Preview Treviso – Scarlets

Bet: Scarlets -5
Stake: 4/10
Book: Pinnacle
Odd: 1.97

15th day of Pro 14 in Conference B.

Treviso is 5th in the conference with 29 points.
Treviso is very weakened for this meeting. They are whithout 13 international players + 8 injured (Robert Barbieri, Ignacio Brex, Angelo Esposito, Ornel Gega, Engjel Makelara, Manu Nasi, Michael Tagicakibau and Federico Zani)! The usual center Alberto Sgarbi will play number 6. They had to call several players of the Italian championship like Marco Zanon (Mogliano) or Simone Rossi (Petrarca). The pair of halves is not bad but the rest seems very light.

The Scarlets are 2nd in equal points with Leinster. They can take the 1st place today. The Welsh are very weakened by duplicates. They have 12 players on international duties. They have some injuries like Jonathan Davies. Hooker Ryan Elias and flanker James Davies were released by Wales. Fullback Johnny Mcnicholl is back from injury. The starting XV is very similar to the one that started last November against Treviso. The Welsh won 20-8 but they largely dominated the game. Because of a slippery ball, they made many mistakes. The front 8 is solid, the pair of halves is beautiful.

On the 2-8-9-10-15 axis, the Scarlets are superior to all positions. Note that this season, the Scarlets have already moved to Treviso, it was in the Champions Cup. They took it away 31-12. Mcnicholl and Asquith had scored.

Benetton Treviso: 15 Luca Sperandio (8 starts + 2 / 0 try), 14 Andrea Bronzini (2+0 / 0), 13 Tommaso Iannone (8+2 / 0), 12 Luca Morisi (0+2 / 0), 11 Monty Ioane (3+0 / 1), 10 Marty Banks (7+2 / 0), 9 Tito Tebaldi (8+1 / 0), 8 Whetu Douglas (8+0 / 0), 7 Marco Barbini (3+6 / 1), 6 Alberto Sgarbi (11+1 / 0), 5 Irné Hebst (3+1 / 0), 4 Marco Lazzaroni (5+3 / 1), 3 Matteo Zanusso (3+8 / 0), 2 Tomas Baravalle (4+2 / 0), 1 Alberto De Marchi (2+5 /0)
A disposizione: 16 Hame Faiva (0+5 / 3), 17 Cherif Traore (4+8 / 1), 18 Marco Riccioni (0+1 / 0), 19 Marco Fuser (3+3 / 0), 20 Francesco Minto (5+0 / 1), 21 Giorgio Bronzini (3+5 / 0), 22 Marco Zanon (0+2 / 0), 23 Simone Rossi

Scarlets: 15 Johnny Mcnicholl (11+0 / 5), 14 Tom Prydie (5+1 / 2), 13 Paul Asquith (5+6 / 1), 12 Steff Hughes (3+1 / 0), 11 Ioan Nicholas (3+0 / 2), 10 Dan Jones (5+1 / 3), 9 Jonathan Evans (2+5 /1), 8 Will Boyde (10+2 / 1), 7 James Davies (5+0 /2), 6 Tadhg Beirne (11+1 / 3), 5 David Bulbring (7+6 / 0), 4 Lewis Rawlins (5+2 / 0), 3 Werner Kruger (7+5 / 2), 2 Ryan Elias (7+5 / 1), 1 Dylan Evans (3+4 / 0)
A disposizione: 16 Taylor Davies (0+3 / 0), 17 Rhys Fawcett (0+2 / 0), 18 Simon Gardiner (0+8 / 0), 19 Steve Cummins (2+2 / 0), 20 Josh Macleod (3+8 /1), 21 Declan Smith (0+1 / 0), 22 Corey Baldwin, 23 Tom Williams (0/0)

Preview Connacht – Ospreys

Bet: Ospreys +9.5
Odd: 1.862
Stake: 3/10
Bookie: PINNACLE

Connacht receives the Ospreys tonight at 8:35 pm.

The Irish occupy fifth place in the Conference with 16 points lees than the third, the Cheetahs but only one length from the 4th Cardiff. This 4th place is very important because it offers a direct ticket for the Champions Cup (as the Cheetahs are not eligible).
At home, Connacht remains on six consecutive wins in all competitions.
Connacht can take advantage of this period of duplicates to score points. Indeed, they are very not very weakened because only Ultan Dillane, Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion and Quinn Roux are on international duries. Props Denis Buckley, JP Cooney, hooker Pat O’Toole, back row Jarrad Butler, Eoin McKeon, Jake Heenan, center Peter Robb and winger Niyi Adeolokuns are in the infirmary.
James Cannon, Craig Ronaldson and Steve Crosbie are back.

