European rugby greats, Toulouse and Leinster, to set up five-star shootout

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We're predicting a Heineken Champions Cup final to saviour, between two of the competition's heavweight clubs.

As the old saying goes, there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. A Toulouse win at home to Bordeaux-Begles looks pretty damn close though to being a third, however considering Les Rouges et Noir’s pedigree at this level and UBB’s inexperience as a Champions Cup team.

Bordeaux-Bègles have won their last five games in the Heineken Champions Cup, their best run in the competition and as many victories as they’d managed in their 12 games prior to this streak. But this is another step up in level again, and history tells us that the pain of defeat when tantalisingly close to lifting silverware is part of the process in becoming champions.

Toulouse have won six of their last seven clashes with Bordeaux-Bègles in the Top 14 have never lost a home game against them in the competition. This is not about to change, although with wet weather forecast for south-west France, giving up 13 points might be too much for the four-time champions. Bordeaux-Begles +13 is Evns with Paddy Power.

The first-ever European meeting between La Rochelle follows on Sunday. In some ways it is similar to the first of the semis in that you have one side relatively new to this level and another well-versed in what it takes to win in Europe.

Toulouse and Leinster have been vying to become the first side to win the Heineken Cup five times, and it’s our belief that race will be decided one way or the other this season with the French aristocrats and the all-conquering Irish province meeting in the showdown at Twickenham.

As a proud Munsterman steeped in Heineken Cup tradition, La Rochelle head coach Ronan O’Gara would love nothing more than to spoil Leinster’s party and advance through to the final at their expense. But as well as La Rochelle have been playing, in both attack and defence, Leinster’s win at Exeter in the quarter-finals reminded us of their ability to win when it really matters.

Leinster are a best-priced 1/2 with SBK.

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