by Ryan D Jaeger
Ulster travel to France to take on the might of Clermont Auvergne with both
teams knowing that nothing short of victory is enough to see them through to the
knockout stages of the Heineken Cup.
Ulster currently leads Pool 4 with Clermont
three points adrift. Victory alone will be enough for the Ulstermen and Clermont
need victory with a bonus point to not rely on mathematical calculation to
determine their fate (although they have a far superior points difference to
Ulster and have scored more tries).
If Ulster on the other hand lose but gain a bonus point, Clermont would
qualify, leaving Ulster a nervous wait to see if they make it through as the one
of the two runners up that get the wildcards.
Twenty teams can still mathematically qualify for the playoffs, but the picture is clear for
Ulster and Clermont.
Fans and neutrals alike will be looking forward to an encounter
between two sides at the top of their respective games.
Bet365 Sportsbook has installed
Clermont as a 1/8 favourite. Ulster are
5/1to take the spoils and the Tie is 33/1.
Bet365 delivers great value with the
£200 free bet offer. Clermont start as a 12 point favourite on the Handicap at
Why back Clermont?
Clermont in their 18,000 capacity Stade Marcel Michelin is a real force
in Northern Hemisphere rugby. They are unbeaten at home in a massive 38 matches.
The problem sides face against Clermont is that the men in yellow relish a quick
game, but they also don't often lose the kicking battle so to beat them at home
requires the complete package.
Why back Ulster?
The North Irishmen are playing some of the best rugby seen by the Ravenhill
faithful since their European Cup triumph in 1999. Stephen Ferris is a human
wrecking ball and arguably the best forward in the competition at the moment.
Ulster's imports from South Africa and New Zealand are all in good form and don't
look like men just earning their big pay packets at the end of their careers.
But the reality exists that Ulster have never won on French soil, and were
they to turn the tables now, it would be against all the odds. They have the
pack to take on Clermont upfront and will look to retain possession and keep the
ball away from the dangerous runners like Kiwi Siteveni Sivivatu.
Our tip: Back Clermont to win by 11-15 points at 9/2 odds, by they fail to
secure the bonus point, leaving Ulster to wait out the weekend to see if they
make it through as a runner up.
Other Matches and Odds
Outright odds for other matches taking place this weekend (odds courtesy of
Castres (1/3) vs Scarlets (12/5)
Leicester (1/150) vs Aironi (18/1)
Northampton (2/5) vs Munster (2/1)