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Can Toulouse upset favourites Leinster? Get Champions Cup tips

Ben Darvill 20 Apr 2019
Owen Farrell (credit:Mark Pain/PA Wire/PA Images)

Can Saracens outlast Munster, and will Leinster give themselves the chance to defend their European crown? Read on for our best bets for the European Champions Cup semi-finals this weekend. 

Saracens vs Munster (Saturday, 15:00 BST)

Saracens arrive for this Champions Cup semi-final in fairy good form, although they have stumbled somewhat of late. Their last five games have yielded three wins and two losses as Sarries have continued to battle at the top of all of the competitions they remain in. A poor 23-21 loss on the road at the hands of the Bristol Bears came as a big shock and it left them nine points behind Exeter, who could not extend their lead due to their loss to Wasps. Their last European game saw the side easily brush Glasgow aside in a powerful 56-27 win as the English club stamped their mark on the knock-out stages once again. They look in good form coming into this one then, with their embarrassment of riches with regard to talent and experience solely designed for winning trophies. Munster arrive following a thrilling 17-13 win over Edinburgh in the last round as they continued their European adventure in fine style. Their fortunes at home have been very good this year, winning 15 of their 20 games which has seen them pick up 73 points, helping them into second-place. With a place in the Pro-14 finals still up for grabs, Munster could enjoy an unprecedented season with two major trophies. 

In this one, we think that despite the fact Saracens do not technically have home advantage, travelling to Coventry will make it feel like a home game in comparison to Munster’s travels. Saracens just seem to be a side that are made for knockout competition, with the club incredibly adept at scoring points and then squeezing the life out of an opponent, and we think Munster will fall foul of this. Sarries have managed to win their last two matches against their opponents 26-10 and 33-10, with healthy wins on both counts, with the former scoreline also a semi-final clash back in 2017. With this in mind, we are backing Sarries with a -8 point handicap at 10/11.

Leinster vs Toulouse (Sunday, 15:15 BST)

Leinster’s Champions Cup campaign has been a very impressive one, with the side managing to win five of their six group games. Next came a tight 21-18 win over Ulster in the quarter-finals as they knocked out their fellow Pro-14 side in an enthralling encounter. In the league they have looked near-flawless this year, winning 15, drawing once and losing four times, with this haul seeing them onto 75 points, meaning they are 16 clear of Ulster in second in the league. Clearly, a Pro 14 title is very much on the cards, while they will also be desperate to defend the European crown they won last year. Toulouse arrive for this one following an incredible display against Racing in the last round. After going down to 14 men in the first-half, they battled incredibly hard and displayed their fantastic attacking flair to come away with a 22-21 away win in circumstances that most would have assumed they would lose in. Now, buoyed by this win and the fact they sit eight points clear at the top of the Top 14, they will target favourites Leinster as a scalp they can definitely take. 

The form in this one sees the two constantly trading blows and securing bragging rights. The last clash between the two saw Leinster win 29-13, but before that, Toulouse won 28-27, with the two then trading wins prior to this. This match will be one that Leinster are huge favourites for and most will back them, however, Toulouse thrive as the underdogs, and they know that Leinster are beatable, as they displayed when they defeated them in the group-stages. With this in mind, we are going to back the French side to pick up a shock win at rather tasty odds of 21/10 with Paddy Power, although you can slap a +6 point handicap on them to win at Evens with some bookies if you are not sure Toulouse will win outright. 

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Can Toulouse upset favourites Leinster? Get Champions Cup tips

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