What Are the Chances of an All-English Investec Champions Cup Final? - Ruck

What Are the Chances of an All-English Investec Champions Cup Final?

The Investec Champions Cup is moving on to the semi-final stage. English Premiership clubs are in the somewhat unusual position of having two representatives in the final four, and, what’s more, there’s still the slight chance of an all-English final taking place on 25 May at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Following Harlequins’ thrilling 42-41 quarter-final victory over France’s Union Bordeaux Bègles on 13 April and the 59-22 humbling that the Northampton Saints dished out to South Africa’s Vodacom Bulls later the same day, two English clubs will compete in the semi-finals for the first time since 2019/20. The eventual winners, the Exeter Chiefs and London’s Saracens F.C. were England’s representatives back then.

English fans have to go way back to the 2006/07 season when the Champions Cup was still known as the Heineken Cup for the last time there was an all-English final. On that occasion, the London Wasps defeated the Leicester Tigers to lift its second and last European Champions trophy.

We’ll look at the semi-final matchups and analyse both English teams’ semi-final chances and the odds on offer through offshore betting sites which are not on GAMSTOP, so fans from anywhere, not only in the UK, can back their preferred team. Local punters can also benefit from placing their bets at these sites – as Techopedia’s Gambling Editor, Matty Treuberg, explains: “These platforms provide a workaround for GAMSTOP self-exclusions, which are irreversible.” 

SF1: Sat, 4 May – Leinster Rugby vs Northampton Saints (Croke Park, Dublin)

Odds: Leinster 2/13, Northampton 5/1

The Saints are up against it in the first semi-final in Dublin, having to visit an on-form and hungry Leinster side. Leinster last won the Champions Cup in 2017/18 but has been runner-up three times since then, including in the last two editions, which explains why so many non-GAMSTOP gambling sites have set the odds in their favour. The Irish four-time European champion finally put its La Rochelle hoodoo to bed in this season’s quarter-finals, overwhelming the twice-defending champions 40-13.

Leinster beat all comers in topping its group stage pool. Although The Saints have displayed good form, with a sound English Premiership win over Saracens before cruising past The Bulls in the quarter-finals, these games took place at its Cinch Stadium at Franklin Gardens home, and visiting Croke Park will provide a much sterner test.

Ably led by the English international flanker Lewis Ludlam and a further 15 internationals in its squad, including the experienced Courtney Lawes, the Northampton Saints will provide a stern test for the home side. However, as the Leinster squad includes a wealth of experience and has a point to prove after the last two seasons, the semi-final may prove a bridge too far for the intrepid Northampton Saints on this occasion. 

SF2: Su, 5 May – Stade Toulousain vs Harlequin F.C. (Stade Ernest-Wallon, Toulouse)

Odds: Toulouse 1/12, Harlequins 12/1

If Northampton are up against it in Ireland, Harlequins may have to pull a rabbit out of a hat if the Twickenham-based team is to come away from Stade Ernest-Wallon with a place in the Champions Cup final intact. After finishing as runner-up in its group stage pool, behind its French semi-final opposition, the odds are firmly stacked against Quins completing a second successive upset following its quarter-final thriller.

Currently fourth in the English Premiership, Harlequins’ form can be described as patchy, at best, throughout the current season. When Tabai Matson’s charges last met Toulouse at the Twickenham Stoop in December 2023, the game ended in a 19-47 defeat to the French team. 

Although there are 16 internationals in the Quins squad, including the experience of Danny Care and a blossoming Marcus Smith as its half-back combination, the Toulouse and French national captain, Antoine Dupont, has shown he can win games almost single-handedly. He doesn’t have to, though, as there are a further 27 international players and a wealth of experience at the captain’s disposal.

The Chances of an All-English Final

Having the Northampton Saints and Harlequins meeting in the Investec Champions Cup final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at the end of May seems a pipe dream according to bookmakers. Even one English representative in the main event would upset the odds. Sport remains a great leveller, though – ask Bordeaux after its loss against Harlequins in France in the last round.

The bold among us might put money on an all-English final, but we’d suggest not risking your house on such semi-final results occurring.