European Rugby Challenge Cup final: Harlequins can defy odds against Montpellier
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | May 12, 2016
Harlequins v Montpellier
- European Rugby Challenge Cup final
- Friday, May 13th
- Grand Stade de Lyon, Lyon
- Live on Sky Sports 2
Odds against final flourish for ‘Quins boss O’Shea
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea is in charge for the last time before taking up his new post as Italy head coach, but Coral don’t think there will be a happy ending in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Rated 7/4 outsiders to lift the trophy, ‘Quins are 15/8 to win in 80 minutes, having recorded a mid-table seventh place finish in the Aviva Premiership. Their opponents in Lyon are Montpellier, currently second in the French Top 14.
Odds-on at 2/5 for Challenge Cup success and 4/9 to get it normal time, Montpellier can certainly call upon greater strength in depth than their English opposition on home soil.
Hooker a surprise source of tries
Versatile Fiji back Timoci Nagusa (15/8 to cross anytime) and uncapped wing Marvin O’Connor (2/1) apart, Harlequins have to be wary of tryscoring hooker Bismarck Du Plessis.
Prolific since joining Montpellier from Southern Hemisphere Super Rugby franchise Durban Sharks and, with more than 80 caps for South Africa, front row Du Plessis is a real punt to cross anytime at a superb 7/2.
Namesakes Jacques (flanker) and Jannie (prop) are also on the books of Montpellier among several expatriate Springboks turning out in Europe.
Harlequins not necessarily underdogs
‘Quins should not be underestimated, however, as they have scored the most tries (39) and put the most points on the board (293) of any side in this season’s Challenge Cup, with 74 coming from Kiwi kicker Ben Botica.
Other key threats for O’Shea, who has won the Challenge Cup before, are England full back Mike Brown (also 10/3), Scotland wing Tim Visser (12/5) and Wales centre Jamie Roberts (13/2).
Coral’s top tip: Care was simply scintillating as Harlequins heaped misery on relegated Premiership rivals London Irish during the Challenge Cup quarter-finals. Back the scrum half to score another try here at terrific odds of 10/3.