Fiddes' Cent

Sky Bet's Jordan Fiddes chooses his tips for this weekend's Heineken Cup Semi-Finals

By Jordan Fiddes - Twitter: @SkyJordanFiddes.   Last Updated: 02/05/13 1:50pm

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Munster are playing in a record 10th Semi-Final this weekend

Munster are playing in a record 10th Semi-Final this weekend

Sky Bet

There are only four teams left in this year's elite European competition and both semi-finals are expected to be closely fought contests by Sky Bet.

In the first semi, Munster travel to France to face current tournament favourites, Clermont.

ASM Clermont Auvergne are currently 4/6 to lift the European trophy and it's easy to see why.

They are the only semi-finalists who can boast a 100 per cent record still intact, winning seven out of seven Heineken Cup games this season.

Against Munster, they have been given a -12 handicap which, in my opinion, is pretty big for a semi-final.

They may be the form side coming into the game, but Clermont will have to play out of their skin if they are to beat the experienced Munster outfit.

The Irishmen will be appearing in a record-equalling 10th Heineken Cup semi-final and hoping to qualify for their fifth final.

The two-time champions are a massive 13/2 to win the game which I wouldn't discount, but I'm playing it safe and going for them to beat the +12 handicap at 10/11.

In 50 games against French opposition, Munster have won on 34 occasions, making nearly a 70 per cent win ratio.

Not once in this year's competition have they lost by 12 points or more, the closest they have come is losing 19-13 against Saracens in December.

In fact, the last time they lost by over 12 in the Heineken Cup was in January 2011 when they lost 32-16 away to Toulon, who, incidentally, face Saracens in the second semi-final on Sunday.

Toulon have not lost to an English side in the competition this year

A game of two halves

Unlike Munster, both Saracens and Toulon will be aiming to reach their first ever Heineken Cup Final.

It will be the first time the two have met in the European competition and the smart money will be on the French outfit coming into this one.

Saracens welcome Toulon over the channel on the back of a loss to Gloucester in the Premiership but they could be excused for having one eye on this fixture.

This week, however, they face a French team who have an excellent record against British opposition.

Prior to this semi-final, Toulon had already swept aside Leicester, Sale and Cardiff to make it a clean sweep of wins against English and Welsh teams.

Therefore, they are 19/20 favourites to take the spoils against another British side in Saracens.

There is better value, however, in the 'Double Result' with Toulon 13/8 to be in the lead after 40 minutes and going on to win the game.

In four out of their six Heineken Cup games so far this year, the men from France have been winning at half time and even managed to win both halves.

They had the third best attack in the group stages and have two players who have created four tries each which no other club have managed in this year's competition.

One of those players is none other than fly-half Jonny Wilkinson who has also weighed in with a massive 73 points this year and, away from home, has kicked more goals than any other play in the Heineken Cup.

Being the travelling side, Toulon will be playing it safe at every opportunity as they did against Sale and Cardiff in their last two games on the road, so expect Wilkinson to kick plenty of penalties to keep the scoreboard ticking and leading them through to the final.

View from the Sky Bet trading room...

"Napolioni Nalaga is the leading try scorer in the Heineken Cup this season with six and as soon as we opened the try scorer market, he was snapped up.

"He was 7/1 to begin with but we've cut him to 11/2 already, which could come in again prior to kick off.

"We've had a few sentimental bets on Steve Borthwick to score anytime at 16/1 but, instead, we've boosted centre Joel Tomkins odds to score to 7/2.

"He crossed twice last week in the defeat to Gloucester so we expect this price to be snapped up by the Sky Bet customers."

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