Heineken Cup quarter final line-up confirmed

The final round of pool matches in the Heineken Cup has confirmed the draw for the last eight in Europe.

The following matches will be played during the weekend of 10-12 April:

Cardiff v Toulouse
Munster v Ospreys
Harlequins v Leinster
Leicester v Bath

Cardiff qualified as the number one seeds after another convincing win left them unbeaten, and they’ll feel slightly hard-done-by that the eigth seed happens to be Toulouse – but it’s a reminder that there are no easy matches at this stage of the competition.

Defending champions Munster will face the Ospreys, who beat Leicester but could not starve them of a losing bonus point and must travel to Thomond Park.

Quins went through last week, and enjoy Home advantage against Leinster, whilst Leicester face Bath in an all-English affair.

Conspicuous by their absence are London Wasps, Gloucester and Stade Francais who all crashed out in the group stage, despite starting the competition among the favourites.

My money is still on Munster to make it two in a row – they have moved through the pool stages ruthlessly, guaranteeing a Home draw from not the easiest of groups, and I can’t see The Ospreys surviving at Thomond Park.

4 thoughts on “Heineken Cup quarter final line-up confirmed

  1. Munster are at home for both the quarters and the semis. They may as well not bother playing them and let the other 7 teams have a shoot out for who plays them in the final.

    Why don’t Ireland ever play any games down there? It’s the real rugby heartland and with Lansdowne Road being redeveloped over the past couple of years it would have been a perfect chance to take the game to the regions a la the England football team. I assume the capacity is not big enough but I doubt many teams would fancy playing Ireland down there.

  2. are you sure about the semi-finals stuart? i’m sure i read there was to be a draw tomorrow (tues) with the ‘home’ team earning the right to play in their own country, but not necessarily at their ‘home’ ground. not sure whether twickenham, millennium stadium or croke pk count as ‘home’ or not for quins, cardiff or leinster respectively… we’ll see

    if munster get an away semi, i think bath, leicester or toulouse could all beat them…

    the wasps game was frustrating, almost unwatchable at times – they really threw away the chance of a four-try win. that and the failure to wrest leinster’s bonus point away last weekend was poor… mr dayglo must have found it especially hard to watch…

    on a lighter note, and going almost totally off-topic – eurostar have announced extra ‘love trains’ to paris on feb 14, so people can whisk their loved one, or intended, off to le capital d’amour? the only downside? you may be sharing your amorous moment with a bevy of scots rugby fans, going over for the 6 nations game. “it will be an eclectic mix of passengers,” said eurostar’s PR man gamely, trying not to think about a gang of inebriated men in kilts and ‘jimmy’ wigs serenading terrified couples with their proclaimers’ tribute act…

  3. In the past the top 2 seeded teams get home quarters and semis and Will Greenwood said on Sky last week that that was the case this year as well. If it isn’t, take it up with Greenwood.
    I think the way you suggest would be better though – teams generally move their semis to bigger stadiums anyway but if you were Munster, would you move voluntarily from Thomond?

    Great news re the love train on 6 Nations weekend. All sorts of fun to be had there.

  4. will G was indeed incorrect, i’ll harangue him for this when we next meet!

    but by chance the draw did indeed end up with the top-ranked teams at home:

    “The draw for the Heineken Cup semi-finals, to be played on the weekend of 2/3 May, was made in Edinburgh today.
    The team named first in each of the semi-final pairings will have home country advantage.

    SEMI-FINAL 1: Cardiff Blues or Toulouse v Leicester Tigers or Bath Rugby

    SEMI-FINAL 2: Munster or Ospreys v Harlequins or Leinster”

    munster wouldn’t get thomond park, i imagine dublin. ospreys would get the millennium, not sure whether cardiff would too, and toulouse maybe in paris?

    a rotten draw for the english clubs…

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