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Nic Ladds 20th May 2009 - 15:49

Tigers be put into captivity by Leinster

Bookmaker William Hill simply can’t split Leinster and Leicester (both 5/6 outright) to lift the Heineken Cup in what bears all the hallmarks of being a titanic clash at Murrayfield on Saturday.

For Leicester Tigers, who have conquered nearly all before them this season, it will be their second big final in the space of seven days having edged out London Irish 10-9 in a nervy, tight affair at Twickenham.

The big question is whether at the end of such a tough and successful campaign could that have been a game too far? How much do Richard Cockerill’s men have left in the tank? That energy expended in the Twickenham dust-up surely has to have an impact here.

If, like me, you can see the Tigers running out of steam then Hills' double result of Leicester/Leinster at 11/2 could be the call here.

Should Leinster bring their A-game to Edinburgh with the likes of Brian O'Driscoll (14/1 to be first or last try scorer), Rob Kearney (16/1), Gordon D'Arcy (14/1) and Jamie Heaslip (25/1) firing on all cylinders, I believe the punting pendulum must come down on their side - but only just.

With that in mind have a look at the winning margins for Leinster to win between 1-5 points that returns 9/2 and also 6-10 points that pays 5/1.

The province, packed with Grand Slam winning Irish internationals, booked their first ever Heineken Cup final appearance after producing one of the most memorable performances ever seen in the competition - against rivals and tournament favs Munster.

Man of the match O'Driscoll (5/2 to score at any time), D'Arcy (5/2) and Luke Fitzgerald (9/4) went over for tries to earn a deserved 25-6 win in front of a heaving Croke Park. If they can match the intensity and performance of that effort a first Heineken Cup should be theirs.

That result turned the form book on its head as Leinster finished 11 points shy of Munster in this season’s Magners League.

The Tigers beat Cardiff Blues on a penalty shoot-out in their semi-final. If you fancy this one to be tied after 80 minutes you can get 18/1 with Hills about the draw. That bet looks all the more attractive when you consider that Leicester’s last two cup matches have only been decided by one single point.

Jordan Crane grabbed the first and only try in the close-run Guinness Premiership final last week and if you fancy lightning to strike twice the big Leicester No8 is a 25/1 chance to be the first (or last) scorer for this one.

Rugby betting enthusiasts will be well aware that Leicester ended Leinster's interest in last year's Heineken Cup with a 25-9 victory at Welford Road.

A repeat of that gaping winning margin (16-20 points) is available with Hills at 12/1.

But on the back of what has been a glorious season for the national side, I can see Leinster Province putting the icing on what has been a delicious cake for Irish rugby in 2009.

William Hill will be betting Saturday's Heineken Cup final at Murrayfield from the first to the last whistle, so as the match starts join us for the latest prices with our betlive service.

Leicester v Leinster - Saturday 17:00


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