Leicester had to really grind out a 9-5 win against Toulouse in their final Heineken Cup Pool Two clash last week to make the last eight and will have to up their game if they are to get past Toulon in the quarter-finals.
The Tigers are out to 25/1 with sportingbet to win the Heineken Cup and won’t be relishing a trip to the Stade Felix Mayol, where Toulon are a formidable force. Former England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson has been in tremendous form for the Top 14 leaders but they are still only second favourites in the outright betting (4/1 with Boylesports and Ladbrokes) behind Clermont Auvergne. Clermont have also been in terrific form domestically and cruised through their section in the Heineken Cup, knocking out holders Leinster in the process. Virtually all of their squad are internationals and they appear to have been given an easy draw in the quarter-finals at home to the third surviving French side Montpellier (33/1 with Boylesports). If successful at the Parc Des Sports Marcel Michelin, Les Jaunards will host either Harlequins or Munster so it’s no surprise that Vern Cotter‘s side have been backed in to 6/4 with Ladbrokes and Stan James.
Harlequins have confirmed that they will host Munster at The Stoop, scotching rumours that the tie would be switched to Twickenham. Quins were another side to emerge with a perfect record from their qualifying group and have sacrificed potential income to increase their chances of further progress. They’ve only lost once so far at The Stoop this season in all competitions and they are a general 9/1 to win the Heineken Cup, though that’s not as short as London rivals Saracens.
Sarries are exploring the possibility of staging their quarter-final with Ulster at the new Allianz Park, which has an artificial pitch, but they would have to arrange temporary seating to increase the capacity to meet regulations. Wembley or Twickenham are alternative venues and Saracens are 13/2 with Boylesports to win the Heineken Cup. Ulster are 8/1 with sportingbet and William Hill but will need to improve significantly on their away form to stand any chance of upsetting the odds in the English capital.