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Settled Irish teams value for threatened Heineken Cup

| 01.10.2013

Leinster and Munster have won this cup five times between them and they look set to regain glory in the under-fire competition.

With British and French sides due to quit the premier European event next year a dark cloud hangs over the organisers but there is still time for the top Irish sides to light up the event in what could be its final year.

Leinster became the second team in the competition’s history to lift the prize in consecutive years in 2011-12 and look well priced at 8/1 to collect the honours for the fourth time.

Matt O’Connor’s side was not as active as the other provinces in the summer market, choosing to promote nine academy players to the senior side, but with the acquisition of South African international Zane Kirchner, supporters of the Eastern side have every right to feel confident about their chances.

Munster, 14/1, last lifted the second of their two Heineken Cups back in 2007/08 have arguably had the worst business break of all having seen the departure of club stalwarts Ronan O’Gara and Marcus Horan along with New Zealand legend Doug Howlett. However, Rob Penney clearly felt he had enough in the academy to compensate the losses as five players were given the nod to make the step up to the main team. They have also signed the exciting Andrew Conway from Leinster which will give a genuine lift to the back line

Neither side has set the Pro12 alight in the early stages of the domestic season, but Europe is very much a priority, something they can afford to do in their division – the very reason why the competition is in such peril.

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Sam Foster