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Heineken Champions Cup: Round 1 Predictions

This season of European Rugby could be one of the best ever with the addition of the South African teams raising the standard across the board.

Here are my Heineken Champions Cup Predictions for Round 1.

London Irish v Montpellier

On paper this should be a comfortable Montpellier win, but I’m always wary of picking French teams to win away from home, so treat it with caution. Montpellier by 8

Sharks v Harlequins

The Sharks are looking vulnerable at the moment, but it’s still a stretch to pick an away win at Kings Park. Sharks by 9

Racing 92 v Leinster

This is a great clash between two European heavyweights, and I’m tipping a narrow home win for the French side. Racing by 4

Clermont v Stormers

Another great match-up, and the first taste for South Africans of playing away at hostile French grounds. Clermont have been beaten by Bayonne at their own ground this year, but they normally rouse themselves for this tournament. Clermont by 6

Gloucester v Bordeaux

Bordeaux are yet to win away from home in the Top 14 this season, and so a home win is on the cards here. Gloucester by 13

La Rochelle v Northampton

Northampton’s away form is also terrible and I can’t see them getting anything from this great French Away trip. La Rochelle by 16

Bulls v Lyon

Lyon are one of the few French sides to have managed a win away from home this year, and their first trip to Loftus will be a great experience, even if they are beaten. Bulls by 18

Castres v Exeter

Castres’ Top 14 record is textbook - they’ve won all of their home games and lost all of their away games, and Exeter haven’t been on top form recently. Castres by 9

Sale v Ulster

Sale will be tough to beat, but I fancy an away win here, with Ulster going well in the URC, which is played at a higher level than the Gallagher Premiership this year. Ulster by 6

Munster v Toulouse

These two teams have played out some classic European clashes over the years, although neither team has quite been at their best this season. At Thomond Park in the Heineken Cup, I have to back the Munstermen. Munster by 4

Saracens v Edinburgh

I suspect Saracens will be targeting this competition to put themselves back at the top of the European tree, and they should kick off with a win. Saracens by 13

Ospreys v Leicester

The Ospreys are only just back from a tour of South Africa where they lost heavily to the Stormers and Bulls, and Leicester could be more focused on this fixture. Leicester by 7

NOTE: While our Predictor game will run as normal, there will unfortunately be no Heineken Cup Fantasy game on Superbru this season, with EPCR deciding not to support that game format this year. Separately, we at Superbru are exploring plans to revamp our Fantasy Rugby offering in 2023, so keep an eye out for news next year.

33,359 caps
50% chance of rain in Durban. Might be strange, but the Sharks seem to be like a fish out of water in the rain..,
8 Dec 13:18
375 caps
Why no fantasy this year? :(
8 Dec 15:36
33,359 caps
Hi Matt, the answer to your question is stated after the article, just scroll up an inch or two... 8 Dec 16:24
375 caps
Sorry I missed that! Makes sense, hopefully 6N and SuperRugby will be back in 2023! 9 Dec 13:12
5,051 caps
Hopefully Lyon upset the Bulls. Will be good to see the Bulls lose.
10 Dec 18:25
3,959 caps
Bulls beat a full loaded Lyon side with B-string and debutant players. Thanks Larry...
11 Dec 17:51
5,051 caps
@VikingKing. Bulls should have beaten Lyon by AT LEAST 25+ points. Bulls didn't even get a BP. Exeter will be a tough team to beat away. At least the Sharks are above the Bulls on the log. Sharks played a tougher team than the Bulls and got 4 tries and a BP
14 Dec 14:03
28,182 caps
Very miserly on the Slam points front. 2 if you get a PERFECT 12/12 but nowt for 11/12? Surely worth 1 slam point? Meaner than cat's pee! Why not 5 for 12, 3 for 11, 2 for 10 & 1 for 9 i.e. 75%, which is pretty good going and similar to the football predictor slam points.
14 Dec 23:07
74,242 caps
The problem with that theory is you would need to earn more points with your individual picks and the bonus/margin point system would need to be improved (long long overdue) so that it remains fair 15 Dec 05:38
28,182 caps
No system can be perfect agreed but slam points are a fair way to reward consistency or even gambling on a 30% or lower upset. The Bonuses are more or less luck though going very high or very low can see you less likely to share it. More slam points are therefore 'earned' rather than handed out as lucky freebies. The one curious thing about the Rugby Union is that its worth going in different sized pools due to the closest bonuses, In other contests you get the same points no matter the pool size. It was like that in football years ago. You could be above then below the same Bru in other pools depending on pool sizes, now you stay the same points gap away in ALL pools. Before you could alter tactics just to win 1 or 2 smaller pools, no point now. 15 Dec 18:24