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The Punter: Ready, Eddie, GO!

By Robert Fenton

Can coach Eddie O'Sullivan survive the crisis that now envelopes Irish rugby? A disastrous World Cup campaign which never got off the ground in Paris, leaves him exposed to the critics and those clamouring for change.

Wales didn't hang around in giving Gareth Jenkins the boot, but the Irish Rugby Union committed a right howler prior to the squad's departure for France.

Giving O'Sullivan an extended four-year contract, based on hope and hype, has backfired badly.

They are now stuck with the coach unless they are prepared to dig deep to end his contract.

William Hill are touting 4-6 that Eddie will not be in charge for the next World Cup in 2011 - and that is money from America - while Power's go 11-10 that he will be cease to be manager in that year.

Paddy Power meanwhile are offering a mere 3-1 that he is gone by the end of 2007, so they must know something.

Brian O'Driscoll's captaincy is also hanging by a thread with Paul O'Connell emerging as the bookies new favourite at 4-6 to lead the squad for the opening Six Nations match next February.

Denis Hickie is the only player so far to confirm his retirement while others rumoured to be planning their exit are Malcolm O'Kelly and Geordan Murphy.

Meanwhile, Australia are 1-6 favourites to demolish England in the quarter-finals on Saturday while New Zealand remain the 7-10 'jollies' to lift the William Ellis trophy.

As for Argentina who have taken the competition by storm, they are a value 6-1 to win without the All-Blacks which means beating Scotland and probably South Africa who face Fiji in the quarter-finals, for a place in the decider.

The Kiwis are on course for a semi-final clash with Australia as the All Blacks should be too strong for France in Cardiff.

Paddy Power: When will Eddie cease to be Ireland manager? 3-1 2207; 4-1 2008; 7-1 2009; 12-1 2010; 10-11 2011.

Who will be manager for first Six Nations game? 1-5 O'Sullivan; 14-1 Michael Bradley; 16-1 N O'Donovan; 20-1 D Kidney, W Gatland; 25-1 J Mitchell; 200-1 Tony Ward; 500-1 George Hook.

Who'll be captain for first Six Nations game? 4-6 O'Connell; 11-10 O'Driscoll; 6-1 any other.

William Hill: Who will leave their current position first? 4-11 Steve Staunton, 15-8 Eddie O'Sullivan.

Next permanent Irish coach after Eddie O'Sullivan: 3-1 Michael Bradley, 7-2 Mike Ruddock, 6-1 Declan Kidney, 9-1 Eddie Jones, 10-1 John Kirwan, Laurie Fisher, Nick Mallett, 14-1 Mick Galwey, Michael Cheika, 16-1 Robbie Deans, 18-1 Shaun Edwards, 20-1 Pierre Berbizier, Paul Cunningham, Steve Hansen, Graham Henry, Mark McCall, 25-1 Clive Woodward, 100-1 Andy Robinson, Brent Pope, George Hook.

White hot thriller burnt more than a few fingers

What's going on in the Premier League these days?

Goals, goals and more goals seems to be the new mantra.

We thought we had seen it all when Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 on Saturday - a record score in the Premier League.

But they had reckoned without Monday's night's fireworks at White Hart Lane.

After trailing 4-1 to Aston Villa, Spurs fans, waving white flags in celebrating 125 years of history, could have been forgiven for waving the flag of surrender.

Villa's Martin O'Neill was dumbstruck as Tottenham came back from the brink of despair, with Younes Kaboul grabbing a last-gasp equaliser to make it 4-4.

On the betting front with Betfair, the draw was matched at 69-1 while Jol shortened to as low as 1-5 to be the next Premier League manager to be sacked.

The helter-skelter night was summed up by Spurs being backed at 1-3 when they went 1-0 in front and Villa on offer at 16-1.

When Villa went 4-1 up, some punters were willing to risk £100 at 1-100 to win a miserable £1 while Spurs drifted to 499-1.

Smell of burnt fingers all round.

And in the 92nd minute, Villa were backed at 1-11.

Altogether, nearly £12m was traded on the match odds, making it an all-time Betfair in-running football betting classic.

Losers can be winners with star

Star Racing have introduced a novel attraction for customers this month.

Anyone betting and losing £100 in the Donegall Lane shop, will be given a free £25 wager on football.

The £100 loss does not have to be in a single bet or in the one day, but can be accumulated over a period.

It means customers would hold on to losing betting slips, for example £5 each day for 20 days, present them in the shop and be entitled to that free offer.

Meanwhile, there has been a dramatic change in the betting on the Premier League with firms at variance.

Star Racing make Arsenal and Man United joint-favourites at 2-1 with Liverpool 3-1.

Eastwood's on the other hand are biggest on Arsenal (11-4), the same price for Liverpool and United as short as 11-8.

Hill's go the same way with United but have Liverpool at 7-2 and the Gunners at 11-5.

Chelsea now 7-1, are 5-2 not to in finish in the top four.

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