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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Back battling Bath to topple Toulon in Champions Cup

Exeter primed to put up a fight at Leinster

Bath put up a big fight in Toulon in round three
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Benetton Treviso v Scarlets
Sky Sports Action, 1pm Saturday

Scarlets were 22-point favourites at home to Italian outfit Benetton last week but were made to work hard for their win and may go through a similar experience in the return.

Two tries to the good after six minutes, the Welsh side were further boosted when Benetton flanker Francesco Minto was sent off after 24 minutes.

Yet they still found themselves trailing late on and needed two tries in the final six minutes to salvage a 33-28 victory.

Benetton opened their Champions Cup campaign with a 23-0 defeat at Bath but even that day they made the Premiership side toil for their three tries, and a one-point defeat to Toulon in their first home pool match and last week's narrow defeat suggest the Italians can keep it close again.

Recommendation
Scarlets to win by one to 12 points
1pt 7-4 Sky Bet


Montpellier v Glasgow
Sky Sports Action red button, 1pm Saturday

Last week's entertaining clash of these two sharp attacking sides ended in a much-needed victory for the French visitors that pretty much sealed Glasgow's elimination.

Glasgow are still without the injured Stuart Hogg while fly-half Finn Russell is on the bench, so Montpellier, who despite their poor start will move up to second with a win if Exeter lose at Leinster, are 14-point favourites.

The French club's star-studded line-up haven't always delivered this season and failed to cover the handicap in their last four Top 14 outings.

But they should be set up to attack and their prime weapon, powerhouse Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo, is often worth backing to get on the scoresheet. However he is long odds-on and bullocking number eight Louis Picamoles could offer better value.

Recommendation
L Picamoles to score a try
1pt 21-10 bet365


Leinster v Exeter
BT Sport 2, 3.15pm Saturday

Tournament favourites Leinster put in the performance of the round last week, beating Exeter at their own game at their Sandy Park stronghold.

The Chiefs were overpowered and outmanoeuvred, falling to their first home defeat for nearly a year and ending a run of nine straight victories.

That will have hurt the English champions and there is no sign and a club built on pride will surely come out fighting.

The way they made Leinster work through 43 phases late in Sunday's game to score the try that sealed victory should give the Irish province fair warning that they are in for a battle. Exeter coach Rob Baxter has not taken a backward step and fields a strong side.

Recommendation
Exeter +4 on first-half handicap
1pt Evs general


Racing 92 v Castres
Sky Sports Action, 3.15pm Saturday

Castres won last week's home fixture 16-13 but it was an entirely forgettable match and Racing's apparent lack of interest was summed up by winger Teddy Thomas knocking on in the act of touching down after strolling over the line.

Racing are five-point favourites in Paris, where they beat Castres 25-21 in the opening round of the Top 14


Bath v Toulon
Sky Sports Action, 5.30pm Saturday

Bath are the narrowest of favourites for this clash and look well worth backing given the fight they put up last weekend in Toulon, who haven't looked at all convincing on the road.

The three-time champions left it late to edge Bath 24-20 in France and needed an injury-time penalty to inch past Benetton Treviso in their last European away match.

Surprisingly given the firepower in their ranks Toulon averaged just 12 points per match in four European trips last season, while the year before it was was only 15, while in the Top 14 this term they have suffered defeats at Montpellier, Bordeaux, Agen and Castres.

Bath have scored 17 tries in five home Premiership matches and they can show enough enterprise to leapfrog their opponents in the standings.

Recommendation
Bath -1
2pts 10-11 general


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The Chiefs were overpowered and outmanoeuvred, falling to their first home defeat for nearly a year
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