Heineken Cup: expect a tight battle between Clermont and Leinster

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Reigning champions Leinster face Clermont in their Heineken Cup semi-final in the unusual position of being outsiders at 11/10.

They are admittedly narrow outsiders – the French team are 10/11 to make the Twickenham final – but the odds show the size of the task facing the Irish side.

Clermont are in brilliant form and boast a star-studded side that includes the likes of Brock James and Morgan Parra who have both been imperious for the them this season.

However, with Brian O’Driscoll back from a long-term injury and partnering Gordon D’Arcy in the centre, Leinster have every right to feel confident of maintaining their title defence.

These teams have faced off against each other on five previous occasions, with the Dubliners winning four of those, although they did lose 20-13 at Clermont last season and ‘home’ advantage could be crucial in this last-four game.

Despite a neutral location being needed or the semi, the game will be played in Bordeaux, meaning Leinster fans will be overwhelmed by the yellow and blue of the Clermont supporters.

Leinster have the experience to cope though and, with the Irish smashing the Blues and Edinburgh in recent weeks, they are more than capable of dealing with the partisan crowd and the French threat.

Backing Leinster to prevail at 11/10 looks a bet well worth consideration but, if you like your odds a little longer, then a punt on the defending champions to win by one to five points at 9/2 could also be worth a punt.

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