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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

CJ Stander can make mark for Munster against Leicester

Toulon's Chris Ashton may start against Bath

CJ Stander is a key ball-carrier for Munster
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Scarlets v Benetton Treviso
Sky Sports Action, 1.30pm Saturday

Back Scarlets to give up 22 points to Treviso even though last month's league meeting in Wales was a scratchy affair.

Home head coach Wayne Pivac has not given up hope of reaching the Champions Cup quarter-finals despite narrow defeats to Toulon and Bath and a try-bonus success is needed.

They slammed the Benetton boys, who were beaten 23-0 at Bath in round one, 51-5 at Parc y Scarlets on the way to winning May's Pro12 Grand Final.

Recent European meetings - 2010-11 pool stages: Treviso 27 Scarlets 35, Scarlets 38-15. Recent league meetings - last month: Scarlets 20 Treviso 8; last season: Treviso 6 Scarlets 22, Scarlets 51 Treviso 5.

Scarlets -22
1pt Evs Betway, BoyleSports

Toulon v Bath
Sky Sports Action, 3.15pm Saturday

Toulon and Bath had two tight tussles two seasons ago and this could be close again with both teams having won their first two matches.

However, Bath were off the pace at Exeter in the Premiership last Saturday and the best bet may be for Chris Ashton to score a try. Ash the Splash bagged a brace for Saracens in his last battle with Bath and life in the Top 14 is going swimmingly for him with 13 tries.

Recent European meetings - 2015-16 pool stages: Toulon 12 Bath 9, Bath 14 Toulon 19.

C Ashton to score a try
1pt 5-4 Betfair, Paddy Power

Newcastle v Bordeaux
BT Sport 2, 3.15pm Saturday

Ten changes from last weekend's win at Northampton suggest that progress in the Challenge Cup is not a priority for Newcastle even though they have two victories out of two in Pool One, including a one-point success at Bordeaux in round two.

Take a decent-strength Les Girondins outfit to exact revenge. Gloucester and Leicester have won at Kingston Park in the last six weeks.

Recent European meeting - October: Bordeaux 20 Newcastle 21.

1pt 5-6 bet365

Northampton v Ospreys
Sky Sports Action, 5.30pm Saturday

A last-play defeat at home to Newcastle in the Premiership last weekend should mean that even though their chances of reaching the knockout stages are minimal, Northampton will be pumped up to inflict more misery on the Ospreys.

However, while the Liberty lads are misfiring in the Pro14 and Anglo-Welsh Cup, they have showed up well in European defeats to last year's finalists Clermont and Saracens and may stay within 12 points at Franklin's Gardens.

Recent European meetings - 2013-14 pool stages: Northampton 27 Ospreys 16, Ospreys 17 Northampton 29; 2014-15 pool stages: Northampton 34 Ospreys 6, Ospreys 9 Northampton 20.

Ospreys +11
1pt Evs Betfred, Betway

Castres v Racing 92
Sky Sports Action red button, 5.30pm Saturday

Castres can make it six wins on the spin in all competitions but an arm-wrestle is likely at Stade Pierre Fabre.

Racing are in decent nick, with a triumph at Toulon last month overshadowing defeat at Parisian rivals Stade Francais last Sunday and they lost only 14-7 to Munster in round two.

Recent Top 14 meetings - August: Racing 25 Castres 21; last season: Castres 31 Racing 23, Racing 23 Castres 10.

Castres to win by one to 12 points 
1pt 13-8 Sky Bet

Munster v Leicester
BT Sport 2, 7.45pm Saturday
Munster mauled Leicester 38-0 in Limerick last December but matters should be a lot tighter at Thomond Park this time, with rain on the radar and the Tigers, traditionally fearsome European rivals, in better shape than a year ago despite back-to-back Premiership defeats.

Roared on by the Red Army, Munster's pack will be key to the result and barnstorming number eight CJ Stander is a worth a punt to score a try at 7-2.

Back-rowers have scored against Leicester in their last three outings and Stander crossed in the quarter-final win over Toulouse and semi-final defeat to Saracens last season.

Recent European meetings - 2015-16: Leicester 31 Munster 19, Munster 6 Leicester 17; 2016-17 pool stages: Munster 38 Leicester 0, Leicester 18 Munster 16.

CJ Stander to score a try 
1pt 7-2 Betfair, Paddy Power

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Munster mauled Leicester 38-0 in Limerick last December but matters should be a lot tighter at Thomond Park this time
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