The Ospreys are coming back well after a catastrophic start to the season. They are only 6th with 3 points less than their opponents of the day. The Welsh remain on good performances in Clermont or Saracens in Champions Cup. They are very weakened by duplicates because Adam Beard, Dan Biggar, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Owen Watkin are with Wales. To make matters worse, the infirmary is full of talented players (Cory Allen, Scott Baldwin, Dan Baker, Keelan Giles, Jeff Hassler, James Hook, Paul James, Ben John, Dan Lydiate, Rhys Webb, Tom Willams, Kieran Williams, James Rattin …).
Despite this, the starting XV is competitive with a beautiful pair of jalves and a quality back line. In front, it is solid also With players like Jones, King or Cracknell.

The absence of Aki and the locks Roux – Dillane is a blow to the Connacht. If the Ospreys manage to stop Tom Farrell, they will be able to hang on, if not better ..

Right handicap: +8.

Preview Italy – England

Bet: England -22
Odd: 1.90
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: PINNACLE

Last match of the first day of the VI Nations.

Italy is likely to suffer greatly this season. Indeed, the gap between Italy and the other teams (except France) seems bigger than the previous season..
In November, Italy once again showed its limits. They managed to beat a very disorganized Fijian team (19-10). But, later, they lost heavily vs Argentina (15-31) and South Africa (6-35).
For this tournament, Italy is very weakened, especially at back. Michele Campagnaro, Leonardo Sarto and Angelo Esposito are injured! The latter is having a good season because he is the second best scorer of Pro 14 with 7 tries. These 3 guys have no replacement in the Italian squad. They are far stronger than their substitutes.
In front also, some important players are missing. The lock Marco Fuser, the hooker Ornel Gega and the prop Federico Zani are injured. The key players of this team, Alessandro Zanni (34), Sergio Parisse (34) and Leonardo Ghiraldini (33) are starting to get old and are no longer so brilliant.
Parisse is very average this season with Stade Français.

England has one of the best teams in the world. They proved it again in the November Test-Matches beating Argentina (21-8), Australia (30-6) and Samoa (48-14).
They also have some absentees (Kyle Sinckler, Billy Vunipola, Elliot Daly, Nathan Hughes, Semesa Rokoduguni) but the starting XV remains of high quality. The front 8 is very sturdy. At back, there is speed and power. The bench is beautiful!

I do not see the Italians being able to compete. I see the English strike a big blow and take the try bonus point. England by 28 !

Preview Mont-de-Marsan – Dax

Bet: Mont-de-Marsan -22
Odd: 1.90
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: Bet365

Mont-de-Marsan receives Dax for the 22nd day of Pro D2. This derby looks unbalanced between Stade Montois who fights for the playoffs and the US Dax which fight to stay in Pro D2.

Mont-de-Marsan is third in Pro D2. Last week, while the USAP won in Grenoble and Montauban won with the try bonus point in front of Narbonne, the Montois lost without bonus to Beziers.
Mont-de-Marsan now has three lengths behind Perpignan and eight behind Montauban. As a reminder, these two first places are very important because they secure a place in the semifinals at home!
Last Sunday against Beziers, the Montois made a large turnover. They have been unrecognizable, especially in ruck areas. The Montois awoke in the second period thanks to their bench but it was insufficient to take the defensive bonus.
At home, Mont-de-Marsan has 10 wins in 10 games. Very often, they win widely. They put +22 vs Colomiers, +18 vs Massy, ​​+53 vs Bayonne, +31 vs Béziers, +26 vs Angoulême, +27 vs Vannes, +42 vs Narbonne …
Mont-de-Marsan is very weakened in the back row and in the center. Taulanga, Wakaya, Gorgadze, Brethous, Loree, Ratu, Romain Cabannes, Khribache, Astle and Garrault are wounded. Nevertheless, the center makes me a little more worried than the back row because the medical joker Pearce makes is impressive since his arrival. The Fijian center Eroni Narumasa, medical joker of Wakaya, will star on the bench.
Nevertheless, the team remains very beautiful with a big pack and a great back 3 !

