O’Connor backs Toulon to beat Munster

Bet on the Heineken CupLeinster boss Matt O’Connor has warned Irish rivals Munster they will face one of the toughest tests in their history when the meet Toulon in the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup (Match Betting – Toulon 2/7, draw 22/1, Munster 5/2).

O’Connor took his side to the South of France on Sunday and despite the hosts losing Jonny Wilkinson to injury in the first half, Leinster could not prevent themselves from going down 29-14 at the Stade Felix Mayol.

It means defending champions Toulon (6/4 favourites – Heineken Cup outright) will now face two-time winners Munster on April 27 in Marseille, with the winner due to play either Saracens or Clermont in next month’s final at the Millennium Stadium.

Although they have tasted defeat on home soil in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Toulon have an almost immaculate record in France in the Heineken Cup and will expect to reach their second successive final.

However, Munster (11/2 – Heineken Cup outright) will not be intimidated by the partisan crowd although they have traditionally struggled away from home in the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup and lost to Clermont last year in Montpellier.

O’Connor admits that the Red Army’s history means they always have the capability of beating the best teams in Europe, but he also believes Toulon’s class will eventually see them through.

“Munster always have a chance, don’t they?” he told the Irish Independent. “They will be incredibly hard to beat, but they probably don’t have the class that that Toulon side has got.

“They have big-name players with a lot of Test experience, guys who are performing week-on-week in the Top 14, so it will be a fair battle but you would imagine Toulon would win.”

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