and truly knocked down last week.
News from the North
I’m unfortunately going to have to keep the news segment short this week as most of the stuff wafting around Europe is bordering on the absurd and I really could not be assed trying to play Devil’s Advocate in the whole Toulon versus Political Correctness debate, which has grabbed sports headlines across Europe. It’s a non-story for me as Bastareaud and his club owner Mourad Boudjellal should really have kept their dirty gobs shut, but, in the same breathe, those whining about their utterances are going well overboard.
Tickets Booked for the Quarters!
A few of the European Rugby Challenge Cup and Champions Cup sides secured qualification to the knock-out phase of the tournament with a game to spare, last weekend. Here’s list of the sides who have already secured safe passage to the next round:
This Weekend’s Tips
I honestly debated having a two-week sabbatical and telling the Oracle I had gone fishing for a few days. However, this is the final round of pool games in both the Challenge and Champions Cups, so I simply have to have another crack at it.
Game: Wasps v Ulster (Champions Cup)
Tip: Wasps (-3.5) 9/10
Wasps have to produce a performance this weekend if they are to advance to the knock-out phase of the tournament. The men from Coventry currently sit third on the Champions Cup Pool 1 standings, five points behind Ulster and four points behind second-placed La Rochelle, who should bag the full five-point haul against ‘Quins this weekend. As such, Wasps only real hope of advancing to the next round would be for them to beat Ulster with a try-scoring bonus point and deny their opponents a losing or try-scoring bonus point as well.
Things get even harder for Wasps when you consider that they will need to beat Ulster by more than ten points as this is the margin they lost to the Irish Province by in the reverse tie and the Champions Cup qualification rules are based on head-to-head results rather than points for and against.
I’m not sure if Wasps will end up qualifying but I can see them coming close. Their attacking flair should be too much for Ulster to keep them within a four point winning margin.
Game: Montpellier v Leinster (Champions Cup)
Tip: Montpellier on the board 11/10
Units: 5 Units
I’m going large here as I think the bookies may well have missed a trick with Leinster set to rest a whole host of first stringers and Montpellier needing a victory to have any chance of advancing to the next round. This weekend’s hosts put in a dismal showing away to Exeter last week going down 41-10. The mammoth loss will have been a massive shock to their system and I reckon we will see a backlash from them this coming weekend.
Leinster enjoyed a much more fruitful Round 5 as their bonus point victory over the Glasgow Warriors saw them become the first team to qualify for this season’s Champions Cup quarter-finals. As such, Leinster have not a stitch to play for here and are likely to send a very much second-strength side to France. My money is on Montpellier ending the Irish side’s unbeaten run in the tournament this coming weekend.