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Clermont and Saracens have the form to reach the final in Dublin

| 25.04.2013

Clermont look a solid bet at 1/8 to progress to a maiden Heineken Cup Final, with Munster priced 5/1 to upset the odds. While played at a neutral venue, the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier will surely be to the French side’s advantage.

Munster are 10/11 to win on a handicap of +11, and one suspects they won’t be short of support in this endeavor.

While the Irish side have endured an indifferent season in the RaboDirect PRO12, they showed their mettle in a monumental 12-18 win over Harlequins at The Stoop.

In addition, while they have lost two group games away from home in Europe this term, they went down to fellow semi-finalists Saracens by just six points, and Racing Metro (who beat Clermont 12-6 at home and lost by a single point away in the Top 14) by five.

However, it’s tough to see beyond a Clermont win – their last match saw them thrash Toulouse 39-17 – albeit a narrow one. The French league-leaders are deserved 4/6 favourites to lift the trophy in Dublin.

Regarding the handicap, Ladbrokes are offering 13/8 on a Clermont win on both 1-10 and 11-20 winning points margins. The former is perhaps the safer bet, for while Munster may not be the force of old, they have a line-up of proven Heineken Cup winners, and will be well rested after Rob Penney made 12 changes to his side for last week’s clash at Newport.

Saracens versus Toulouse should be a closer affair; the odds certainly suggest so, with both sides rated 10/11 to win the match. The draw is 16/1.

This stage of the competition is unknown territory for both sides, however Sarries should retain an edge with the game being staged at Twickenham, where they beat Ulster in the quarter final, in addition to winning the Aviva Premiership Final in 2011.

Both sides come into this match off losses, however the English side are in better form. Mark McCall’s side have propelled themselves to the summit of the Aviva Premiership in some style in 2013, while Toulon have conceded the Top 14 summit to Clermont, their away form proving costly.

They lost 23-3 in Montpellier in the group stage, and have now lost five of their last six Away from the Stade Mayol. Saracens have won 15 of their last 18 in all competitions.

Saracens are 15/8 to secure a winning margin of between 1-10 points, which appears the best bet in category – a thrashing for either side at this stage of the competition seems inconceivable.

Saracens are 4/1 to win the Cup outright, with Toulon marginally ahead at 7/2. With the fixture taking place inside Twickenham’s walls the London side look the better bet at this stage.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Toby Calnan