Win/Handicap Best Prices
Leinster 4/9, Ospreys 3/1
Leinster -6 10/11, Ospreys +7, evs.
If you’re betting on Rugby and you are unfamiliar with Leinster’s form, then you probably shouldn’t be betting on rugby! As you are no doubt aware, they have been in scintillating form, hammering Ulster last week to take their third Heineken cup in three years. This Sunday, they are aiming for an historic Heineken Cup and domestic league double that has only been done once before by Wasps in 2004. It’s safe to say then, that there will be no H-cup hangover for Leinster, and they’ll be well up for this.
The Ospreys have rebuilt after the departure of their brand names last season, and have made a decent fist of things in the run in. Prior to hammering a very weak Munster team in the semi-final, they had five victories in a row. They pipped Leinster by a point away with Leinster focused on the Heineken cup, shorn of their three back row starters and sexton, and with odriscoll returning from injury. Tipuric was the inspiration to a full osprey’s team; they only won it with a touchline conversion at the death when Leinster had switched off. Prior to that they beat Treviso well at home, as most have. They then beat the worst club in the NH lately (Cardiff) away from home. They had a rickety win over the dragons at home, in which they conceded a lot of penalties, many on the attack. Lastly, they struggled to beat aironi away with a first team, winning by 7 in the end. However, Orquera misses two kickable penalties in the last 20 making it much easier for them to eek it out.
Previous to that they were beaten at home by Glasgow, were beaten by an ulster team shorn of Best, Ferris, and Muller, and they lost away to Dragons who have been having a bad season. So the point here is, despite the nice run of victories, and the win over Munster, there’s questions over whether they can live with a full Leinster team on a high. They’ll need their experienced pack to be as dominant as they were when they won in the RDS, when Heaslip, Obrien, Rob Kearney, Sexton, Reddan and Jennings got the night off.
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O’Driscoll, 12 Gordon D’Arcy, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy/Jack McGrath, 18 Nathan White, 19 Brad Thorn, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 David Kearney.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 James King, 20 Tom Smith, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Isaacs.
For Leinster, Healy and Sean O’Brien are out, and while they are a big loss, there’s cover there. Van Der Merve came on and tore Ulster apart last week, scoring a try, and no doubt he’s chomping at the bit to get stuck in Sunday. The back row will have a tough time against the Ospreys, but quality-wise they shade this for me. Tipuric is a class act, but he might be carrying an injury. You have to say the Ospreys pack is very important in this game, but Leinster’s can stand toe to toe. There’s a possible advantage in the scrums to the Ospreys, but apart from that, Leinster edge all of the other set-pieces with Toner there to ensure clean lineout ball for Leinster to attack from. Leinster work best off clean set-piece, and I feel if they have at least parity in the scrum, they should win this game with something to spare. The Ospreys backs are youthful and have shown great promise this season, but they lack the big game experience and nous that any team would need against a Leinster team in this form. The Ospreys bench is bare in comparison to Leinster’s, with Stowers in particular missing. Fotuali’i arguably should have started too, as it will take a few special instinctive moments to break this Leinster team down, something he has more of in his locker than Webb.
This game is going to go one way in my eyes- Leinster’s way, and it’s up to them how they play it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a carbon copy of the the HC final either, with Leinster playing conservatively, and then bringing on the pace and power to destroy them in the second half (if things are going their way).
- Leinster -6. They’re at the pinnacle of their rugby powers right now, and by rights this should be very beatable, once they want it.
- Heineke van der merwe is 66/1 in places for first try scorer…as above, this is very good value!
- Heineke van der merwe, anytime try scorer is 14/1! Get some! The man is an animal in the loose.
- For a flutter, leinster -21 is available at 7/1. Don’t be fooled by the beating the Ospreys gave Munster folks- if this Leinster team clicks, this could well come in- proven try scorers all over the bench and on the field, and they owe the Ospreys a hiding after they beat them at home! If you fancy a smal bet for interest, you could do worse.
Weather- Sunny and fine, its summer in Dublin, these days don’t come around too often.
Referee- Roman Poite- expect the man to look frequently bored and disinterested, and eager to return to his cheese farm. Likely to side with Ospreys on marginal calls too, so beware.