Champions Cup Rugby: The case for yet another Munster miracle
After a flurry of frenetic fourth-round fixtures just before Xmas, the first ever European Champions Cup returns to stadiums and screens very much at the business end.
We’ve had a butchers and came up with a treble for your punting perusal, which will pay out at just shy of 10/1, all going well:
The Red Army have become synonymous with ‘miracle’ matches on the continent since the start of the century; Saracens, Sale and (most famously) Gloucester back in 2005 have been among the clubs that found themselves on the receiving end of losses when the province needed to dig ever so deep.
Sarries’ Aviva Premiership form has picked up in recent weeks, with three wins from their past four, but they lost last time out at struggling Gloucester and went three league fixtures without victory between mid and late November.
Their visitors have won two of their past three Pro 12 games, beating great rivals Leinster handsomely on Boxing Day.
Coach Anthony Foley and captain Paul O’Connell will have Munster ferociously fired up to ‘Stand Up and Fight’ for their place in Europe. Against Mark McCall’s misfiring north Londoners, Foley’s men rate the value.
The Dublin-based blues haven’t been flattening foes by anything like this margin of late; in fact, the last time captain Jamie Heaslip and co managed a victory this large was at home to Edinburgh at the end of October, nine all-competition games ago.
Castres only went down 16-21 at home to Leinster 10 weeks ago, and while the Pyrenees outfit were slammed by 27 points-plus in their past couple of away fixtures against Wasps and Stade Francais, the last time they went down by such a margin prior to those games was early October.
On balance, this doesn’t look like a fixture Leinster will clock up a cricket score in.
Jake White’s inclusion in the Montpellier coaching ranks since December has clearly had the desired effect, with the Top 14 strugglers tasting victory at home to Toulouse and Toulon since the World Cup-winning South African tactician hopped aboard.
Toulouse turned Glasgow over twice last month, so giving the visitors 16 points in Scotland seems a tad irresponsible.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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