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Rupert Wyman 15th Jan 2009 - 21:34

Sharks to lack bite against Munster

The defending Heineken Cup champions Munster host the Sale Sharks at Thomond Park in their penultimate pool match.

Munster sit proudly top of Pool 1 with Sale in second two points behind the Irish province.

The match is ever so important to Sale as they must win to stand any realistic chance of progressing to the quarter finals.

But winning at Thomond Park is no easy task as Munster are a tough proposition where ever you play them but even more so on their home turf.

In the reverse fixture Munster beat Sale 24-16 at Edgeley Park and a win for Tony McGahan's side can be expected again.

They are 1/3 favourites to win the match outright with an away win available at 9/4 and the draw is priced at 20/1.

On the main handicap Munster are 10/11 shots giving an eight point start to Sale with the English side also 10/11 and the draw is at 14/1.

Munster look more than capable of beating Sale by more than eight points so Munster at 10/11 is the bet.

Of significance for Munster is the return of fly-half Ronan O'Gara, who missed last week's win over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium. The win gave Munster a much needed lift after suffering back-to-back defeats in the Magners League previous to that.

The Irish number 10's influence on Munster cannot be underestimated as he is the all-time points scorer in Heineken Cup history and he has the fourth most points this season so far with 47. O'Gara can add to his points by scoring the first try of the match at odds of 25/1.

But it is Sale's full-back Mark Cueto who should be backed in this market at odds of 16/1. The speed merchant has scored four tries in his last three matches and should be full of confidence after his call-up to England's Six Nations squad.

Cueto has not pulled on the England jersey since 2007 World Cup final so will be desperate to further stake his claim for a place in the XV for the Six Nations opener against Italy on 7th February.

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