Castres vs Leinster
Competition: European Rugby Champions Cup
Date: 20 January 2017
Kick-off: 20:45 CET
Leinster have gone and done enough to qualify for the next stage of the champions Cup with a game still in hand, which is obviously great news for them, but it is probably even better news for Castres who could be facing a weakened Irish side who are looking to save their stars.
Castres are still embroiled in a battle to qualify in Pool four where the remaining three teams are only separated by two points. Castres are on 10, with Montpellier ahead of them with 11 points, and Northampton below them with nine points. It is also only bonus points that separate these teams as they have all won two games and lost three. Castres may be facing the top team in their pool to finish off on, but the fact that the Irish side has qualified means there is nothing but pride for them to play for, and because they have a tight Pro 12 to fight in, Leinster may well rest their key players for this game.
Leinster have by far been the best team in Pool Four, a pool that did always look like it was going to be a close one. They have taken the intuitive and run with it having won four out of their five games picking up a bonus point in all of them, including four four-try bonus points and one losing bonus point. They ended on 21 points, almost double what their closest rival, Montpellier, have with 11. There is not too much to stress about for the Irish side, and after last week’s mauling of Montpellier, they can rest their stars.
Castres vs Leinster: Previous encounter
In the first match of the European Champions Cup Leinster hosted Castres and although the French side put up a good fight, they were ultimately well beaten as the game finished 33-15. Sean Cronin nabbed two tries, and front row compatriot Jack McGrath also got on the scorecard that day.
Castres vs Leinster: Prediction
Castres also have the advantage of playing at home, which for a French club is a massive plus as they almost become a different team. If indeed Leinster do decide to rest their side, it will be a comfortable win for the French, but if Leinster keep continuity, it could be a tougher challenge, but still one that a desperate Castres can win.
Castres vs Leinster: Tips
Be aware of what Leinster side is picked. If it is a weakened one it will be a big win for Castres, if not, then the game will be far tighter, but Castres should still win.