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Nic Ladds 9th Apr 2010 - 9:35

Home advantage can swing it for the champions

A match that on paper looks as even as you can get with two of the most exciting back lines in rugby union colliding but it could be home advantage that swings it for 4/9 Leinster. 

Think of this as a subplot to France v Ireland in the Six Nations, a game which the French ran away with and with many internationals from both sides involved in this game, expect some big hits, and Leinster to be hungry for progress for club and revenge for country.

Brian O'Driscoll is back to lead the defending Heineken Cup champions in to battle and Clermont promise to pose them an extremely tough challenge and will have their backers at odds of 15/8.

The handicap has Leinster giving up five points at odds of 10/11 and you can be sure that if this game was the being played in France, Clermont would be favourites but the imposing RDS Stadium is what awaits the Top 14 side and before the match has even begun it is advantage Leinster.

The home side will enter the game brimming with confidence after beating arch rivals Munster in a famous victory away from home and with O'Driscoll and Shane Horgan returning to the star-studded line up, fans will be quietly confident of witnessing a home victory.

Neutrals should prepare themselves for a treat as if conditions are dry we can expect flowing, attacking, quick rugby as Clermont's back line containing Julien Malzieu (12/1 for first try), Morgan Para (22/1) and Aurelien Rougerie (12/1) to name but a few has a dangerous look to it and Leinster's defence could get worked over time.

Horgan (11/1) and O'Driscoll (12/1) are huge attacking threats for the home side while Rob Kearney (14/1) will look to burst the Clermont defence from full back and powerful Irish number 8 Jamie Heaslip (18/1) is capable of winning games on his own.

Jonathan Sexton will need no slip ups with the boot as every point is sure to be vital in such a close looking game and backing the first scoring play to be a home penalty at 6/4 could be the way to a profitable night as Clermont could take a while to settle down while Leinster are sure to come out absolutely flying.

French teams are notoriously bad travelers but in a one off game that Clermont have to win, that factor is all but negated but home advantage should swing it for Leinster and a winning margin of 1-5 points or 6-10 points both at odds of 9/2 look in the right area, while a 1-5 point Clermont victory is 5/1.

From a betting point of view, this writers allegiance edges slightly towards the blue side and Leinster should be able to cover the handicap at 10/11 while Clermont's indiscipline could cost them the first points of the game and also have Leinster a step closer to defending their coveted Heineken Cup crown.


Leinster -5 - 10/11

First scoring play - Leinster penalty 6/4



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