The Heineken Cup quarter-final weekends is one of my favourites of the year, and when that’s combined with the Masters Golf AND a 4-day Easter holiday, it doesn’t get much better.
Here are my predictions for the Heineken Cup quarter finals.
Edinburgh v Toulouse: Toulouse by 8
This is the only away win I’m predicting, and can’t see the Scots taking down the might French outfit unfortunately. I expect it to be tight for a while in typical Scottish dogged fashion, but the class of Toulouse ought to pull them through in the end.
Edinburgh have had a great season and deserve the home quarter-final, but their win over the Scarlets last week was their first victory in the last 9 Pro 12 matches, and that’s not the sort of form you want to be taking into a match like this.
Leinster v Cardiff Blues: Leinster by 13
The home side have welcomed Brian O’Driscoll back into the side recently, and last week’s win over Munster will give them the confidence to win this convincingly.
Cardiff are without talisman Jamie Roberts (and Gavin Henson of course) and last week’s thrashing away at Glasgow doesn’t suggest that they can cause an upset at the Aviva Stadium against the defending champions.
Munster v Ulster: Munster by 8
Not many teams win at Thomond Park, but Leinster managed it last week and Ulster have a chance to do the same. But this is the Heineken Cup and not the Pro12, and I can’t see past Munster for this one.
Ulster are likely to be without Stephen Ferris, although he has been named in the squad, and that’s a huge blow for the visiting team. They’ll need to be at their strongest to win this one, but I expect Munster to come through.
Saracens v ASM Clermont Auvergne: Saracens by 6
This game could be a cracker to complete the quarter-finals, and Sarries’ confidence may have been rocked slightly by the defeat to Quins last weekend.
I haven’t seen much of Clermont this season, but I suspect if Saracens can inflict their efficient gameplan on the French, then they can win this one. If they win, the semi-final will be played at Twickenham (that’s an exclusive by the way) and the appeal of another high-profile game could spur them on even further.
What do you think? Will any of these games go the other way?