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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Pick 6: Come with us on a journey through space and time...

Our writers scoop their shredded reputations off the floor for one more round of weekend predictions. Fun!

Ulster in training this week ahead of their Heineken Cup clash tonight.
Ulster in training this week ahead of their Heineken Cup clash tonight.
Image: INPHO/Presseye/William Cherry

HERE’S HOW IT works. Every week, we choose six of the weekend’s biggest sporting events. Then we ask six of’s finest minds to have their say. Come Monday, everybody looks and feels a little bit sillier than usual.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Pick 6.

Meet this week’s pickers *drumroll*:

  • Steven O’Rourke: keeps dropping hints about Buble tickets
  • Niall Kelly: promises not to throw coins at Rio tomorrow
  • Sean Farrell: once saw a blimp
  • Pat McCarry: Bikes and trains it to work now. The John Candy of the sports desk
  • Fintan O’Toole: got bags and bags of peanut butter sweets through customs this week
  • Adrian Russell: Nidge-style hairline and management style

Leinster v Clermont

SOR: The Blues came so close to ending the French side’s home invincibility last weekend that this could go one of two ways. They could build on it or could be deflated by it. My money’s on the former and a Leinster win.

FOT: The one player who has dominated the headlines in the build-up to this game is not even playing. But enough of the Mike McCarthy talk, we’ll take Leinster to take an important step towards the knock-out stages with victory.

PM: Leinster won’t get the bonus point but they should ensure their 1/4 final qualification with a win. Selections of Strauss and Reddan would be indicative of Leinster going out to attack and they will win with at least five points to spare.

NK: Joe Schmidt’s men had plenty of chances to nick a win in France last Sunday, and now that they cannot afford to lose, the champions won’t give up their Heineken Cup title with a whimper. Leinster win, but no bonus point.

SF: This is very much a storied rivalry, but the home team always comes out on top. Sure, Leinster won the semi-final in France, but bringing the Auvergne to Bordeaux is like saying Leinster have home advantage in Ravenhill. Lose and Leinster’s Heineken Cup defence will be finally be over, but they won’t lose. They’ll win and deny Clermont a bonus. Let’s say… 24-14.

AR: This should be a good ‘un. When Leinster need to win, they usually do. Full house for the home side from us.

Liverpool v Villa

SOR: I think the real loser here is anyone who has to watch this. Both clubs have had their struggles this season but, Liverpool are heading in the right direction at least. Home win.

FOT: Joe Cole scoring goals. Darren Bent starting matches. And both Aston Villa and Liverpool winning games. Bizarre times of late for this pair but Liverpool at home should be equipped to land a third successive victory.

PM: Liverpool to hit a post or two before breaking the deadlock and running out comfortable winners.

NK: Liverpool have won their last three in all competitions. At home against Villa, and with Suarez available again after his suspension, they should make it four.

SF: No jokes about mid-table scrappers here. Both sides are in similar position with a theoretically-sound new manager struggling to get his framework to work and being completely reliant on one striker. Liverpool will win comfortably in the end.

AR: If kids misbehave these days, parents threaten to turn Aston Villa on this season. Your friend and mine, Luis Suarez is back in action and you’d half expect Liverpool to go on a bit of a run now after some promising displays recently. They’ll start this weekend I reckon.

Khan and Oscar de la Hoya. Damian Dovarganes/AP/Press Association Images

Amir Khan v Carlos Molina

SOR: Khan is fighting for his career here so there’s no way anyone involved with his camp is going to put him in the ring with a boxer who has any chance of beating him. Khan in the first five.

FOT: With that business with Brendan O’Connor and John Joe Nevin on The Saturday Night Show behind him, Amir Khan gets into the ring and at odds of 1/12, should do the necessary against Molina.

PM: Molina looks to be hyped up without having many wins of note on his rap-sheet. It’s all set up for a comfy Khan win and claims he is back when, in reality, he is not up to world-class scratch.

NK: Hang on, Amir Khan is still boxing? Fortunately for him, he should be able to take care of Molina without too much difficulty.

SF: Khan’s lost his last two big-time bouts, but we get the feeling Molina will lose for the first time in his career and Khan will be back in contention for a title bout.

AR: After two defeats on the bounce, Khan will not be heading home to Bolton with anything but a ‘W’. This is professional boxing, ladies and gentlemen.

Saracens v Munster

SOR: After Munster’s win last weekend, both sides are locked on 10 points at the top of Pool 1. Can Munster pull out another of those heroic European Cup performances? Probably not, hence I’m picking Saracens

FOT: With a four from four record against Saracens in the Heineken Cup, I’ll take Munster to win. Albeit by a narrow margin give the aggregrate margin of victory is just 10 points in their four wins over Saracens.

PM: Munster were well worth their win at the weekend but Owen Farrell can’t kick as badly again, Chris Ashton will be up for it at home and John Smit might start to provide some scrum and lineout solidity. Saracens win.

NK: My conscience won’t let me row in behind the possibility of an “Ash Splash”, so I’ll take Munster.

SF: These teams are level on 10 points at the halfway stage in Pool 1 so it’s a crucial game in the season of both outfits. Though Munster won the encounter at Thomond, it only came about after a couple of shocking kicks at goal from Owen Farrell. He or Charlie Hodgson will be much more comfortable in front of home support and the Sarries pack, much as it pains me to say, will continue to dominate.Saracens to win, 18 – 12.

AR: Tough one, Ted. Munster were good value last week but I can’t see Rob Penney’s work-in-progress making it two wins against Sarries on the bounce. I’ll — reluctantly, admittedly — pick Saracens. [Disclaimer: may be a reverse jinx]

New England Patriots v San Francisco 49ers

SOR: If the Patriots put in the kind of performance they did to demolish the Texans on Monday night, there will be few remaining doubters as to whether Tom Brady and company are legit Super Bowl contenders. Even if they don’t they should still have enough to win.

FOT: After Tom Brady’s star show last Monday, the Patriots can maintain their winning run.

PM: My buddy Steve Young would kill me if I went against the 49ers. Heart says San Fran so I’ll go with that.

NK: It’s hard to see the Pats being beaten at Foxboro.

SF: (*after a quick scroll down on O’Rourke’s call) Tom Brady says the playoffs begin at Thanksgiving, so the Pats won’t be of a mind to stop turning the screw any time soon.

AR: The apprentice takes on the sorcerer. And I fancy new guy Colin Kaepernick to show Tom Brady just what he’s made of on Sunday. The 49ers for me, Jeff.

Sports personality of the year award

SOR: Before the Olympics, you’d have put the house on Bradley Wiggins winning this comfortably. However, you have to imagine the performances put in by the likes of Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis in London have influenced voters. Probably not enough though so it’s still Wiggins for me.

FOT: Even in a year of Olympic euphoria, Bradley Wiggins deserves to be lauded for his Tour De France success.

PM: Bradley Wiggins to win. Hope he brings his throne.

NK: It’ll be le Wiggo, won’t it? I’m backing David “the Weirwolf” Weir for a top-three finish at 11/2 though.

SF: Wiggininho will probably win by virtue of his Olympic and no-Olympic success (Andy Murray will be forgotten until he wins Wimbledon in a lean year for British sport), but I’ll go for the outside bet of Mo Farah, a class act with a lovely family.

AR: Gary Lineker and Sue Barker should take the night off and head to Nandos and The Hobbit if you ask me. Wiggins all day long.

What do you think?

Schmidt: Precision key against ‘liberated’ Clermont

Michael Murphy: ‘Seeing the joy in people’s faces has reignited the hunger again’

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