Champions Cup Odds: Can Leinster Or La Rochelle Win European Rugby’s Top Prize?
Champions Cup Final Predictions:
- La Rochelle To Win - 13/5 With 10Bet
- La Rochelle By 1-5 Points - 7/1 With William Hill
- Half Time/Full Time Leinster/La Rochelle - 10/1 With William Hill
Despite being the defending champions of the competition, betting sites believe La Rochelle will be up against it in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final encounter with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.
In last season’s decider at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, La Rochelle pulled off a major surprise to claim European rugby’s top-tier title - the Top 14 outfit’s first major trophy in their history.
In arrears for the vast majority of the action (and eight points adrift just shy of the third-quarter mark), the French men struck late with a converted try from Arthur Retière to dramatically deny Leinster a chance at adding a fifth star to their jerseys.
Steering the ship for La Rochelle on that day was none other than ex-Munster and Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara.
Having worked under some impressive operators at Racing 92 in France and the Crusaders in New Zealand, O’Gara joined his current employers as head coach in 2019.
Former Leinster assistant coach Jono Gibbes was La Rochelle’s Director of Rugby in his early days at the club, but O’Gara assumed full control of team affairs in the summer of 2021 and has continued to carve a strong coaching reputation.
Leinster Are Favourites for Champions Cup Glory In Familiar Territory
Though last year’s final took place over 500 miles away from their home base, the presence of a large La Rochelle contingent in the stands meant that it felt like something of a home game for the eventual winners.
The shoe will very much be on the other foot this weekend however, as Leinster will be playing in a venue that is often used as their home pitch instead of the nearby RDS Arena.
Munster got the better of Leinster at the Aviva Stadium in a United Rugby Championship semi-final last Saturday, but UK bookmakers believe a repeat result is unlikely this time around.
Leinster’s chances of success against La Rochelle are rated at 1/3 by the best betting sites for rugby union.
And you’d imagine that the eastern province will be high on motivation in Dublin after what happened in Marseille a little under 12 months ago.
Additionally, the prospect of a second consecutive season without a significant piece of silverware would almost seem unthinkable at the end of a campaign that has seen them winning 24 of the 27 games they have played to date.
La Rochelle Worth Looking At Again In Betting
Yet La Rochelle will thrive on once again being underdogs, even though they also defeated Leinster in the knockout stages of the 2020/21 Champions Cup.
They are already assured of an automatic spot in the Top 14 play-off semi-finals and have established a reputation as one of the most formidable sides in club rugby.
Several bookies - such as 10Bet - are currently offering odds of 13/5 on La Rochelle sealing back-to-back Champions Cup crowns.
Small Winning Margin Anticipated In The Champions Cup Final
One thing that does standout from the previous meetings of Leinster and La Rochelle in this competition is just how fine the margins have been.
In last season’s showpiece, La Rochelle had just three points to spare (24-21) over their Irish counterparts.
There was nine between them (32-23) in the previous term’s semi-final at Stade Marcel-Deflandre, but their cushion in that game stood at just two points heading into the closing 15 minutes of the action.
Based on all available evidence, it is expected that there will be very little to separate the two teams when the final whistle is blown on Saturday evening.
Bet365 are offering the same odds (9/2) on Leinster winning by either 1-5 points or 6-10 points.
If people are envisaging a La Rochelle triumph by the same general margin as the 2022 final, then they might consider the odds of 6/1 that are on offer.
A 1-5 points win for the Top 14 side is available at 7/1 with William Hill, but the same bookmaker is only offering 12/1 on O’Gara’s charges securing the title by between six and 10 points.
La Rochelle Won Last Two Meetings With Leinster After Trailing At Half-Time
Interestingly, La Rochelle have won both of their recent showdowns with Leinster having trailed at half-time.
O’Gara was of the belief that his side were going to win last season’s final if they were still in the reckoning with 20 minutes left and so it proved.
That said, the odds being offered on Leinster being ahead at the interval before falling behind at the end sit at 10/1 with betting apps.
Most bookmakers are of the belief that La Rochelle will have to be ahead at half-time in order to do so at full-time with odds of 7/2 available on this scenario with Bet365.
Perhaps unsurprising given their tag as favourites, there are unbackable odds available on Leinster to lead after both 40 minutes and 80 minutes. 888sport offer 8/13 on this happening on Saturday.
While there is method behind most of these predictions, finals rugby can often take on a life of its own.
This could very well be the case this weekend and with over 50,000 spectators set to pack out the Aviva, the hope is that it will be a game to be remembered for quite some time.
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