Rabo Pro Direct sides to dominate Pool 1 as Saints miss out

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Northampton have made a strong start to the domestic season, losing just one of their opening five fixtures.

Saints’ strong start has been outdone only by a rampant Saracens side who have yet to drop a single point in the Aviva Premiership.

Any team with powerhouse George North at their disposal is sure to rack-up points and their final appearance in 2011 can only serve them well.

However, the English side’s price of 9/4 to top Pool 1 is far too short considering the company which they are set to keep.

Leinster are without doubt the star showing, even with the loss of three-time trophy winner Jonathan Sexton to Racing Metro, a fact reflected in their 8/11 price to win the pool.

That trio of successes all came in the space of four years as the Irish giants held aloft the famous trophy in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and that experience is sure to see them head arguably the tournament’s hardest group.

Les Bleus have made a solid, if unspectacular start to the season, taking 14 points from their first five matches but the return of key players for the European campaign will give them the edge.

Lote Tuqiri has signed on a three-month deal from rugby league outfit Wests Tigers and will add firepower in the backline, while South African full-back Zane Kirchner will join up with the squad after a superb Rugby Championship campaign.

Ospreys have a pack positively brimming with Lions, with five of the Welsh team’s forwards travelling to Australia as part of Warren Gatland’s victorious squad in the summer.

The Swansea-based club have started well in the Rabo Direct 12, losing just one of their opening five, registering a league-best 152 points in those fixtures.

Steve Tandy’s men may have won just twice in their last two Heineken Cup campaigns but their league form paired with their experienced pack and rampant attacking prowess makes them an enticing option at 6/1 to top the group.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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