Cardiff Blues should progress in Heineken Cup despite injury woes
Cardiff Blues go into Friday’s Heineken Cup clash missing centre Jamie Roberts, but they should still have enough to overpower London Irish.
Roberts, who starred in Wales’ march to the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final, is forced out due to a twisted knee, but home advantage should still go some way to ensure the Blues come out on top at Cardiff City Stadium.
Coach Justin Burnell has confirmed, however, that he expects Roberts to be back in contention for Blues’ third round clash with Edinburgh Rugby in December.
With this in mind, the 1/2 for Cardiff Blues to top Pool Two represents some value, as does the 1/4 for them to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup, even at such lowly odds.
Opponents London Irish have far less expectancy surrounding their chances of progressing significantly in the tournament, but should have pacey winger Topsy Ojo back for their trip to Wales.
Daring punters may be willing to take advantage of the 8/1 on offer for the Exiles finish at the peak of Pool Two, and the 6/1 to reach the quarter-final stage.
What could be deemed a more attractive proposition is the 6/4 available for Blues to reach the semi-finals, and this could prove a shrewd bet too given the fact that Cardiff have talents such as the aforementioned Roberts, Dan Parks and Michael Paterson at their disposal.
The more hardened Heineken Cup punters though, could be tempted to back Blues to go yet further in the tournament, taking into account their very notable pedigree in it over recent years.
Finalists in 2010, the Welsh side are an enticing 6/1 to appear at Twickenham in the 2012 decider.
They are, meanwhile, a very lengthy 14/1 to win the tournament, and that could be an interesting bet to take on should you fancy them to overhaul favourites Leinster.