Live on Skysports 4: Fri 20.00: Europe’s finest rugby club competition, the Heineken Cup, kicks off at Franklin Gardens tonight.
Northampton Saints are a very short 1/9 (Ladbrokes) to get their campaign underway with a win, while Castres weigh in with an 8/1 tag, courtesy of Sportingbet. Northampton, winners of the Challenge Cup 2 years ago, can be backed at 10/11 with a reasonable handicap of -13.5 (Paddy Power). It looks fairly weighty but they should have the quality to overhaul it, especially considering their very good start to the domestic season.
Also tonight, Ulster are a prohibitive 1/25 (Betfred) to beat the new Italian franchise Aironi at Ravenhill – a game not worth touching in any market – and Glasgow Warriors are 2/5 with Totesport to see off Newport Gwent Dragons, the Welsh outfit a 5/2 chance with Betdaq.
In the outrights, the French need to be feared. Toulouse, defending champions, are 4/1 (Boylesports) to defend their crown and Clermont are a tasty 10/1 at Blue Square, which is worth mulling over considering the amount of internationals at the club and strength of squad. Leicester are 2nd fav at 15/2 (Paddy Power) but after losing the 08/09 final, were awfully disappointing last year. Only one English team, Northampton, made the quarters last year and they are 16/1 with Betfred to go all the way. Ireland’s traditionally dangerous Munster are also a decent price, 12/1 at Coral, and could also be worth each-way considerations.