Tweener previews the weekend action in the Top 14 Rugby and the Aviva Premiership and he likes Racing 92 against La Rochelle and Worcester against Wasps.
La Rochelle v Racing 92
La Rochelle have had a cracking start to the Top 14 this year; they sit handsomely 3rd at the table, whereas their star studded opponents are only 7th. Cracks have started to appear in La Rochelle's game recently however. Their recent 26-0 lost to Bordeaux was unexpected, but it was the manner which was more worrying. Given their style of play, the upcoming months might be a somewhat struggle for them, since they might get bogged down by opponents with a heavy set of forwards which is exactly the case here.
The team chosen by Racing here means business, all their key players are playing bar Goosen. Their form this season has been average because their record on the road has been poor. They have only picked up one win away from home this season, in Bayonne a few weeks ago. To move up the table and be back in the play off positions, they need to start picking up wins on the road, hence the line up named.
The match should be very tight tonight and we should take the plus points on offer, I can even see Racing picking up a decent away win tonight, provided the referee does not suffer from the famous " Top 14 home bias" in his decision making.
2 points Racing 92 +4 at 10/11 with Betfred
1 point Racing 92 win at 7/4 with Stan James
Worcester Warriors v Wasps
Wasps are a cracking team to watch at times this season - their backline would not be out of place in Super Rugby and like him or loathe him, Danny Cipriani is a very good fly half behind a dominant forward pack. However, Wasps have been struggling for a few weeks now. The main reasons is due to a few key players missing in their forward pack. They are missing Launchbury and Hughes again for this and I can't see their form suddenly improving. There is always a belief that Wasps have a "soft belly" and if a team can get to them early, they can be outmuscled, which is how Gloucester beat them a fortnight ago. In addition, there are a few injuries to the Wasps camp; their normal kicker Gopperth is out and Cipriani is a much inferior kicker to him.
Worcester have been as good as expected this year and their record at home this year has been good. A one point loss to Saints, six points win over Bristol, two point victory over Newcastle and a drawn match v Sale. All this shows they are a tough nut to crack at home. This match should be fairly tight and again I will take the plus points on offer. It would not be a huge surprise to see Worcester win.
2 points Worcester Warriors +8 at 10/11 with Coral and Betfred