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Heineken Champions Cup: Round 1 Predictions

The Heineken Champions Cup returns this weekend, with defending champions Saracens mired in controversy and plenty of other teams out to take their title.

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Here are my predictions for Round 1.

Gloucester v Toulouse This is a great fixture to kick things off, with both teams expected to play with width and keep the ball alive. I'm tempted to pick Toulouse after a stellar season last year, but although they've won all their home games so far this season, they have lost all of their away games. Gloucester by 4

Bath v Ulster Both teams can be a bit hit or miss, and whilst Ulster have had a couple of good wins so far this season, I'm leaning towards the home side here. Bath by 3

Glasgow v Sale Sharks I wouldn't be too surprised to see Sale winning this, but Glasgow know that in a tough group, they have to win this one at home. Glasgow by 9

Leinster v Treviso This one is only going one way and should be fairly comfortable for the European heavyweights, although the previous results feature on Superbru tells me that Leinster haven't beaten Treviso at home since 2016! Europe is a different story though. Leinster by 23

La Rochelle v Exeter The Chiefs have had some mixed results so far this season, including a defeat at home to Bristol in their most recent league outing, and this is a very tough trip for their European opener. La Rochelle by 7

Ospreys v Munster These are two familiar PRO14 foes, with Munster having a far superior head to head record - they've won the last 9 against the Ospreys, home and away, and we all know how much they love the Heineken Cup. Munster by 13

Clermont v Harlequins Clermont were thrashed by Toulouse in the Top 14 last week, and they have been beaten at home once this season, but they start as clear favourites against Quins, who lost at home to Worcester last weekend. Clermont by 16

Northampton v Lyon These two teams are at the top of their respective leagues, and with Leinster also in Pool 1, qualification will be tough. You have to win your home games, and I'm backing the Saints to win at Franklin's Gardens. Northampton by 4

Connacht v Montpellier This is a tough trip to Galway, and I don't normally like backing French teams away from home, but it's a strong Montpellier squad that has shown signs of life in the last couple of weeks, including a win over Toulouse and a draw away at Toulon last weekend. Connacht meanwhile were thrashed at home by Leinster. Montpellier by 8

Racing v Saracens Sarries showed plenty of grit after a tough week last week, winning away at Kingsholm just after they were found guilty of breaching the Premiership salary cap. The reigning champions will not be the most popular team in the tournament, and I'll be waiting for team news to see how seriously they'll challenge for this tournament, given their points deduction in the league. Racing by 9

Good luck with your own picks. Let me know how many of mine you disagree with in the comments below.
4,214 caps
Can't see Racing beating Saracens, even tho' they are playing @ home. This season they have won 3 of 9 drawn 1 and lost 5. I have no idea who is going to start for Saracens, If the members of the English squad are available for selection, their mental attitude after being soundly smacked by the 'Boks. My attitude is:" So we got a hiding it's history, I'm now going to take it out on the Frenchies. " I have Sarries to win by 17 Connaught @ home by 8 the rest the only difference is the scores.
15 Nov 16:35
1,187 cap
I have a feeling Saracens will field a 2nd string side and focus on trying to stay in the league.
15 Nov 17:34
6,059 caps
The line-ups were published just after noon today in accordance with the rules. Saracens have announced a team which appears to be bereft of stars, I can only assume that that this week at least they will not be worried if they lose. 15 Nov 19:43
16,023 caps
Hi Hutch. This is my first foray into Northern Hemisphere Club Rugby, so I'll be leaning on your advice for a bit! Hopefully you will be more accurate than your officemate Jack has been in the EPL Football! But to be fair this has a different points structure and isn't so 'Winner Takes All' for exacts.
15 Nov 20:31
19,962 caps
Oh boy , not good start with us match 1 wrong , how can Gloucester lost from 20 9 wtf 16 Nov 09:00
16,023 caps
Yeah not brilliant - why sub a No.9 when he was on a hat trick? 16 Nov 12:56
16,023 caps
Actually I've gone against Hutch on 2 games. Exeter & Connacht to both win based on form & history.
16 Nov 12:58
I don't know why superbru not introduced t10 League Abu Dhabi
17 Nov 14:38