Gloucester: Domestically, the Cherry and Whites have had a disappointing Aviva Premiership campaign, finishing in ninth place - twenty points off the top four and play-off contention. They’ve won three of their past six games in all competitions, including the magnificent 16-14 victory away to La Rochelle in the Challenge Cup semi-finals. The three defeats have all come in the league, away to Newcastle Falcons, Bath Rugby and, most recently, at home to joint leaders Exeter Chiefs.
Stade Francais: The Parisian outfit have won five of their past six games in all competitions, comprising three Top 14 matches and their Challenge Cup quarter and semi-finals away to the Ospreys and at home to Bath. Their nail-biting 28-25 victory over the men from the West Country went down to the final play of the game, and those five victories should mean Stade, seventh placed in the Top 14, travel to Edinburgh full of confidence and belief despite losing 27-26 to Montpellier last weekend.
After Lawrie Fisher’s departure as head coach, Gloucester have endured a troublesome season, and will be looking to end 2016-17 on a high by lifting their second Challenge Cup aloft. Previous winners in 2015 after a narrow 19-13 victory over Edinburgh at The Twickenham Stoop, they’re 10/1 to prevail by 11-15 points. Alternatively, the English outfit are priced 13/2 to win by a margin of 6-10 points.
Director of Rugby David Humphreys was critical of his side’s recent performance in their derby loss to local rivals Bath, and they’ll be looking for a much-improved performance against Stade. A Gloucester/Gloucester Half Time/Full Time bet offers odds of 12/5, whilst they’re 2/7 to win both halves in Scotland.
Captained by inspirational, talismanic Number 8 Sergio Parisse, Stade Francais have finished Challenge Cup runners-up on two previous occasions. After defeats to Harlequins in 2011 and Ireland in 2013, they’ll be hoping to finally get over the line in 2017. You can find the French outfit at a tempting 5/1 to win by 6-10 points, or you can find them at 9/2 to win by a narrower margin of 1-5 points.
Half-backs Will Genia and Jules Plisson will both have key roles to play as they look to guide their team to victory. French teams traditionally don’t travel well in Europe, but given the final is on neutral territory, the location of the game shouldn’t make too much of a difference. Because of this, and given their run of form and results coming into the final, Stade Francais should start as slight favourites.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Half Time/Full Time - Gloucester/Stade Francais – 13/2