As the Heineken Cup reaches its final round of matches many teams are already sure of their fate, but that is not the case for Leicester and Toulouse. Both teams are still fighting for top spot in pool six in what promises to be a mouth-watering encounter.
Leicester v Toulouse – Sunday 3pm
This winner takes all clash in Pool 2 is set to be the tie of the round, as two giants of European rugby go head-to-head at Welford Road on Sunday.
Leicester’s hopes of reaching the knock-out stages are still alive thanks to the 15-15 draw they picked up against the Ospreys in Swansea last weekend. While Toulouse recovered from a shaky start to sweep past Italian side Treviso 35-14.
Neither side has really found their best form during the competition with stuttering performances stopping either side from establishing any dominance in the group. As you would expect the Tigers are odds on favourites with home advantage and are 8/11 (BetFred) to claim the win. Toulouse have struggled on the road this season (as was expected) and are best priced at 11/8 (Paddy Power) to leave the East Midlands with the victory, while the draw is priced at 20/1 (Paddy Power).
On the handicap markets Leicester are generally given -2 at evens (Bet Victor). Given that this is a must win match for the Tigers I like this handicap and think they should cover this. Alternatively Leicester to win by a margin of 1-5 points is 9/2 (Coral) and provides more value for punters worrying about the handicap.
Manu Tuilagi is certainly a player for the big occasion, as he showed when England destroyed the All Blacks in the Autumn Internationals, and I expect him to play a big role on Sunday. The bulldozing centre is a match winner on his day and is well priced at 11/1 (Paddy Power) to score the first try of the match.
Another match winner in the Leicester ranks is full-back Matt Tait. The one time golden boy of English rugby has had a horrendous run of injuries in the last two years, but he now looks to be coming back to form and fitness and at 5/1 (Ladbrokes) to score anytime.
On the Toulouse side French all-time top try scorer Vincent Clerc is 10/1 (Sky Bet) to cross the line first. On the anytime scorer market I like the look of Louis Picamoles looks a brilliant price at 15/2 (Ladbrokes). The destructive number eight has a great eye for the try-line and if he gets into open space he will be extremely difficult to stop.
Leicester -2 – Evens (Bet Victor)
Leicester by 1-5 points – 9/2 (Coral)
Draw HT/Leicester FT – 20/1 (Coral)
Manu Tuilagi 1st Try – 11/1 (Paddy Power)
Louis Picamoles Anytime Scorer – 15/2 (Ladbrokes)