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Frank Quinn’s April Fools Day Guide

By Frank Quinn
IT’S April fools day today so here is a rough guide to the rugby galaxy. All the competitions are drawing to their concluding stages so let’s have a look at what is in store in the coming weeks for rugby fans.
Heineken Cup Quarter Finals: W/End 4th April, with betting
1. Munster 8/15 v Toulouse 6/4
2. Clermont 1/10 v Leicester 6/1
3. Ulster 4/7 v Saracens 11/8
4. Toulon 1/2 v Leinster 13/8
Opinion: The favourites: 4 home teams to win.
Saracens will push Ulster to the limit on Premiership form and the winner has a home country semi-final. I expect Leinster to give a good account against the holders. The odds for a Leicester win are inviting, they have a huge history in this competition, but may have to pass on it this year. Clermont are due an outright win -“one of these years”. Munster to beat Toulouse at Thomond Park and advance to meet Toulon in France or Leinster in Ireland.
Semi-finals draw: (from above QF) W/End 25th April
Winner 3 V. Winner 2
Winner 4 V winner 1
Outright betting Heineken Cup:
Clermont 9/4, Toulon (Holders) 7/2, Leinster 6/1, Ulster 6/1, Munster 8/1, Saracen 10/1, Toulouse 12/1, Leicester 35/1.
Opinion: Based on the draw, Toulon to win – & beat Ulster in the final in Cardiff.
In the Aviva premiership Saracens (Mark McCall) are top with a 7 point lead over Northampton, but Leicester has fought back to 3rd and is dangerous now as usual in the business end of a Championship. Tigers are given no hope in the Heineken by the bookies? But tigers will be dangerous animals in the Premiership, Bath and Northampton will probably make up the quartet.
Opinion: Saracens to win.
In the Rabo, the three Irish teams in the Heineken are showing good form and are in a strong position to make the top four playoffs. Leinster 68, Munster 63, Ulster 60, and probably Glasgow will make the fourth place. Right now it is Leinster V Glasgow and Munster V Ulster in the semis. Leinster to win.
Outright betting Rabo:
Leinster 11/10, Munster 9/5, Ulster 5/1, Glasgow 9/1
In the French Top 14, Montpelier has stolen a march on the two favourites with 66 points, Toulon (v Leinster) and Clermont are on 65, Castres 62, in 5th place Racing Metro (Sexton) 60. In 6th place Munster’s opponents Toulouse 58. It is still a tight competition and the playoffs are demanding. Castres are the holders at 18/1, one third a place to get to the final, must be worth a wager
Outright betting Top 14:
Clermont 13/8, Toulon 5/2 Montpelier 6/1, Toulouse 6/1, Racing 8/1, Castres 18/1
Opinion: Clermont to win.
Super Rugby 15 Southern Hemisphere:
After 6/14 rounds: Sharks (Plumtree’s ex team) 23, Brumbies & Chiefs 17, Lions, Waratahs (Cheika), & Blues 17 points.
Outright betting Super 15:
Chiefs 5/2, Sharks 11/4, Waratahs 4/1, Brumbies and Crusaders 9/1
Opinion: Early days in this competition – A win for Sharks (Natal – South Africa)
Amlin Challenge Cup:
Quarter finals: W/End 4th April1. Wasps V Gloucester
2. Bath V Brive
3. Sale V Northampton
4. Stade Francais V Harlequins (Conor O’Shea)
Semi- finals 1 V 2 & 3 V 4 W/End 25th April
Northampton are 2nd in the Premiership and Bath are 4th, while Stade Francais are 8th in the Top 14. It should be between Bath and Northampton/Stade with the draw
Outright betting:
Northampton 7/4, Bath 11/4, Stade 5/1, Wasps 10/1, Harlequins 10/1, Sale 12/1, Gloucester 14/1.
Opinion: Stade Francais to win, Concentrating on this competition

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