Heineken Cup Predictions: Quarter-Finals – Part Two

Here is part two of my Heineken Cup previews and predictions for this weekend’s quarter-finals.

Munster v Northampton Saints

These two teams will be pretty familiar with each other now having met twice already this season, and that familiarity could be the key for Northampton’s chances of proceeding to the semis.

The Saints slipped to a narrow defeat at Thomond Park in a tense, gripping match where neither side quite performed to its potential. That experience should stand the only English quarter-finalists in good stead as they’ll know what to expect when they arrive in Limerick, and at least some of the fear factor that makes Thomond such a difficult place to win might have dissipated.

There is no doubt that they’ve been the form side in the Guinness Premiership, and will select some of the best players in English rugby at the moment, and if they can control the game, maintain possession and play their own style of rugby rather than getting sucked into how Munster want them to play, they have a chance.

That said, I can’t see Munster being beaten this weekend. Even without Paul O’Connell, the home side should still have the edge in the pack, and their notorious ability to kill a game means that I’m leaning towards Munster in my prediction.

My SportGuru prediction is Munster by 9

Toulouse v Stade Francais

Finally, in another prediction influenced by home advantage, I’m backing Toulouse to win this all-French affair. That and the fact that in their most recent meeting, Toulouse beat Stade 29-0 in Paris, and will certainly carry the greater confidence into this clash.

Moreover, Toulouse have just qualified for the Top 14 playoffs wheras Stade are out of contention, and so on the face of it, complacency might be the biggest concern for Guy Noves’ team.

But it’s the French, so anything could happen. I don’t think the game will be a walkover, since all matches at this stage of the Heineken Cup are always fiercely contested, and the fact that Stade have no other silverware to contend for might just spur them on 0 – but I don’t think it will be enough to cause an upset.

My SportGuru prediction is Toulouse by 8

2 thoughts on “Heineken Cup Predictions: Quarter-Finals – Part Two

  1. Agree with both even though I want Northampton to beat Munster, I think that the Reds are just too canny at this level. After Thumping Stadt 29 – 0 I cant see any result other than a Toulouse victory.

  2. 2 Irish teams and two french teams that is a fair reflection of european rugby at the moment, the french having a bit more strength in depth even though the irish could take the spoils.

    As for the Saints, they will be back, no doubt, they have young players who were struggling with the pressure and they will be stronger for yesturday, it also means they have a better chance of winning the GP as they will only have that to focus on.

    There is no need to panic, change rules, change formats ect ect, the English teams will be back, the bigger english teams don’t worry about religation and rest some of their players anyway, the Tigers have been doing this for years although this year early injuries prevented a good start and they were up against it all the way. I have total confidence that jim Malinder will learn how to construct a season in the future.

    As for the semi’s well Biarratz defense looked terrible against the Osprey’s although largely due to J Collins doing what no welsh forward has done all season, produce forward momentum at close quarters. This opened up the space and showed us how good these welsh backs are.

    I have to take the frenchies as both Irish teams, specially Lienster looked weak up front and both French teams have huge packs.

    Tolouse to win

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