Dax has taken a big step towards maintaining the past two weeks. The USD remains on a bonified success in Narbonne and a home win vs Massy. These two successes are good in the heads of Dax players because the USD was previously on a single win in nine games.
Last week, Dax beat Massy 27-17 but it was a difficult victory. The club of Essonne however aligned a mixed team. Massy led by 4 points at the break before taking 3 tries in 14 minutes after the break including one on a counter attack…
On the road, Dax often loses: -19 vs Colomiers and Carcassonne, -16 vs Béziers, -25 vs Vannes, -26 vs Perpignan, -36 vs Bayonne.
The coaches decided to make a dozen changes in their starting XV. Romain David, Maxime Delonca, Thibaud Drean, Joseph Tuineau, Aisea Colati Koliavu, Martin Lautaro Chiappesoni Restano, Olivier August, Arnaud Pic are not in the group. The best test scorer Sakiusa Bureitakiyaca, Julien Dechavanne, Adrien Bau are injured. Opener Felipe Berchesi is on international duties with Uruguay.
The pack is very weakened. Behind, there are good players like Pic or Klemenczak. But, in the animation, Berchesi will miss because Nicolas Cachet is more a fullback than a 10.

Mont-de-Marsan is aiming for a bonus victory in this derby. In front, the Montois should hurt Dax who could end the meeting with several yellow cards. Mont-de-Marsan want a revenge but last game was poor. Against a team of Dax focused on the next day, I see the Montois win easily.
I had planned to put a very big bet on this meeting. Basically, the handicap was 16 points and I did not imagine the Dacquois will start with Pic and Klemenczak. So, only 5u. You can take until -24.

Preview Massy – Nevers

Bet: Nevers +6
Odd: 1.90
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: Bet365

22nd day of Pro D2.

Massy is 14th with only 6 points more than the penultimate Carcassonne. Massy is in difficulties these previous weeks. At home, they never win widely (except against Grenoble). This team is not as strong as at the beginning of the season. Many players have announced their departure and seem a little demobilized.
The back row Clement Ancely, who is the best tryscorer of the team is out. Big blow !! Leota, Roussarie, Etien are not in the group ..

Nevers is only 10th but this team is much better than its ranking. Nevers plays very good rugby. The pack is very powerful like the number 8 Fabregue, who was excellent last week. The backline is great with Naqiri and Raisuqe. Quercy, Fraser, Bradshaw are still missing. As I said last week, the problem for this team is the pair of halves that is at the Federal level and there is no reliable scorer.

On paper, Nevers is superior. I expect a very close meeting. Nevers can win tonight.

Preview Angoulême – Narbonne

Bet: Narbonne +11.5
Odd: 1.80
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: Bet365

22nd day of Pro D2.

Angouleme is 9th in Pro D2. SA XV remains on a 24-13 setback at Carcassonne. This defeat was cruel because the referee refused them a try and then, Carcassonne scored on a counter attack.
At home, Angoulême rarely wins easily: +4 vs Vannes, +3 vs Mont-de-Marsan, +10 vs Carcassonne, +4 vs Massy. At their last reception, they beat Béziers 32-8 but the ASBH made an awful game.
Victor Paquet and Kimami Sitauti are suspended. Coletta will play lock whereas he is an usual back row. The main pair of halves Ayestaran – Meret will start on the bench. Without them, the team should not have the same performance because they are well above their replacements.

Narbonne is last of Pro D2. They have must take points quickly. Last week, they are rotated Montauban and lost 34-10. The coaches made 8 changes. Center José Lima, who arrived from Oyonnax, will stars. It will be good because behind, it lacks a lot of backs (Eadie, Fekitoa, Navakadretia, Gear, Giorgis). In front of Feao is not here. The team is well balanced with a big pack. The backline is quite good. Tuculet is improving. The bench is also solid.

Narbonne will play his survival on this match, a bit like Carcassonne in Vannes. I expect a tight match. The RCNM could even surprise!

Preview Stade Français – Pau

Bet: Pau +5.5
Odd: 1.862
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: PINNACLE

16th day of TOP 14.

Stade Français is 11th of the TOP 14 with only four points more than the 13th, Agen. The Parisians have taken advantage of these last two weeks to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. They will move to .. Pau.
At home, the Stadistes remain on five victories in a row.
However, Paris played Team B of La Rochelle and Montpellier and only won by 4 points against Oyonnax.
Paris is without Macalou, Danty and Gabrillagues who are with the XV of France.
Bonfils, Burban, O’Connor, Arias and Nicolas are injured.
Parisse is back. He incorporates a very powerful back row with Nansen and Alberts.
The pack of forward is huge but lack mobility. The backline is OK. However Yobo and Martial are Pro D2 standart. The absence of Danty is a big blow. He can break the defense and defensively, he is present with 94% of successful tackles. The bench is solid but does not make me dream.

