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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Premiership leaders Exeter can shade Leinster clash

Saracens should beat Clermont

Lachie Turner dives over for Exeter's try against Sale
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Harlequins v Ulster
BT Sport 3, 1pm Sunday
Ulster and Harlequins occupy third and fourth spots in Pool One and both teams have been struggling to maintain their form in domestic and European competitions this season.

Harlequins welcomed back their internationals last weekend with a dramatic one-point win over Saracens at the Stoop and that form should be good enough to carry them past an Ulster side who have had a tough season.

Ulster started the European campaign well with a ten-point home win over Wasps but since then they have won just two out of five, beating Treviso and Southern Kings.

Last weekend’s disappointing draw with Dragons told the story of their season and, with Ulster captain Rory Best missing out through injury, Harlequins should be able to take advantage.

Recommendation
Harlequins -4
2pts Evs BoyleSports

La Rochelle v Wasps
BT Sport 2, 1pm Sunday
La Rochelle kicked off their European campaign with wins away to Harlequins and at home to Ulster and the French side have shown no signs of slowing down.

They've lost just three games from 12 in the Top 14 and are two points clear at the top. After a slow start to the season, Wasps have recovered remarkably, winning six of their last seven games in all competitions and, like La Rochelle, they have been putting up high scores in the process.

Both teams like to play front-foot rugby and with Danny Cipriani back at fly-half for Wasps, punters can expect an expansive game with plenty of scoring opportunities.

Recommendation
Over 48.5 points
1pt 11-10 Paddy Power

Saracens v Clermont Auvergne
BT Sport 2, 3.15pm Sunday
Last season’s finalists Saracens and Clermont both have 100 per cent records in Europe this season but this game has the potential to be a one-sided affair.

Champions Saracens made a fast start to both domestic and European competitions, suffering just one defeat in their opening nine, but they struggled with the absence of their international players and have lost their last five on the bounce.

A narrow defeat away to Harlequins last weekend indicated that the spark may have returned along with the return of their marquee players.

Clermont, ninth in the Top 14 table, have struggled massively on the road this season, winning just once against struggling Ospreys and drawing with the Top 14's bottom side Oyonnax.

With Saracens bouncing back to form, they should be well capable of beating a Clermont team who may already be focusing on the return fixture next weekend.

Recommendation
Saracens -13
2pts 5-4 BoyleSports

Exeter v Leinster
BT Sport 2, 5.30pm Sunday
A top-class weekend of European rugby finishes with potentially the best game of the lot as Leinster travel to Sandy Park to take on Premiership table-toppers Exeter.

Both teams hold 100 per cent records in the pool with Leinster leading courtesy of two bonus points and the visitors will be glad to welcome back many of their Irish internationals, who were rested last weekend following an unbeaten autumn series.

But last season’s Premiership winners Exeter have been in scintillating form this term. The Chiefs have won 12 from 14 in all competitions, including a 13-point victory over Bath last weekend, scoring six tries in the process.

They have benefited from their lack of international players and having a full squad available over the past few weeks, and should be backed to shade what will be a fascinating battle between two of Europe’s top sides.

Recommendation
Exeter to win by one to 12 points
1pt 17-10 Paddy Power


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The Chiefs have won 12 from 14 in all competitions, including a 13-point victory over Bath last weekend
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