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European Champions Cup semi-finals | Preview and Odds

Of the 20 teams that started the tournament, we are down to just four as the European Champions Cup reaches the semi-final stage.

With the chance to be crowned Europe’s top premier club, the remaining four sides will be doing all they can to win it.

Here is our rugby union tipster’s best bets for the semi-finals.

Leinster v Scarlets

The favourites for the competition, Leinster, take on the outsiders Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in what looks to be a potential David versus Goliath encounter.

Leinster are the 4/6 favourites to win their fourth European title and are heavily fancied at 1/5 with for this weekend’s semi-final.

A powerful second half display was the catalyst for their victory over Saracens in a fantastic quarter-final. They prevailed 30-19 and maintained their 100% record at home in the tournament.

Leo Cullen’s men have been imperious in this season’s competition so far, scoring 25 tries and 206 points. They start as the overwhelming favourites to make it to their first final since 2011/12.

They host a Scarlets side who are into the semi-finals for the first time since 2007 after defeating La Rochelle 29-17 in the quarter-finals.

That win typified how they have played so far this year – fast and free-flowing rugby that has entertained the neutral and kept them on the edge of their seats was at its peak that day, and they’ll need more of the same to see off Leinster.

Wayne Pivac’s side are the 18/5 outsiders for this one. A win would take them to their first ever Champions Cup final.

This will be the biggest challenge Scarlets have faced so far, which the betting reflects.

If this was being played at the Parc y Scarlets I would give Scarlets a squeak, but it’s at the Aviva and based on Leinster’s recent home form, Scarlets have a mountain to climb.

For the neutral, I hope Scarlets stick to their game plan as that would make for fantastic viewing and I’m hoping for tries aplenty.

From a betting perspective, two bets stand out for me.

Leinster have led at half-time in every home game so far in this year’s competition and so I fancy them to win both half halves at 19/20.

I think the Irish side will turn on the after-burners in the second-half and if Scarlets play the expansive rugby they’ve played all-year, then tiredness could set in. Taking this into account, I’ll also be backing Leinster -10.5 at 5/6.

Racing 92 v Munster

The second semi-final pits France against Ireland as Racing take on Munster at the Stade Chaban-Delmas on Sunday afternoon.

Racing come into this one off the back of an impressive away performance against Clermont. The Stade Marcel-Michelin is notoriously one of the hardest places to go and win, and their 28-17 victory over their French counterparts was a breath-taking performance.

Racing, who were beaten finalists in 2016, start this one as favourites and are 13/5 with

They face a Munster side who made it into a record 13th semi-final after defeating Toulon in a nail-bitter.

They edged out the wealthy French outfit 20-19 thanks in large parts to their defence who restricted Toulon to just six points in the first half, despite being dominated in both territory and possession.

Johann van Graan’s team, who are looking to reach their first final since 2008, travel to France as the 6/4 outsiders.

This is going to be a tight game, but on home soil it’s hard to see past Racing. They have won their last 13 in all competitions on home turf and I think they’ll be too strong for Munster here.

I’ll be backing them on the -4.5 handicap at 19/20.





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