Saracens v Munster, Champions Cup

Conor Murray will be vital to Munster's chances of causing an upset against Saracens this weekend

Conor Quigley looks forward to the Champions Cup Semi-Final meeting of Saracens and Munster at the Ricoh Arena, Sat 20 Apr, 3pm KO

Last Time Out:

The quarter-finals are now done and dusted; they offered us four great games.

We saw both Munster and Leinster escaped elimination with a lucky victories. Saracens showed their dominance against a poor Glasgow side.

Finally, Toulouse shocked almost everyone by beating Racing away.

If you were lucky enough to follow any of our tips for the last round, three out of the four came up. The only thing that stopped the full house was an amazing performance by Ulster.

We now turn our attention to the semi-finals, which offers us two mouth-watering games.

First up we have Saracens taking on Munster in the Richo Arena on Saturday.

See Bar One Racing’s Saracens v Munster match betting here

Saracens v Munster – Saturday 20th April (BT Sport 2)

Saracens enter this game in a great run of form.

They are unbeaten in the competition this year and have most recently dismantled Glasgow 56-27.

It can be argued that this is not that impressive as it was expected. However, the fact they did this without Owen Farrell at fly half is very impressive.

Farrell was unable to play as his wife was giving birth to his first child that day. This saw full back Alex Goode step in at fly half and run the game.

The fact that they did not have a recognised ten playing and still managed to give Glasgow such a comprehensive beating is a statement in itself.

This is worrying news for Munster and with Farrell back in the side for the game this weekend, it will only add to the huge task.

Saracens are looking to replicate their victory over Munster at the same stage of the 2017 competition.

On that day, Saracens bullied the men in red up front, not allowing their big ball carriers gain any momentum. They completely nullified the threat of CJ Stander and they will be looking to do the same this weekend.

Saracens’ attacking game is still the same as it was two years ago; it is built on strong carries from the pack, particularly the Vunipola brothers.

These strong carries allow them to release their very talented back line, which have the potential to tear apart any defence in the game.

Saracens rightly go as heavy favourites into this game and it will be an uphill battle for Johann van Graan’s side.

It is fair to say that Munster stole a victory in Edinburgh in the quarter-final.

They were starved of possession and territory for most of the game. A better side than Edinburgh would have comfortably dismissed the Irish side.

If Munster play the same against Saracens then the game will end in a cricket score.

However, despite the fact the Munster are entering into this game as big underdogs it does not mean that they can’t win.

If any team has the ability and history of pulling of almost impossible European wins it is Munster.

If Muster are to win then a few things are crucial. The first being they must get at Owen Farrell early, it is so important that they rattle Farrell early in the game to put him off. Farrell will look great if he is given time and space to implement his game plan.

The best example of this is his performance against Ireland in the Six nations, he was able to control the game as he was in space. If the Munster back row get into him early it will give them a great chance of winning this game.

It can’t be underestimated how important the Munster backrow plus Tadgh Bernie are to their chances of winning.

Another crucial element to a Munster victory is Conor Murray. He did not play in the fixture in 2017, the inclusion of Murray will aid the Munster side massively.

If Murray plays well, Munster play well, he is that important to the side.

Murray will most likely be partnered by Bleyendaal, their partnership is vital to a Munster victory.

Verdict:

I believe Saracens will just edge Munster, however I think Munster +7 at 10/11 is a great bet.



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*Odds were correct at time of publishing the article