As the Heineken Cup enters its fourth round of action the six pools are starting to take shape, with some teams fate already sealed and others hanging in the balance. Here is my preview of the weekends best match, featuring reigning champions Leinster and the French powerhouse Clermont Auvergne.
Leinster v Clermont – Saturday 3.40pm
Champions Leinster will be looking to avenge last weeks three point loss to Clermont when they welcome the French giants to Dublin on Saturday. The Irish side have struggled to hit the heights of last season and now find themselves second in Pool 5, five points adrift of Clermont.
By contrast the French side have been in brilliant form this season, winning their first three matches and are now in pole position for a home quarter-final. SportingBet are offering 3/1 for a Clermont win, while Leinster are odds on favourites at 4/11 with Ladbrokes.
While tries were at a premium in the south of France, I expect a far more open game this weekend. French centre Wesley Fofana is well priced at 14/1 with Paddy Power to score the first try. Leinster’s Fijian star Isa Necewa looks a good bet at 9/1 for the first try and has a good record in this competition.
On the anytime scorer markets Irish hooker Richardt Strauss is well priced at 13/2 with Paddy Power. Strauss has made a rapid rise in the past two seasons, and is one of the most mobile front-row players in Europe, he knows where the try-line is and looks a good bet.
On the handicap market a +6 start for Clermont with BetVictor at 10/11 looks very generous indeed given the amount of close games these teams have played.
Clermont – to win 3/1 (SportingBet)
Clermont +6 – 10/11 (Bet Victor)
Wesley Fofana – 1st Try 14/1 (Paddy Power)
Richardt Strauss – anytime scorer 13/2 (Paddy Power)