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Heineken Cup – Predictions, Fixtures, Tables, and TV

After some great Heineken Cup rugby last weekend, it is great to have it back on the screens for the second week in a row.

Amidst all the debate and furore over the existence and format of the competition next year, the quality of the rugby has remained excellent and the competition remains as exciting as ever.

Ahead of the weekend’s action we have all of the fixtures below, as well as our predictions (in italics), the tables, where you can watch each game, and a short paragraph on each pool.

Let us know what you think of the tournament so far, we would also love to hear what you think of our predictions, as well as your own predictions. You can get in touch via the comment box below, or via Twitter (@FifteenRugbyXV).

Pool One:

Ospreys v Castres – Friday, 20.00 (Red Button)

Leinster v Northampton Saints – Saturday, 18.00 (Sky Sports 2)

Leinster’s stunning win against Saints last weekend put them in total control of this group, and after a performance like that last week it is hard to see them slipping up again at the RDS this weekend against the same opposition.

Castres won last week against the Opsreys but we think the Ospreys could be in line for their first victory in this year’s tournament, particularly given the traditional away struggles of the French side. Should that happen and if Leinster get a strong win over Saints, it could leave the Pool all but secured for the Irish province.

Heineken Cup Pool One

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Leinster

3

3

0

0

1

13

2

Castres

3

2

0

1

0

8

3

Northampton Saints

3

1

0

2

1

5

4

Ospreys

3

0

0

3

1

1

Pool Two:

Glasgow v Cardiff Blues – Friday, 20.00 (Sky Sports 3)

Toulon v Exeter Chiefs – Saturday, 13.35 (Sky Sports 2)

This Pool is still wide open but this weekend looks key. If results go their way then Toulon could really pull away, however if they lose to Exeter and Glasgow beat Cardiff then we could head in to Round 5 with all four still in with a strong chance of qualifying.

Given Cardiff’s injury crisis, that sees Rhys Patchell start at 12, Glasgow seem likely to get their victory, particularly given their excellent form this year. However it would be a major shock if Toulon were to lose at home to the Cheifs.

Heineken Cup Pool Two

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Toulon

3

2

0

1

2

10

2

Cardiff

3

2

0

1

1

9

3

Exeter Chiefs

3

1

0

2

3

7

4

Glasgow Warriors

3

1

0

2

1

5

Pool Three:

Saracens v Zebre – Saturday, 15.00 (Highlights only)

Connacht v Toulouse – Saturday, 18.00 (Red Button)

Connacht’s sensational win away at Toulouse has blown this Pool wide open, and with Toulouse coming to the inhospitable Galway tomorrow there is every chance of anther upset. Toulouse will be favourites but it is not the done deal that it might look like on paper.

What is, surely, a done deal though is that Saracens will collect a bonus point victory over Zebre at home. That ought to see them top the table at the end of the weekend but they will be neck and neck with the winner of Connacht v Toulouse.

Heineken Cup Pool Three

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Toulouse

3

2

0

1

2

10

2

Saracens

3

2

0

1

2

10

3

Connacht

3

2

0

1

1

9

4

Zebre

3

0

0

3

0

0

Pool Four:

Scarlets v Clermont Auvergne – Saturday, 15.40 (Red Button)

Harlequins v Racing Metro 92 – Sunday, 12.45 (Sky Sports 2)

Although this Pool remains tight it is hard to see anyone other than Clermont topping the Pool. After beating the Scarlets last weekend an away win in Llanelli this weekend would take them to the brink of qualification.

What has slowed their route to guaranteed progression though is Harlequins’ magnificent victory away against Racing Metro last week. Having won away Quins will now expect to beat the French side at home on Sunday, leaving Racing still pointless at the foot of the table, a real surprise considering their world class recruitment strategy this summer.

Heineken Cup Pool Four

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Clermont Auvergne

3

2

0

1

2

10

2

Harlequins

3

1

0

2

3

7

3

Scarlets

3

1

1

1

0

6

4

Racing Metro 92

3

1

1

1

0

6

Pool Five:

Treviso v Ulster – Saturday, 13.35 (Red Button)

Montpellier v Leicester – Sunday, 15.00 (Sky Sports 2)

There has to be an assumption that Montpellier will be a far tougher assignment for Leicester this weekend than they were at Welford Road last week but the Tigers are probably still narrow favourites.

For the sake of the Pool remaining competitive Leicester will need to win as it is difficult to imagine that Ulster, so impressive last week, will not win away at Treviso and take their points tally to at least 17.

Heineken Cup Pool Five

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Ulster

3

3

0

0

1

13

2

Leicester Tigers

3

2

0

1

3

11

3

Montpellier

3

1

0

2

1

5

4

Treviso

3

0

0

3

0

0

Pool Six:

Perpignan v Munster – Saturday, 15.40 (Sky Sports 2)

Gloucester v Edinburgh – Sunday, 15.00 (Red Button)

Munster’s impressive victory over Perpignan last weekend ought to fill them with confidence ahead of the return fixture in the South West of France tomorrow. Perpignan seem a shadow of their former selves but they still have the capability to produce magic and will pose a greater threat at home, Munster ought still to have enough to win though.

In the other tie it is hard to see Edinburgh improving their performance enough to beat Gloucester having lost to the West Country side at home last weekend.

Heineken Cup Pool Six

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Munster

3

2

0

1

2

10

2

Gloucester

3

2

0

1

0

8

3

Perpignan

3

1

0

2

2

6

4

Edinburgh

3

1

0

2

0

4

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