Heineken Cup: First final awaits aspirational Saracens
Saracens look poised to reach their first ever Heineken Cup with Ladbrokes offering odds of 11/8 on a famous victory for the north London outfit.
Having failed at the semi-final hurdle three times before the Men in Black have the perfect opportunity to put that right and make history when they take on Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham.
The Aviva Premiership leaders head into their crunch clash having lost just once in their last nine matches in all competitions.
And given that fine run of form they could be facing their French opponents at exactly the right time with Clermont losing three of their last five Top 14 contests, going down 22-6 to Racing Metro last time out.
Not that it would be wise to completely write off Vern Cotter’s side. The visitors are 4/7 favourites for good reason with last-year’s runners-up eager to finish the job this time around.
Clermont’s recent record against English sides is also impressive, having been victorious in each of their last six encounters with teams from across the Channel.
Perhaps more ominously, Saracens have lost each of their three contests against the French outfit but Mark McCall’s men are built of sterner stuff these days and can use the European experience they’ve gained to their advantage.
A more powerful Sarries team won’t be overawed by opponents who inflicted a crushing 22-3 quarter-final defeat in their previous meeting two years ago.
The likes of Billy Vuniopla can match the brute force of counterparts Gerhard Vosloo and Julien Bonnaire and create space for the attacking talents of Chris Ashton, Alex Goode and David Strettle.
Ashton is the tournament’s highest tryscorer having touched down nine times, including two efforts in Saracens’ 17-15 win over Ulster to reach this stage.
The England international is 10/1 to cross the line first against Clermont while the visitors’ explosive Fijian Napolioni Nalaga is available at 8/1 to strike an early blow and add to his five-try haul in the competition.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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