After the feast of Rugby cooked up during the recent Autumn Internationals Tests, the inaugural European Champions Cup resumes across the continent, with the best and the brightest pill-carriers out in force.
As is custom, we’ve mashed up a nifty acca that pays out at just under 6/1 if the required business is done:
The Red Army have emerged triumphant from their last seven Champions Cup/Heineken Cup fixtures at their Thomand Park fortress, a run stretching back to the 2011/12 quarter final of the latter competition, when they bowed out to compatriots Ulster.
Clermont are a classy, expensively-assembled side currently a point behind leaders Toulon in the Top 14, but the fact they were beaten 30-23 earlier this term away to Saracens, who were seen off by Munster without too much trouble, suggests Anthony Foley’s men are well in for a home win.
Sarries haven’t been their usual dominant selves domestically and in Europe since the start of the campaign, losing four times already, while their hosts won four of their five November fixtures.
However, when Sale have come up against top sides such as Munster, Clermont, Bath and Saracens, who beat Sharks 40-19 at Barnet Copthall in September, they invariably lose.
Furthermore, the visitors have the likes of Brad Barritt, George Kruis, Richard Wigglesworth and a wounded Owen Farrell coming back after England duty. Expect them to put down a marker in the north west.
James Haskell and co just can’t get their act together on the road this term, losing seven out of seven away from their Adams Park headquarters so far.
Their hosts may be rock bottom of the Top 14, but they got to within five points of visiting Leinster last time out in the Champions Cup, and until Wasps register an away win in 2014/15 they have to be taken on.
Ospreys have won all eight of their Guinness Pro12/Champions Cup fixtures at home since going down to a 25-11 against Munster back in February, beating Leinster and Cardiff (twice) along the way.
Racing pulled off a cracking 20-11 win over Northampton at Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in October, but they’ve lost two of their past five, including at home to Top 14 minnows Oyonnax, so the Welsh side look very likely candidates for victory in Swansea.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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