Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account

Saracens can stay solid in face of fearless Warriors

Home advantage could prove key for Clermont

Noa Nakaitaci is the danger man for Clermont
1 of 1

Saracens v Glasgow
Sky Sports 4, 1pm Sunday

Glasgow are making their first appearance in the last eight of European rugby's top-tier competition but any idea that the Scottish outfit will find themselves out of their depth should surely be blown out of the water by the club's results and performances this season.

Drawn in a group alongside heavyweights Munster, Leicester and Racing 92, the Warriors qualified convincingly, winning in Paris and at Welford Road by an overwhelming margin of 43-0.

Even their heavy defeat away to Munster has to be put into some kind of perspective as Munster were fired up that day, playing the first match following the sudden death of coach Anthony Foley, and the Irish side needed a late try to edge the return in Glasgow 14-12.

Glasgow are a side who like to attack and play with ambition and they will be fully at home on Sarries' artificial pitch as they have a similar surface at their Scotstoun base.

The Warriors head for Allianz Park with nothing to fear and nothing to lose, but they are up against a side who have built their success on incredible composure and controlled performances and even a team with as sharp a cutting edge as Glasgow have their work cut out breaking down the Sarries defence.

Saracens conceded just six tries in the pool stage, a feat bettered only by Munster and their tally of just 19 shipped in 18 Premiership matches is far and away the best in England - Northampton are next best with 36.

Defending champions Sarries negotiated the knockout stage last season with typically steady and measured performances, defeating Northampton and Wasps at home by single-figure margins before holding off Racing 21-9 in a tryless final.

It would be no surprise to see them exert a similar grip on this game to keep Glasgow's dangerous backs at distance, and backing a narrow home success in a low-scoring encounter looks the best bet.

European meetings – 2007-08: Saracens 33 Glasgow 31, Glasgow 17 Saracens 21. 

Saracens to win by one to 12 points
1pt 7-4 general
Under 4.5 tries
1pt Evs Betway

Clermont v Toulon
BT Sport 2, 3.15pm Sunday

These sides have met twice in the European final in the last four years with Toulon coming out on top on both occasions, but Clermont are justifiably seven-point favourites for the last of this weekend's European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Clermont won their home Top 14 encounter with Toulon by a convincing 30-6 margin this year - and went down only 23-21 at the Stade Felix Mayol earlier in the year.

The question mark over Clermont is always their ability to handle the big occasions. As well as their two defeats in European finals they have reached the Top 14 final 12 times and won just once, in 2010.

One thing firmly on their side is home advantage. Clermont have lost just one of their last 27 European matches at the Stade Marcel Michelin over the last eight seasons, and that ties in with a noticeable trait of Toulon's on the road.

For all the stardust in their ranks Toulon rarely look the sum of their part on their travels and in the seven European away matches they have played this season and last, they have garnered a total of 100 points, fewer than 15 per match.

Toulon's tally of 12 tries and 120 points in their six pool matches pales against Clermont's total of 27 and 211, and even without twinkle-toed centre Wesley Fofana the hosts look to have far more of a cutting edge.

The man to lead the charge could be France international winger Noa Nakaitaci, who looks generously priced at 21-10 to add to his European tally of three tries in five starts this season.

The handicap is tantalisingly pitched at seven points which looks to be bang on the money. Clermont should prevail but their occasionally fragile mindset makes them hard to assess.

European meetings – 2014-15 final: Toulon 24 Clermont 18; 2012-13 final: Toulon 16 Clermont 15. This season’s Top 14: Toulon 23 Clermont 21, Clermont 30 Toulon 6.

N Nakaitaci to score a try
1pt 21-10 Betfair, Paddy Power

Ospreys v Stade Francais
BT Sport 2, 5.45pm Sunday

Stade Francais came through a tough group to reach this European Challenge Cup quarter-final but they are struggling domestically and uproar over recent plans to merge the club with Racing 92 - now shelved - have meant players' minds have not been on the job.

The upshot is that the Ospreys, more used to sitting at Europe's top table and who cruised through their section, are ten-point favourites for this showdown, which has been moved to the Principality Stadium.

Stade have not won on the road domestically this season and in the pool stage their only away win came at makeweights Timisoara, although they went down by only five points at table-toppers Edinburgh.

Ospreys suffered an embarrassing defeat at Treviso last time out but are boosted by the return of most of their international cadre, minus the injured Alun-Wyn Jones, with Wales half-back pair Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar operating in tandem.

But Stade also have a strong side out with a powerful pack and international pairing Will Genia and Jules Plisson behind them and they look to have the power to at least hold their own so long as the motivation is there.

Stade Francais +10
1pt Evs Betway

Defending champions Sarries negotiated the knockout stage last season with typically steady and measured performances
E.W. Terms
Sky bet