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Rugby rows only boosting advantage to the French

| 29.09.2013

The Heineken Cup currently sits in a state of crisis with French and English sides both refusing to play in this year’s tournament amid a row over political and operational differences with Italian and Celtic teams.

But should Rugby Union’s finest European competition go ahead with a full list of entrants, then reigning champions Toulon are 4/1 to defend their title.

The French side pulled off a slight surprise to beat favourites Clermont in May’s final, with Clermont having been the team to beat both domestically and in the Heineken Cup.

The pressure told however and they ended the campaign trophyless having also suffered a shock defeat to Castres in the Top 14 final in Paris.

Toulon sit at the summit of France’s much heralded Top 14, with four wins and a draw from their opening seven games, whilst Clermont have already tasted defeat three times – a fact perhaps reflecting why they are behind Toulon in the Heineken Cup betting at 9/2.

With both sides continuing to lure the finest talent to the warmer climes away from the UK, English side Saracens are next up at 7/1 to claim a first Heineken Cup title.

They have got off to a fine start in the Premiership with three wins from three, and are the only side yet to drop points.

Sarries have never reached the European showpiece final, but neither had Toulon before their victory at the Aviva Stadium earlier this year.

After three Heineken Cup wins in five years, it was a huge surprise when Leinster failed to progress beyond the Pool stages, a reflection maybe of the switch in power in European rugby from Celtic sides to French.

They remain a force to be reckoned with however and have experience few sides can match.

With all the turmoil surrounding the tournament currently, a price of 8/1 on this powerhouse of a side could prove shrewd.


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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.