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Champions Cup: Tough to look beyond Munster’s outright odds

| 28.10.2014

Nouveau riche French outfit Toulon take a huge chunk out of the market at 2/1 favourite odds to win the first ever European Rugby Champions Cup, having lifted the now-defunct Heineken Cup in each of the last two seasons.

Obviously there’s value to be had elsewhere, as Toulon technically aren’t even the best team in France right now, with Clermont Auvergne leading the Top 14 after nine rounds.

The double European champions have won each of their first two Champions Cup Pool 3 fixtures by 10 points against Scarlets and Ulster, but domestic losses to Racing Metro, Stade Francais and Toulouse already this term showed just how fallible Bernard Laporte’s men are.

At this juncture, you’re much better off backing a side with just as much European pedigree, who have also won their first couple of Champions Cup fixtures, and come in at five times Toulon’s odds.

Two-time Heineken Cup winners Munster reached the semi-final stage of each of the last two renewals, going out by eight points or fewer on each occasion. They’re 10/1 to rule the continent once more this term.

The Limerick/Cork based outfit are supposed to be a team in transition, after former captain and forwards coach Anthony Foley took over from Rob Penney as gaffer over the summer, and with stalwarts such as Donnacha Ryan, Denis Hurley and Paul O’Connell allegedly on the wane.

Foley and co clearly didn’t get the memo, with Munster shaping as an impressive force just a few months into the campaign, having already beaten great rivals Leinster 34-23 at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in the Guinness Pro12.

Their first foray into Champions Cup action saw a typical display of Munster belligerence, as the Red Army came back from 23-7 down at half-time away to Sale to edge the clash 27-26.

Even better was to come, with a comfortable 14-3 triumph over Aviva Premiership giants and last year’s beaten Heineken Cup finalists Saracens at Thomand Park, meaning two more wins from their last four Pool 1 games should see Foley’s men through to the knockout rounds.

Those victories look imminent with two more games to come at the Limerick fortress, and Munster’s price will be slashed when either Clermont or Saracens, priced at 8/1 and 10/1 in the outrights respectively, fall by the wayside.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune