The penultimate round of Heineken Cup pool matches saw two teams qualify for the quarter finals and has left a further twelve teams to compete for the remaining six places.
Foden helped his England chances in Northampton’s victory over Perpignan
Biarritz are already through as winners of Pool 2, despite defeat to Gloucester, whilst Toulouse were crowned winners of Pool 5 with a convincing 33-21 victory over Harlequins.
Most of the results were pretty much as expected, although London Irish will be ruing their second half capitulation against the Scarlets. They lost 31-22 to the Welsh side, despite having led 22-10 after an hour, and now face a tough task to qualify – they need to beat Leinster next weekend in a must-win fixture for both sides.
The game was one of the highlights of the weekend, with both sides looking to run with the ball. Delon Armitage was particularly impressive at full-back, choosing to counter-attack more often than hoofing it 60 metres. Needless to say, this is encouraging news for England fans ahead of the Six Nations, but we all know that club form doesn’t necessarily translate into the international setup.
Nick Kennedy also caught the eye, with some strong ball-carrying and his sleight of hand was obvious as he looked to offload in every tackle. How he isn’t in the England elite squad still baffles me.
The other highlight for me was Northampton’s victory over Perpignan, where a last-minute try gave the hosts a maximum 5-point haul in a 34-0 thrashing.
The game was again marked by running rugby, with Ben Foden and Chris Ashton enjoying themselves out wide, clearly revelling in their selection for England.
We’ll bring you details of what each side needs to do in the final round in order to qualify, but here are the teams still in contention.
Toulouse (Q), Biarritz (Q), Munster, Northampton, Leicester, Ospreys, Clermont Auvergne, Stade Francais, Ulster, Cardiff Blues, Sale Sharks, Leinster, London Irish, and the Scarlets.