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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Take Manu Tuilagi to cross the whitewash for Leicester

La Rochelle look overpriced

Manu Tuilagi of Leicester in action
1 of 1

Wasps v La Rochelle
Sky Sports Action, 1pm Sunday

Wasps are chalked up as four-point favourites despite being steamrolled 49-29 in France last week as La Rochelle shuffle their line-up at the Ricoh Arena.

Les Corsaires have shown no fear in their debut Champions Cup campaign, racking up three bonus-point wins, 124 points and 15 tries.

Head coach Patrice Collazo has rung the changes, including giving a start to fly-half Ryan Lamb in place of the experienced Brock James, while Wasps are boosted by the return of number eight Nathan Jones from injury plus Willie le Roux and Kyle Eastmond from illness.

But the price about La Rochelle is just too tempting given the swashbuckling style the French side have adopted. Wasps have won their last four Premiership matches but three were against bottom-half sides.

Recommendation
La Rochelle
1pt 9-5 Hills

Clermont v Saracens
BT Sport 2, 3.15pm Sunday

Saracens were stunned by familiar adversaries Clermont in Monday's rearranged match at Allianz Park as the 21-point favourites crashed 46-14.

Both teams complained their preparations were affected by Sunday's postponement but it is another worrying sign for Sarries, who lost three Premiership games on the bounce before last weekend.

Sarries are surely too good to let their poor run go on and will come out fighting, but Clermont have racked up six wins in six home Top 14 outings and should edge a physical encounter.

Recommendation
Clermont to win by one to 12 points
1pt 9-5 Betfair


Ospreys v Northampton
BT Sport 3, 3.15pm Sunday

A home defeat to an Ospreys side who had been struggling in the Pro14 was the last straw for Northampton chiefs, who axed director of rugby Jim Mallinder on Monday.

Alan Dickens is in temporary charge and will want a positive response from the players, but with Courtney Lawes rested and Dylan Hartley out through illness, they are missing two of their toughest fighters just when they need to get nasty.

Ospreys have won just two league matches this season but put up a decent show against Clermont and Saracens - last season's European finalists - in their opening Champions Cup matches, losing by five points and two.

The Saints may well come out firing but Ospreys have a decent bench including international half-backs Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar and they look a fair bet to boss the second half.

Recommendation
Ospreys -5 on second-half handicap
1pt 10-11 general


Leicester v Munster
BT Sport 2, 5.30pm Sunday

Munster tamed the Tigers at Thomond Park last weekend and Leicester are narrow favourites to gain revenge at Welford Road.

It was an impressive performance from the Irish outfit, who were 20 points up at the break and imposed their physicality effectively.

Leicester are without prop Ellis Genge and full-back Telusa Veainu but welcome pack midfield duo Matt Toomua and Manu Tuilagi, and they may need Tuilagi's powerful presence to break through a solid Munster rearguard. He is 4-1 to mark his return with a try.

Recommendation
M Tuilagi to score a try
1pt 4-1 general

 


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Leicester may need Tuilagi's powerful presence to break through a solid Munster rearguard
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