Pau is ninth with 35 points. The Section still has in mind to qualify for the quarter-finals. For this, they must fill the hole of 8 points compared to Toulouse as soon as possible. They have to win away.
For the last two weeks, Pay has qualified for the 1/4 final of the Challenge Cup by finishing first in their group. Pau even managed to create a surprise by winning 34-24 in Gloucester !!
In TOP 14, Pau lost only 3 times away by more than 4 points, it was in La Rochelle, Lyon and Toulon. Three teams far superior than Paris.
Pau is almost complete for this trip. Gunther is back. On the other hand, Jale Vatubua and Peter Saili are not there.
What scares me is that there is no reliable kicker.

This match is 50/50. Pau is superior on paper but Stade plays at home. This match should be very tight. Right handicap Pau +3.5.

Preview La Rochelle – Brive

Bet: Brive +20
Odd: 1.862
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: PINNACLE

16th day of TOP 14.

La Rochelle played a two hard games in the Champions Cup the previous weeks. Last week, they won vs Harlequins (16-7) but they don’t take the try bonus point. Thay qualified for the quarterfinals but not amongst the best first teams. So, they will have to play an away game.
La Rochelle is not as impressive as at the beginning of the season. For several weeks, they won only one game easily, it was against Agen team B ..
In addition, the bad pitch doesn’t play for them. Indeed, their style of play is based on speed and power.
They have some players out like internationals Doumayrou, Gourdon and Dany Priso. Lacroix is ​​injured. Patrice Collazo did a little turnover. Botia is rested. Youngster Gregory Alldritt will start. I don’t like the pair of halves with Kerr-Barlow and Lamb who didn’t impress me at all.

Brive is much better since his infirmary is almost empty. The CAB remains on four consecutive wins and has qualified for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. But, while La Rochelle was struggling against the Harlequins, Brive was smashed Worcester Team B !
There are some surprises in the composition of tomorrow with the absences of Ledevedec, Lagrange, Uys. Koyamoibole will start as lock. The coaches wanted to weigh down the pack that will face one of the best scrums in Europe. Petre and Sanconnie are injured. Marques and Ugalde are out. The team seems solid with a big pack. Behind, it’s more than correct and the bench is strong.

This match comes at the wrong time for La Rochelle who had a big debauch of energy in the Champions Cup and had only 5 days to prepare this game. The pitch will be in poor condition and should be more suited to the CAB style of play. The handicap is way too high. I would have put it at +12.

Preview Toulouse – Oyonnax

Bet: Oyonnax +14
Odd: 1.909
Stake: 5/10
Bookie: PINNACLE

16th day of TOP 14.

Stade Toulousain is sixth in the league with 38 points. They will fight until the end to keep their place in the TOP 6. Indeed, Toulouse plays bad since the beginning of the season. We saw it in Pau (11-10) where they struggled to materialize their domination or vs Toulon at home (18-13).
The style of play of Toulouse depends on 3 players: Dupont, Holmes and Kolbe. The problem is that Dupont is in the France team, Holmes is injured and Kolbe, who was doubtfull, will start on the bench. They are not the only ones absent because Richie Gray, Yann David, Gillian Galan and Jean-Marc Doussain are in the infirmary. The absence of the latter is a big problem because without him, Toulouse has no substitute at 9 and 10. Maxime Medard is back from injury.
The team that will start tomorrow lacks overall power ahead and imagination at back. Bezy is too slow, N’Tamack too young. Fritz and Fickou are in terrible form..

Oyonnax is last with 14 points and seems doomed to go down. However, this team is making progress. On their last meeting, they drew 38-38 at home against La Rochelle. The week before, they lost by 4 points vs Racing Metro.
On the road, Oyonnax knows how to be catchy like in Brive (33-30), Stade Français (39-35) or Racing 92 (25-13).
Some players like Patrick Sobela, Steven Sykes, Vincent Hopper, Vincent Debaty, Silvere Tian, ​​Dug Codjo, José Lima are missing. But, the key players are there. Among them, there are Grice, Ursache, Taïeb, Botica and fullback Björn Basson. THe Springbok, arrived as a medical joker will help a this team.

Pitch will be in bad conditions. Handicap is too high. Right handicap: +10.