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Key weekend in the Heineken Cup

The fourth round is almost always a key round of the Pool stages of the Heineken Cup; this weekend looks set to be no different.

Here’s a quick preview and prediction for each game:

Friday:

Edinburgh v Racing Metro (Pool 1): Winless and pointless at the foot of Pool 1, Edinburgh will be desperate to get off the mark against Racing Metro. Effectively out of the competition, this is for pride more than anything else. For Racing it is a must win game to stay in contact with the Pool leaders.

20.00 kick off – Racing by 10 Sky Sports 2

Biarritz v Connacht (Pool 3): After losing in Galway last week, Biarritz will be a vastly different opposition tonight. At home and with a crowd baying for revenge, they will not lose. A tough ask for Connacht to repeat last weeks heroics.

20.00 kick off – Biarritz by 10. Sky Sports 2

Saturday:

Ospreys v Toulouse (Pool 2): Toulouse look as good as ever, while the Ospreys and Welsh sides in general have struggled badly this year. Ospreys must win with a bonus point to keep their hopes realistically alive; the same result for Toulouse will see them almost certain to qualify.

13.35 kick off – Toulouse by more than 7. Sky Sports 1

Treviso v Leicester (Pool 2): Treviso’s pointless start to the campaign does not reflect their growing reputation on the pitch. They are no pushovers at home, but with Leicester needing a strong win to keep their qualification hopes alive, it is hard to see past them.

13.35 kick off – Leicester bonus point win. Red Button

Harlequins v Zebre (Pool 3): Very simple, Harlequins will expect a bonus point and the virtual certainty of quarter final qualification that it will bring.

15.00 kick off – Quins bonus point win.

Exeter v Scarlets (Pool 5): If the Scarlets thought Exeter were tough when they travelled, they will soon find out just how tough they really are at Sandy Park. Neither is likely to qualify but after last weekends win, Exeter will want to prove it was no fluke. The rest of us already know it wasn’t.

15.40 kick off – Exeter by less than 7. Red Button

Leinster v Clermont Auvergne (Pool 5 ): This game will decide the Pool winner, if not mathematically then at least virtually. Leinster cannot afford anything but a win after defeat in Clermont last week. Game of the weekend without a shadow of a doubt.

15.40 kick off – Leinster by less than 7. Titanic battle. Sky Sports 1

Ulster v Northampton (Pool 4): If Leinster v Clermont doesn’t quite do it for you then this will, Ulster are the form team in Europe and after crushing Saints last week they will expect nothing less than the same again this week. Northampton simply must win, and a bonus point would go down very nicely. Hard to see it happening.

18.00 kick off – Ulster by 10. Sky Sports 1

Montpellier v Cardiff Blues (Pool 6): Montpellier are not the flashiest side around but boy are they effective. Cardiff have been poor this year, like the rest of the Welsh regions, and sit at the foot of the Pool with just one point. I don’t suggest predicting that this will change by the time Match of the Day comes on.

18.00 kick off – Montpellier by more than 7. Red Button

Sunday:

Castres v Glasgow (Pool 4): Glasgow have been in poor form this season, while Castres have surprised a few and sit second in the pool at the halfway stage. Nothing is likely to change after this result.

12.45 kick off – Castres by more than 7. Sky Sports 2

Saracens v Munster (Pool 1): After battling well to come away from Thomond Park with a losing bonus point, Saracens must back it up with a win on Sunday or it will all have been for nothing. Munster are the wiliest foxes in Europe though and will not make it remotely simple.

15.00 kick off – Munster, by the smallest of margins. Sky Sports 2

Toulon v Sale (Pool 6): Toulon have been in flying form while Sale have just been in a world of misery all season. It seems almost inconceivable that Toulon will not get the job done in style on Sunday.

15.00 kick off – Toulon with a bonus point. Red Button

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