Bristol vs Harlequins
This semifinal promises to be exciting and full of running. I know knockout rugby tends to be forward orientated but these two teams are at their best when they attack. Bristol have topped the log and have home ground advantage but Harlequins have shown all season that they know how to win away from home. The fans being back at Ashton Gates will galvanize this Bristol team and they always on attack as they have some of the best attackers in the game. Harlequins have shown that their strength is in attack but their biggest concern will be their very poor defence. They have conceded a lot of points but just went on to outscore their opponents. They won’t outscore this team who has Charles Piutau, Luke Morahan and Semi Radradra as they score tries at will. Their best chance of causing an upset is to gain superiority upfront and they do have a very strong scrum led by Joe Marler and Wilco Louw. They have bailed Harlequins out on numerous occasions this season. This could be the one area that they may hold the edge over Bristol. Harlequins have dangerous runners of their own in Tyrone Green and Aaron Morris but the heartbeat of this side is their half back pairing. Marcus Smith and Danny Care have been sensational this season and have been the major reason for their team making the semis. The exuberance of Smith’s youth coupled with the experience of Care have made them the form half back pairing in the league. Bristol’s defence will need to be its best to try and contain this pair otherwise they will make the home team pay.
TIP: The team with the better defence will win this match and I have to say that Bristol certainly have the better defence. Harlequins have been excellent in attack and this is due to Care and Smith but for some unknown reason they just don’t seem to have that same resilience in defence. The Bristol team attack from anywhere on the field and if Quins don’t sort their frail defence out then this match could be over very early as a contest. The battle that I’m most looking forward to is the contest between Nathan Hughes and Alex Dombrandt. These are two powerhouse eighth men whose teams rely on to get them the go forward ball that they need to attack with. The bookies have Bristol as favourites and I agree with this view. The best odds on the Bristol win are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.30, Playabets 1.34 and Sunbet 1.29
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Bristol vs Harlequins
- In the last six matches between these teams there have been 3 wins apiece.
- Bristol has won the last three encounters against Harlequins.
- The last time Bristol lost at home to Harlequins was in 2016.
Latest results for both teams
Bristol beat Leicester Tigers in their last match 29-23 while Harlequins beat Newcastle Falcons 54-26 in their last match.
Bristol has made Ashton Gate their fortress and only Exeter have beaten them recently so the task awaiting Harlequins is mammoth. When you look at the Bristol team they have so much pace and power in the backline that it is almost impossible to stop them when they get front foot ball. The best way is to try and match them is with physicality therefore the like of Dombrandt and Marler will need to be at their best to disrupt their ball. The Harlequins pack will need to gain an edge over the Bristol team otherwise the backline of the Bears will run them ragged. Callum Sheedy and Andy Uren are also great attacking half backs and if given turnover ball then they are deadly. Harlequins need to treasure possession and put the pressure on the home team. I see Bristol having too much firepower therefore I predict a home win by more than 10 points
- Probable Starting XVs
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Max Malins, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Joe Joyce, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
15 Tyrone Green, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Jack Kenningham, 6 Tom Lawday, 5 Dino Lamb, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Bristol victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Harlequins handicap:
The complete odds on the Harlequins handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (-8.5) 1.90
Sunbet (-8.5) 1.92
Playabets (-7.5) 1.90
Predictions and Odds in details
Knockout rugby is generally very cagey affairs but these teams don’t know how to play that way so we can still expect them to throw the ball around. Since neither of these teams have been in a semi-final in many years they will stick to what they know best and that is to attack. They are both world class in attack but Harlequins will sorely miss suspended players Mike Brown and Andre Esterhuizen. They have adequate replacements but those two players have international experience. Bristol are at full strength and if they can gain an advantage in the forwards then they will romp to an easy victory. There are decent odds on the Bristol outright victory but the value bet is Bristol on the handicap. The best odds on the Bristol handicap are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-8.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-8.5) 1.92 and Playabets (-7.5) 1.90
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.