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Will Greenwood's Six Nations blog
Odds of 1.29 on Leinster to win a third Heineken Cup in four seasons? Madness. You'd have to be deluded to take that bet. Either that or you haven't watched any recent finals.

I said in my semi-final preview that I'm always reluctant to bet against Leinster and my fears proved justified. Having backed Clermont at the start of the season, I had to stick with the French side and I was gutted to see my 16/1 melt in the Bordeaux sun. I don't necessarily go along with those who say that game was the real 2012 Heineken Final because I think we're in for a thriller at Twickenham, but the second semi was an epic. The champions started brilliantly, Clermont powered their way back but Jonny Sexton made the difference. He pulled his men together and called for a technically brilliant move that split the French defence and put Cian Healy in. Somehow they hung on as Clermont rallied late.

The match reminded us that teams that don't get more than seven points up are always vulnerable. No prizes for punditry there but in-play punters take note because I expect a close final. Ulster got some stick after their 22-19 victory over Edinburgh and they know they must raise their game if they're to have a chance. At 4.9, bettors aren't giving them any but I disagree.

The best thing they can do is forget the semi-final and remind themselves of their earlier wins over Leicester and Munster. If those games they were ferocious up front, nimble in midfield. Against Edinburgh, their error count was high and Brian O'Driscoll and Sexton will punish them if there is a repeat. Whether Brian McLaughlin selects Paddy Jackson or Ian Humphries at fly-half is very important but the key man will be Ruan Pienaar once again.

Can they win?

Leinster beat Saints 33-22 last year but the previous three Heineken Cup finals were all settled by a margin of three points. We saw a nail-biter at the semi-final stage of the Premiership last weekend as Harlequins edged Saints by two and, of course, last autumn the World Cup final between New Zealand and France was a far closer contest than anticipated. It takes nine months of hard work, focus and finesse to reach a club final and any team who get there is unlikely to be overwhelmed on the big stage.

In-play and HT/FT advice

I think Ulster will be ahead for extended periods. In-play bettors should back them pre-match and lay them in the second-half. For me, the 60 minute mark is key and if you do have that bet on the underdogs you must assess the situation on the hour. Up to you if you take my advice or hang in but I'm confident of taking decent odds of 6.6 on Ulster/Leinster in the half-time/full-time market and Ulster +.7.5 points at evens.

Consider the draw @ 34.0?

This is going to be a really close fought affair. If you're at the game, you'll be watching the final 20 minutes from behind your programme, whichever team you're backing. One of these days we're going to get a drawn final. This match-up is as likely as any other to produce a draw so, as it's the end of the season, I recommend a small stakes bet on the draw at 34.0.

Recommended Bets
2pts Back Ulster @ 4.9 to lay
2pts Back Ulster/Leinster @ 6.6 in the half-time/full-time market
1pt Back the draw @ 34.0

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