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Heineken Cup preview: The opening weekend’s matches at a glance

by Sean Goff | October 11, 2013
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LEADER OF THE PACK: The Heineken Cup kicks off on Friday night  (pic: Inpho)

By Andy McGeady | Heineken Cup matches

The best club tournament in world rugby gets underway this weekend – possibly for the last time. With the Anglo-French alliance ready to walk there’s still plenty of action on the Road to Cardiff.

Friday:

Connacht (+14) on the handicap are evens as they welcome Saracens (-14) at the same price.

Ulster (-5) 10/11 host Leicester (+5) 11/10 hoping for a repeat of the 2012 thrashing. Meanwhile Toulouse (-32) 10/11 will show up at the Stade Ernest Wallon to watch Zebre run around for a while before putting the Italian side and their +32 point handicap lead out of their misery.

Saturday:

  • Edinburgh v Munster: repeat of last year’s pool encounter
  • Treviso v Montpellier: Treviso have beaten Munster at home this season
  • Harlequins v Scarlets: Quins will be hurting after last year’s quarter-final home exit
  • Castres v Northampton: Top 14 champions take on George North’s new buddies
  • Ospreys v Leinster: the Pro 12 rivals meet for the first time in the Heineken Cup
Action

NO GO AREA: Clermont’s Naipolini Nalaga’s path is blocked (pic: Inpho)

Sunday:

Three games will finish things off and they are each intriguing.

Exeter start the day facing Cardiff at Sandy Park with the loser effectively out of the competition. The action then moves to the south of France as champions as Toulon open their defence of the title against Pro 12 leaders Glasgow.

The Scottish side have won all five games so far in the league but have a points difference of just +26 and 0 bonus points. Toulon on the other hand have won just five of their opening nine Top 14 games.

The final match of the weekend is the Racing Metro and Clermont contest. Both sides have won five and lost four in the Top 14 but Clermont have scored 79 more points in the process.

Racing are 10/11 at (+1) in the handicap while it’s the same price to get Clermont at -1. Will Racing’s home advantage be enough to overcome the scoring power of mighty Clermont?

Time to settle in for a great weekend of rugby, the opening conversation of perhaps the final visit of an old and welcome friend.

Heineken_rd1

  • Betting: All the weekend’s Heineken Cup action here

  • Find out who are the main contenders and best outsiders for Heineken Cup glory here 

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