Key weekend in the Heineken Cup, with Quins tipped to be first to qualify

We welcome back the Heineken Cup again this weekend in what is sure to be yet another exciting few days of top class rugby.

Harlequins look almost certain to qualify this weekend, they just need one point from their remaining two matches to qualify, and may not even need that should Biarritz fail to get a bonus point win.

Quins are at home to Connacht, while Biarritz travel to Zebre, so in all likelihood Pool 3 will be wrapped up by mid afternoon on Saturday, with the only real question being whether Quins can seal a home quarter final.

A win for Clermont against Exeter in Pool 5 will also see them qualify, which would be quite an achievement considering back to back winners Leinster are in the same Pool. Leinster themselves must get a bonus point win over the Scarlets to stay in the hunt, but are in reality probably playing for a best second place spot.

The rest of the quarter finalists are unlikely to be confirmed this weekend, though Toulon could seal their place if they beat Cardiff Blues with a bonus point on Saturday and Montpellier fail to collect all five point at Sale in Pool 6.

Pools 1, 2 and 4 all hang very neatly in the balance though. In Pool 1, just 3 points separate Saracens, Racing and Munster. Saracens travel to Racing Metro on Saturday, knowing that a win will make them the strong favourites to qualify, with Edinburgh to come.

Edinburgh face Munster this week though, the Scottish side are yet to register a point in the tournament and will looking to change that on Sunday. Munster however know that a bonus point win could give them a real chance of qualification.

Pool 4 sees another Ireland/Scotland battle, with Ulster welcoming Glasgow to Ravenhill on Friday night. Like Edinburgh, Glasgow are yet to win in the tournament, while Ulster could be sitting at the top of the Pool with 20 points if they can get a bonus point win.

The other game in the Pool sees the resurgent Northampton Saints welcome Castres to Franklin’s Gardens. The Saints must win to really keep their chances alive, anything but that would see their hopes looking very slim. Castres though could take control of the Pool if they win and Glasgow spring a surpise in Ulster.

Pool 2 is another that is fascinatingly in the balance. Leicester Tigers lead the group from Toulouse by a point, but must travel to the Ospreys on Sunday who are just a bonus point victory behind. Toulouse meanwhile welcome the Italians Treviso to town and will be expecting to register a bonus point.

This is where the magic of the Heineken Cup really begins, with so many groups so finley balanced, and the race for home quarter finals and for the top two second places so important, every result that comes in can completely shift the balance of the tournament.

It will be an intriguing weekend.

Fixtures (Predictions in bold): 

Friday:

20.00 Northampton v Castres, Pool 4

20.00 Sale v Montpellier Pool 6

20.00 Ulster v Glasgow Pool 4

Saturday:

13.35 Harlequins v Connacht Pool 3

13.35 Zebre v Biarritz Pool 3

13.35 Toulon v Cardiff Blues Pool 6

15.40 Racing Metro 92 v Saracens Pool 1

18.00 Clermont Auvergne v Exeter Pool 5

18.00 Leinster v Scarlets Pool 5

Sunday:

12.45 Edinburgh v Munster Pool 1

15.00 Ospreys v Leicester Pool 2

15.00 Toulouse v Treviso Pool 2

Pool 1

P

W

D

L

BP

Pts

Saracens

4

3

0

1

2

14

Racing Metro

4

3

0

1

0

12

Munster

4

2

0

2

3

11

Edinburgh

4

0

0

4

0

0

Pool 2

P

W

D

L

BP

Pts

Leicester

4

3

0

1

2

14

Toulouse

4

3

0

1

1

13

Ospreys

4

2

0

2

1

9

Treviso

4

0

0

4

1

1

Pool 3

P

W

D

L

BP

Pts

Harlequins

4

4

0

0

3

19

Biarritz

4

2

0

2

1

9

Connacht

4

2

0

2

0

8

Zebre

4

0

0

4

0

0

Pool 4

P

W

D

L

BP

Pts

Ulster

4

3

0

1

3

15

Castres

4

3

0

1

0

12

Northampton

4

2

0

2

2

10

Glasgow

4

0

0

4

2

2

Pool 5

P

W

D

L

BP

Pts

Clermont

4

4

0

0

2

18

Leinster

4

2

0

2

2

10

Exeter

4

2

0

2

1

9

Scarlets

4

0

0

4

2

2

Pool 6

P

W

D

L

BP

Pts

Toulon

4

4

0

0

2

18

Montpellier

4

3

0

1

1

13

Sale

4

1

0

3

0

4

Cardiff

4

0

0

4

1

1

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