Photo Copyright Steve Haag Sports
Castres are fancied to get the better of Montpellier in the Top 14 Final whilst Patchy also has thoughts on the Currie Cup in South Africa and MRL final in New Jersey .
Castres v Montpellier – Top 14 Final
The Top 14 Final gets underway in St-Denis at the Stade France Stadium on Friday evening. Both finalists were the underdogs in their respective semi finals against Toulouse and Bordeaux respectively but ironically did finish 1-2 on the table.
Both sides are defensively sound and my first impression is that we are in for a low scoring nuggety affair, personally my favourite type of match , despite the favourable conditions expected in Paris.
The sides faced off twice during the season with a win a piece.
Patchy’s Pick – Top 14 Final
Both of these sides have been good to me this season and I’m reluctant to throw my cap into the ring for either way , though if I was to have a small wager on the winner, I would lean towards Castres who appear to tick all the boxes.
My main fancy instead was the total points but sadly the bookies are not taking any chances here, with the total set at 39.5 points which is 2 points lower than I was hoping . Nevertheless, I am happy with this quote and will suggest a solid 4 Units on unders pre-match and if there are quick early points scored, look to “ press” the unders at a higher points level in running for a further 2 Units.
Griquas v Pumas
Amazingly and a turn up for the books , both of these sides were convincing winners on the weekend despite being 4 and 10-point underdogs in their respective matches and the 2022 Currie Cup final is now to take place in the Diamond city, Kimberley, in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Griqualand West as they were known, held their last final in 1970 beating the then Northern Transvaal 11-9. They now get to host the Pumas who have never made a final since the tournaments inception in 1892.
To be fair, a number of the better-known regions were involved in the URC and had weakened squads for the local tournament, but it was the Cheetahs, from Bloemfonten, who were expected to have the best chance of claiming the top honours but they lost form horribly towards the latter part of the round robin stages.
These two sides have met twice this season , 4 months apart with Griquas winning both , 41-20 and 44-45 just two weeks ago.
Normally a dry fast pitch prone to a large points tally, but this could be a potential banana peel in that regard as a tighter match is expected being a final.
Both sides have to be commended for making the final and don’t be fooled in thinking it won’t be a bone crunching affair either. Griquas and the Pumas are both well coached and have impressive and physical packs, whilst their respective backlines have plenty of pace.
I have two recommended bets in this final. The first being 4 Units on the Pumas plus 6.5 points, with my reasoning being they are very well matched and any start I can get will be well received despite playing in Kimberley. The other is total points where I am confident we’ll be in for a low scoring match . However, with no points markets out yet, I’ll be happy to throw 3 Units at any quote of 49.5 and below.
New York v Seattle Seawolves
Earlier on in the season I signed up to a free streaming site ( Rugby Network ) which shows the games in the USA. Overall the experience has been positive, though at times the commentators can be a little distracting and error prone.
The general level of rugby though is better than I expected as a huge influx of international players, including a few stars from yesteryear, have flooded the Major League Rugby tournament over the last few seasons. You find yourself taking a double take as you recognise names you haven’t heard for a while and it’s great to see them still around after so many years.
The Seawolves won back to back titles in 2018 and 2109.
These sides met a month ago in New York, with the hosts winning 30-22 and they’ve met a total of 4 times with 2 wins a piece, all in favour of the home side.
The final will take place in New Jersey at the home of the Major League Soccer side , the New York Red Bulls, on Saturday. Kick- off is 12pm US time and 5 pm UK time.
It’ll be warm in New Jersey with an expected high of 31 degrees.
One might seem a little desperate to have a significant bet on a rugby league that is still so new and where form can vary from week to week. However, being a final and having watched a few matches so far I feel I can confidently pick New York to come out on top. Another very important factor to weigh in, is that the Seawolves actually finished mid table on the Eastern Board Conference but were given a lifeline after both top sides ;, Austin Gilgronis and LA Giltinis, were disqualified having been found guilty of breaking tournament rules so are somewhat fortunate to be in the final.
Only a moderate bet is suggested , so 2 Units on NY minus 5.5 points on the handicap is the call.