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Nic Ladds 21st Jan 2010 - 20:22

Saints may need help from above to win at fortress Thomond

The final game in Pool A has great significance for both sides as whoever wins will finish top and in turn have a great chance of securing that all important home quarter - final and Munster are at odds of 1/5 to see of Northampton and do just that.

The Saints at 10/3 for victory come here on the back of a fantastic win against Perpignan at Franklins Gardens, 34-0 which couldn't have been a bigger confidence boost for the daunting trip to Ireland.

Munster have turned Thomond Park in to a fortress having only ever lost one European game there to Leicester Tigers and you can be sure they aren't about to give such a great record away easily and with the handicap asking them to give up eight points, you get an idea of what a force they are at home.

Slightly worrying for the Saints is their away form in the competition having been soundly beaten at Perpignan and only just beating Treviso, a side who Munster crushed last week and they do often seem to be a different team away from Franklins Gardens.

For the away side many eyes will be on Chris Ashton who has been in scintillating form and it will be interesting to see how he performs now he has been called up for the England Six Nations squad and he will be at the top of many a punter's list to score the first try at 10/1.

Ben Foden is another who will be on a high from his international call up and is 20/1 to score first while Phil Dowson has been outstanding recently and got over the line in his last two Heineken Cup games and is 33/1 to go over first or 11/2 to score anytime.

Munster's threats are well documented with Doug Howlett (9/1 for first try) and Denis Hurley (10/1) providing a devastating threat from the wings while Keith Earls (12/1) has looked dangerous from the centres while those looking for a bigger price, Denis Fogarty has score a couple already in this competition and is 33/1 for first try or 5/1 to score anytime.

So, can Northampton beat Munster on their own patch? In all honesty, probably not but they can keep it respectable and a winning margin to the home side of 6-10 points at 5/1 looks about right with 11-15 points being the favourite margin, but if you do fancy them to pull off a famous win, a margin of 6-10 for the Saints is big at 12/1.

This has the makings of a classic with everything to play for and Munster will hope their formidable home record will hold up against a Northampton side full of confidence but who may be hampered by their tendency to be much weaker away from home, but either way, these are two sides who have very real aspirations of going all the way to the final.

Recommendation:

Munster to win by 6-10 points - 5/1

Denis Forgarty to score a try - 5/1

 
 
 

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