If the bookies are to be viewed as a trustworthy source, the Leicester Tigers are set to win the ‘double’ of the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup titles.
The Tigers are favourites to win each competition since their incredible victory over Cardiff after a penalty shootout at the Millennium Stadium, and only a brave man would bet against them.
This Saturday, they take on Bath in the Guinness Premiership semi-final, the following weekend is the final, and then the weekend after that is the Heineken Cup final so they are in for a busy few weeks as they strive to achieve what no other club has managed since Wasps in 2004.
The news that fly-half Toby Flood has been ruled out with an Achilles injury appears at first to be a blow to their chances, but the Tigers have arguably been at their best in the last couple of months by starting Sam Vesty at 10 with Aaron Mauger outside him at 12, so they’ll be forced into that lineup now that Flood is out.
The way the Tigers have put their coaching blues behind them after the brief tenure of Marcelo Loffreda and Heyneke Meyer’s early return to South Africa is impressive. Richard Cockerill has taken control to end all discussion of a rudderless ship, and his strong squad of players seem to respond to the former England hooker.
In the Premiership, they should be too strong for Bath who have had mixed results in their last few fixtures, and in my view, neither Harlequins nor London Irish would be capable of an upset at Twickenham in the final.
Having overcome Munster, you could argue that Leinster can beat anyone, with their dogged defence and dominance at the breakdown, but they’ll need to produce another similar performance to clinch the title in Edinburgh having seen Leicester perform so well for 75 minutes in Cardiff last week and it may well be one game too far. The back row battle will be fascinating to watch in the final, given that both had the upper hand over their respective semi-final opponents, but my money is on Leicester.
Leicester to win the double? What do you think?