Defending Heineken Cup champions Leinster remain firm favourites to retain their title in the latest betting for rugby union's European competition. They are priced 15/8 in the outright betting ahead of fellow Irish challengers Munster, who are 10/3, and Toulouse are the best of the rest at 4/1 with Bet 365 as the competition moves towards the quarter-finals on 7th and 8th April.
Edinburgh (5/2) v Toulouse (3/10) - at Murrayfield, Edinburgh (Saturday 7th April 2012)
The first of the quarter-finals sees Edinburgh become the first Scottish team to host a knockout match in the Heineken Cup and they are appearing in the last eight for the first time since 2004. The Scottish side, who are eleventh in the Pro-12 League, booked their place in the last-eight of rugby's equivalent of the Champions League by upsetting the betting to win Pool Two and they face an uphill task against French giants Toulouse. The French side, winners in 2010, are four-time Heineken Cup champions and won the title at Murrayfield back in 2005. Despite struggling through qualifying, the French Top-14 leaders are odds on favourites in the betting for this match after winning ten of the last eleven meetings with Edinburgh.
Leinster (1/6) v Cardiff Blues (4/1) - at Aviva Stadium, Dublin (Saturday 7th April 2012)
Defending champions Leinster are 1/6 on to beat Cardiff Blues and continue their bid to win the competition they won in stunning style last year. The Pro-12 league leaders came from 22-6 down at half-time to beat Northampton 33-22 in the Heineken Cup final last year as they claimed the title for the second time in three years. They are firm favourites to make it three in four this season as they take on Cardiff Blues, who qualified for the last eight by virtue of being one of the best runners up in the Pool stages. Blues, 4/1 with Bet365, are currently seventh in the Pro-12 and they are sweating over the fitness of Sam Warburton, who struggled for fitness throughout Wales' victorious Six Nations campaign.
Munster (3/10) v Ulster (5/2) - at Thormond Park, Limerick (Sunday 8th April 2012)
Sunday's first quarter-final is an all-Irish affair as Munster, the top seeds in the competition, start 3/10 favourites with Bet 365 against Ulster (5/2), with the two sides set to meet for the first time in this competition. Munster were brilliant during the Pool stages as they won all six games and the 2008 champions will fancy their chances against Ulster. Munster are currently second in the Pro-12, eleven points behind Leinster, and the Heineken Cup looks like their most likely chance of silverware this season. Ulster are back in fifth in the Pro-12 and they only made the last eight of the Heineken Cup as one of the best runners up.
Saracens (4/5) v Clermont (evs) - at Vicarage Road, Watford (Sunday 8th April 2012)
Saracens, the only English side remaining in the competition, start as marginal 4/5 favourites with B365 for their last-eight clash with French outfit Clermont. The reigning Aviva Premiership champions are currently second in their domestic league and on course to retain that title, although they face a tough task to make it all the way to the Heineken Cup final. Clermont are currently second in the French Top-14 league and have won three of the past four meetings with Saracens, with the next fixture set to be a classic.
- The semi-final draw for the Heineken Cup was made on the same day as the quarter-finals and Saracens or Clermont will meet Leinster or Cardiff Blues, while the winners of Munster v Ulster take on Edinburgh or Toulouse in the other last four match.
40/1 Cardiff Blues
Odds supplied by Bet365.com, who provide a variety of betting markets, including live betting in-running, for all of the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.
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