Friday, 17 October 2008
Glasgow v Toulouse, 20:00
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Stade Francais v Scarlets, 13:35
Treviso v Leicester, 13:35
Harlequins v Ulster, 15:00
Ospreys v Perpignan, 15:30
Biarritz v Calvisano, 17:00
Castres v Edinburgh, 17:30
Leinster v Wasps, 17:30
Sunday, 19 October 2008
Sale v Munster, 13:00
Bath v Newport-Gwent D’gons, 13:00
Cardiff Blues v Gloucester, 15:00
Montauban v Clermont Auvergne, 15:00
If you have Sky, you’ve got to love the Heineken Cup – you can choose to watch any of this weekend’s live matches back to back and appreciate the quality of Europe’s elite in just one weekend.
Following last week’s scintillating opening of this year’s competition, there are one or two attractive looking fixtures this weekend once again.
The Glasgow versus Toulouse match on Friday night should not be overlooked, since the contrast in teams could be fascinating. The free-running French fancies from the south will venture to Scotland’s hard edge to face a determined Glasgow team out to cause an upset. It would be one hell of a surprise, but it should be compelling viewing.
The Ospreys host Perpignan on Saturday afternoon, with the big-spending French outfit visiting the Welsh all-star team hungry for retribution after their loss last week. Dan Carter has not yet arrived, so there is a perceived advantage of playing Perpignan early in the competition, but the Ospreys will need to be at their best to win at home.
The fixture of the weekend for me is Leinster versus Wasps, and with Danny Cipriani returning to form, we may just see the real Wasps emerge for the first time this season. The Dublin side are the dark horses though for some pundits this season, and many will be hoping to impress Declan Kidney whilst his mind is focused on selection for Ireland’s Autumn series. I expect a narrow home victory, but there could be some fireworks.
Another Anglo-Irish affair this weekend is the reigning champions’ trip to the North of England to face Sale, arguably the Guinness Premiership’s form team fresh from their stunning victory over Clermont Auvergne. The Manchester side are now favourites to go through, although they’ll need to be wary of a Munster side that should be much improved from their narrow first round win over Montauban.
This brief preview is doing a slight disservice to some of the games on offer this weekend, and the prospect of a full Heineken Cup weekend is so mouth-watering that there’s only one thing for it – watch them all!