This weekend’s Rugby 5 pool is an all-European affair
In Match 1, Exeter Chiefs are at home against Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup competition.
Exeter’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an end at Harlequins last weekend. They lost by just two points, but it was a stinging defeat.
They had not lost away from home since mid-February and defeat meant they lost top spot on the table to Saracens.
Against Gloucester, who are a distant third in the standings, they have a chance to reassert themselves. Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester side has had an up-and-down season with five wins from their nine Premiership matches. On paper the Chiefs should win, but as the saying goes, no match is played on paper. It’s fought out between the chalk lines.
These two teams did battle two weeks ago in the Premiership and the Chiefs were victorious by 23-6.
Match 2 sees Lyon host the Glasgow Warriors in the Stade de Gerland.
Lyon have been going through a winlose sequence over the last five matches and having won their last match, it is no comfort that the Warriors will cross the Channel this week.
As patchy as their form has been, Lyon has the propensity to topple much larger teams in reputation as Montpellier, Stade Francais and Racing Metro have discovered. Against the Warriors, however, they will be up against a welldrilled unit.
The Warriors top Conference A in the Pro 14 and their unremitting composure should carry them to victory in this clash.
Bath face Leinster in Match 3. Bath were involved in a dreary 7-7 draw at home against Sale Sharks last weekend. That result meant they have won just once in their last eight games.
It is not the kind of form you want to take into a match against Leinster, who have lost just once in their last 10 clashes - a narrow one-point loss at Munster.
Even more foreboding, Leinster put 50 points on the Dragons in their last game. Their form could not be better and Bath should incur their wrath this weekend.
Toulon and Montpellier do battle in Match 4.
Toulon recorded a rare win against Grenoble last weekend. It was just their fourth in 11 Top 14-matches this season.
In this Champions Cup match they square up against a side whose form hasn’t been that inspiring either, but Montpellier have a bit more going for them. This should be a tight affair with Montpellier holding a slight advantage at final whistle.
The pool closes with the clash between Wasps and Toulouse.
Wasps have won just once in their last six matches. As expected, their most recent defeat came against Saracens, but in some ways it would have steeled them for the onslaught of the resurgent French giants.
Toulouse are on a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions and that includes a victory over Leinster. They aren’t the best travellers, but if they play to the standard of recent weeks they should have the beating of Wasps.