Munster should do enough to set up thriller in France
Friday night sees the return of Heineken Cup action to our screens with a multitude of games going on all weekend we start with one that has the makings of a classic and it can be seen live on Sky Sports 2 at 20:00.
A massive game in Heineken Cup Pool A as two of the more fancied sides Munster and Perpignan meet at Thomond Park with the home side 1/5 favourites to do some damage to the French side's chances and they are 10/3 to upset the odds.
These two will meet in back-to- back fixtures and everyone in their pool has currently lost one game and it can put paid to a side's chances to lose two in the group stages so if either side can win both games, the other will be all but out depending on how Northampton get on playing Treviso.
Munster have been poor away from home all season and as a result sit only in midtable the Magners League and it is a big ask to see them give up nine points on the handicap at 10/11 and this line makes the French side look more favourable also at 10/11.
Perpignan are second in the Top 14 and looking good but they too have had troubles on their travels, stunningly losing to Treviso in this tournament already - a result that could ultimately put paid to their chances of qualifying from the group.
Henry Tuilagi is missing from the away side along with Guillame Vilaceca, but winger Farid Sid returns on the wing and is 12/1 to go over first with Christophe Manas also 12/1 while dangerous pair Jerome Porical and David Marty are both 16/1.
For Munster, Keith Earls (14/1 for first try) replaces Jean de Villiers and forms part of a threatening back line including Doug Howlett (11/1) and Lifemi Mafi (14/1), lead as always by Ronan O'Gara (25/1).
Munster by 6-10 points looks in the right area at 5/1 as while the French side travel badly, Munster's form has been inconsistent this season and with so much at stake, it would not be a surprise to see Perpignan really raise their game and take it to the Irish side.
Munster should come through this game though and set up a real nail-biter in France next weekend but if they fail to get maximum points from this, the prospective winners may find themselves falling at the first hurdle.
Munster 6-10 points - 5/1