The final week of the group stages of the Heineken Cup is upon us and there is 1 match that stands out with opportunities in 2 more games.
Cardiff v Exeter
Cardiff will know more of what they have to do after Northampton’s game tonight and given that they are going to have to score tries to qualify i think the bookies are way too low on their handicaps.
Cardiff after having a disastrous first 40 mins against Cardiff have performed quite admirably. They made mistake after mistake while Exeter did everything right in week 1 but have since won home and way v Glasgow and also had a memorable win at home against Toulon. It is due to rain tomorrow in Cardiff which may make conditions a little trickier but if they harbor hopes of qualification to the Amlin a bonus point win is a must.
Exeter after starting well have failed to win another game and the European experience is still growing with the team. Losing at home to Glasgow was a bit of a shock and I can’t see them having the hunger or desire of Cardiff. They will be looking ahead to the 6 nations period where they will not lose too many players and will want to get their players through unscathed.
I just can’t see anything other than a decent win for Cardiff by around the 10pt mark so taking Paddy Power’s generous even money on their handicap of -4 is my best bet.
Glasgow v Toulon
A win for Toulon should see them secure the all important home quarter final and despite a decent looking squad from Glasgow they should beat the handicap. Toulon have not been great in recent weeks but they do have so much strength in depth that it is difficult to see that form lasting too long. They are fielding a side full of internationals from all over the globe and have the likes of Michelak, Wulf and Mermoz on the bench. They were shocked by Cardiff but i just can’t see lightening striking twice. Toulon -6 most firms
Leicester v Ulster
It is a difficult math to split the two with Leicester only just getting players back in their match day squad after injury, while they are still missing a good chunk of their side with longer term injuries. They have done extremely well to have qualified for the knockout stages but it hasn’t been an easy ride. Ulster have been more convincing but can still be knocked off top spot and lose home advantage with a Leicester win without them getting a losing and the 4 try bonus points. This for me is already a very tight looking match and with Welford road not the fortress it was I think Ulster can sneak something here. A draw will suit them and they will be keeping this a tight affair. Its worth a small bet here on the draw at 22’s (bit bigger on Betfair)