Champions Cup Preview

Champions Cup Preview

The Champions Cup gets underway on Friday the 15th of November and although it is starting a little later than usual, there is no doubt that it will be jammed packed with action. 

With the World Cup now being over, there are a few teams that will still be without some of their English and South African stars but ultimately all teams should be close to their full strength bar any serious injuries. 

Let’s dive into the pools this year's pools and see exactly what they look like for the 2019/20 edition of the competition.

Expected To Win The Group: Leinster Rugby

The Irish giants come into this tournament as one of the hot favourites and it is no real surprise as they have started their domestic campaign like a house on fire and after six games they sit top of the table in Conference A in the Guinness Pro 14.  

Leinster has a fantastic squad packed with both vastly experienced players and exciting youth prospects. Not only do they have some class personnel but their squad is also an extremely deep one.

Team To Spoil The Party: Lyon

The French outfit now. Lyon are absolutely tearing it up in the French Top 14, where they have won eight of their opening nine fixtures. While some will suggest that their squad cannot be classed as 'world-class' Lyon are still however a very tricky side.

Expected To Win The Group: Exeter Chiefs 

The Exeter Chiefs are notorious for imploding just before the business end of this competition but this year we think things may be a little different. The Premiership is just four games in and although the Chiefs are mid-table for now, everyone is expecting them to rise to the top. The English side made some smart recruitments during the off-season, with the headline move seeing Scottish international Stuart Hogg join them from Glasgow. 

Team To Spoil The Party: Sale Sharks

After a two-year absence, Sale return to the European fold and will want to show that they belong on this stage. They have plenty of depth in their squad and on paper look more than capable of competing on all fronts.

Expected To Win The Group: Clermont

Ulster are probably the most the in-form side having won four of their opening six Pro14 outings so far this season. However, Clermont's star-studded side are the favourites to top the group.  The three runners-up are a side with European pedigree and will no doubt be a real handful when they play at home. Clermont is currently sixth in the Top 14 but that doesn't mean one should write the Challenge Cup Champions off.

Team To Spoil The Party: Bath

The Premiership side have had a slow to start the season winning just two of their four games but managed to upset, then Premiership leaders, Northampton Saints this past weekend. The likes of Francois Louw returning to the side from the World Cup, gives them a timely boost during the competition. While they are also set to welcome back the likes of Anthony Watson, Semesa Rokoduguni and Jonathan Joseph.

Expected To Win The Group: Saracens

After being handed a 35 point deduction on the domestic front, Sarries know there's nothing to play for in the Premiership. One expects them to go full-tilt in this competition and with the squad they possess it's easy to see why they still seen as one of the favourites to win the tournament. 

It will all depend on whether Mark McCall plays his first-choice side or pick a few academy players.

Team To Spoil The Party: Munster Rugby 

The Irish side is always a tough outfit and especially at home. There is talk that they are trying to boost the squad with a few World Cup winning South Africans and if that does materialise then they could certainly put some pressure on the likes of Sarries and Racing 92.

Expected To Win The Group: Toulouse 

The French club were the first European club champions in 1996 and went on to repeat their success in 2003, 2005 and 2010. Toulouse’s squad is filled with talent and there are match winners in almost every single department. 

Team To Spoil The Party: Gloucester Rugby

Johann Ackermann has built a very handy squad and it has a very strong South African base. Gloucester have lost two of their four games, however, managed to secure three bonus-points from these defeats. If they are able to pick up points on the road then they could be outsiders in this competition. 

Fixtures For Round 1: 

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