Heineken Cup Preview

Heineken Cup

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Published: 12/10/2012

Bookmakers think Leinster are once more the team to beat in the Heinekn Cup and they are 4/1 (general) for their third successive Cup and their fourth in five years. Though deserved favourites they are signs that they could be beaten this season. In domestic action they have had a slow start to their campaign losing two of their opening six games while the French sides are expected to be as strong as ever with the next three in the market all coming from the French league. Toulouse are 6/1 (general) to lift their fifth Heineken Cup while starpacked Toulon are 7/1 (general) for success with Clermont Auvergne available at 8/1 (general). The English sides are headed by Harlequins at 12/1 (general) with Leicester 18/1 (boylesports), Saracens at 20/1 (BWin) and early domestic pace-setters Northampton 22/1 (BetVictor/ladbrokes). As well Leinster a number of sides from the Pro12 are represented with current leaders and beaten finalists from last year Ulster 20/1 (BetVictor/Stan James) and Munster 16/1 (general).

The tournament splits the teams into six pools with the group winners and the two best runners-up reaching the last eight. Pool 1 looks between Saracens and Munster. The English side are the 33/20 (You Win) favourites to top the group while Munster are 7/4 (BetVictor/BWin). Racing Metro are 6/1 (ladbrokes) while Edinburgh are 12/1 (Stan James) Into Pool 2 and this looks like being a straight battle between Toulouse and Leicester. It is 10/11 (BetVictor) that the French side win the group while the English team are a best priced 9/4 (boylesports). Also in the group are the Ospreys (11/2-ladbrokes) and Benetton Treviso (325/1-paddy Power).

The third pool looks like being between Harlequins (10/11-Skybet) and Biarritz (11/10-boylesports/ladbrokes). These two should be able to rack up the points against the two minnows of Connacht (80/1-boylesports) and Zebre (500/1-general). The early pace-setters in England (Northampton) take on the early pace setters in the Pro12 (Ulster). The Saints are the 11/8 (general) favourites for Pool four while Ulster are 8/5 (You Win). Castres at 6/1 (Boylesports/Stan James/ladbrokes) and Glasgow (16/1-You Win) will be cursing their luck in the draw. Leinster are 8/11 (Skybet/Blue Sq/888 Sport) though I actually like the look of Clermont Auvergne to spring a shock here. The French leaders are 33/20 (You Win) to win the group and I think they can do so. Others in the group are Llanelli Scarlets (20/1-You Win) and the Exeter Chiefs (66/1-paddy Power). Toulon are 4/7 (BWin and You Win) to claim Pool six with Cardiff (6/1-ladbrokes) and Montpellier (6/1-ladbrokes/You Win) expected to run them closest. Sale Sharks (18/1) are expected to bring up the rear.

Of the all teams expected to go well I think French side Toulon are the ones that appeal the most. The draw has been very kind to them and they have the easiest group while others will face a real batttle. A team with such talented players should have no problems securing a home slot in the last eight. Toulon are a best priced 7/1 (general). Those looking for a side at bigger prices should consider Ulster who have started the domestic campaign well and are tough to beat on their own ground. They can be taken EW at 20/1 with BetVictor and Stan James.

BEST OF THE BETS

GOLD: Toulon in the outrights at 7/1 (general)
SILVER: Ulster EW in the outrights at 20/1 (BetVictor/Stan James)
BRONZE: Clermont Auvergene to win Pool 5 at 33/20 (You Win)


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