Northampton Saints vs Munster Prediction: Smith to triumph over Munster once again

 | April 06 | 

4 mins read

Alex Cox Rugby Union

Our Rugby Union betting expert Alex Cox nailed his first European Europeans Cup preview of the weekend, as he liked the underdog Exeter Chiefs to win at home to Bath on Saturday afternoon, which came good with a 21-15 victory to the hosts.

His second preview comes from the live match on ITV1 on Sunday afternoon (12:30). He brings us his Northampton Saints vs Munster predictions for us at Betfred Insights as Munster travel to Franklin's Gardens looking for revenge but he believes that the Saints will shut the door firmly in their face...

Northampton Saints vs Munster Betting Tips

  • Northampton -6.5 @ 10/11

This enticing Sunday lunchtime fixture is the second time Saints and Munster have met in the Champions Cup this season. The first encounter came in the pool stages back in January, when 14-man Saints rallied to produce a remarkable comeback and win away at Thomond Park. Rowntree will use that defeat as motivation to get his Munster side prepared for a stern test away to the Premiership leaders.

Saints won all 4 of their group games to set up a home last 16 leg and they will firmly believe they have an opportunity to go deep in the competition this year. They wobbled in their first game back after the international break, losing to Bristol, however they bounced back in spectacular fashion to blow away a strong Saracens side. Their pack has been solid at set-piece and allowed Finn Smith to release some of the most dangerous backs in the Premiership to devastating effect.

Munster finished 4th in their group which has meant they face a high-seeded Saints side on the road. In the URC, they are on a run of 4 consecutive URC wins which pushed them up to 4th in the table. Munster have a number of Irish internationals in their squad, including Sexton-replacement Crawley. They play an attritional brand of rugby but do have threats out wide too that can burst into life when the opportunity arises.

The forced changes to Munster’s squad have tipped the scales in Saints’ favour and I believe the home advantage along with attacking prowess of Saint’s backline will allow them to cover the minus.

Prediction: Northampton -6.5 @ 10/11

Team News: 

Northampton

Saints have been missing some English internationals the last few games but they’ve got one available again – Alex Mitchell – who will be on the bench this weekend. Other than that, it’s a fairly settled side named.

Ityogun, Langdon and Davison will make up the front-row, with Moon and Coles chosen as Locks. Ludlam and Graham come into the back-row in replace of Pearson (who was injured last week), along with Augustus (who moves to the bench) and they join Lawes to complete a mobile trio of loose forwards.

There are no changes to the back-line that opened up Saracens last week – meaning James and Smith will stay as half-backs. Odendaal and Dingwall are in the midfield, with Sleightholme, Freeman and Ramm in the back-row. Sleightholme is in exceptional form and Munster will be punished if they allow the young English winger any space out wide.

Munster

Munster have been forced into some additional changes even after naming their team on Friday, which certainly wouldn’t have been in Rowntree’s plans. Loughman, Scannell and Archer will combine in the front-row.

Beirne will have Ahern as his second-row partner as Snyman is ruled out with an illness for the second week in a row. The back-row will be O’Mahony, Hodnett and the ball-carrying bulldozer Coombes.

Casey and Crowley will be the half-back pairing in charge of guiding the Munster side around the pitch, with Kiwi Nankivell and Frisch the combative midfield duo. Daly picked up an injury during training on Friday, meaning O’Brien will start on the right-wing, with Zebo shuffling over to the left-wing, leaving Haley as the full-back.

Bet reasoning

Saints will have the mental edge going into this fixture after their colossal victory in Limerick a few months ago. They showed that day they could compete with the Munster pack and weren’t even able to deploy their main weapons out wide due to the biblical rain.

Good conditions are forecasted tomorrow and with a loud home crowd and the carpet-like Franklin's Gardens pitch, I think Saints will get the victory in this knockout round and cover the one-score minus handicap too.

You can find all our latest Rugby Union Betting Tips over on our Insights hub.

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