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The 2010 Heineken Cup Preview and Predictions

The Heineken Cup Replica Ball

With European domestic leagues well underway, all attention is now shifting to arguably the world's most elite club competition- the Heineken Cup.

The 8th October sees all the rugby the action kicking off, offering punters yet another tournament in which to take on rugby traders.

From an English perspective, London clubs make up the majority of the action with Saracens, Wasps and London Irish all vying for their place in European rugby history. All of the London clubs are long shots, with Wasps proving the most conservative bet- and even that’s a long punt at 26.0

Premiership rivals Bath, Northampton Saints and current domestic champions Leicester Tigers make up the remaining English contingent in the competition. Leicester are the pick of the English sides as second favourites to win it all at 8.0 even.

One would imagine that the majority of the betting public would be backing French sides, and based on their domination of last year's tournament, would be forgiven for doing so.

Last year's final was contested between two French outfits with Toulouse narrowly edging Biarritz at the Stade de France - while a further two French clubs, Clermont Auvergne and Stade Francais, reached the knockout stages.

Toulouse are placed as favourites to defend their crown this year at 4.50. Clermont are favoured ahead of last year’s losing finalists at 10.0 even

Punters willing to lay down some pennies on outright favourites Toulouse may have noted that last year’s victory, their fourth since 1995, makes them the most successful club in the competition.

For you Welsh supporters, things are looking a little grim with the only Welsh team to make the knockout stages last year- Ospreys- coming in at 13.0, with the Cardiff Blues longer at 19.0

Of thirty previous finalists, Wales can only boast a single runner-up- Cardiff, back in the first ever Heineken Cup competition, and that bad luck looks set to continue this year.

Scotland's good international Six Nations form has clearly not filtered through to club levels, with Edinburgh and Glasgow both set at an embarrassing 151.0

Munster look a good bet at 11.0, with Leinster slightly behind at 13.0. These are both quality sides with depth in both their dominating packs, as well as explosive backlines.

Munster are definitely worth a punt here, with punters doing ell o recognise that Irish clubs have seen the most success of recent years, with three Irish winners in the past five years.

While there are some pretty wild odds on some of the more 'outside' teams, this tournament is the crème de la crème of Europe, and will be won by a deserving and top quality team.

While some are calling this a French winner from the get go, one must feel that their Irish are going to play a role, and as such pick them for an outside chance to be crowned club kings of Europe.

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