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Heineken Cup – Huge results set up another classic Heineken Pool Finale

After two weekends of Heineken Cup action in a row the tournament is beginning to really take shape as the battle for the quarter final spots intensifies.

Of course the Heineken Cup has a history of going right down to the wire during the pool stages, often coming down to the final minutes of play in the final round, however at this stage you can usually identify where the excitement will come from, and this year looks to be no different, with Pools Three and Five looking particularly tense.

We examine each Pool below, giving details of this weekend’s results, what fixtures are to come, how the table is shaping up, and a few thoughts on each Pool.

Pool One:

Weekend Results:

Ospreys 21-12 Castres

Leinster 9-18 Northampton Saints

Remaining Fixtures (w/e 11th January & w/e 18th January):

Castres v Leinster

Ospreys v Northampton Saints

Leinster v Ospreys

Northampton Saints v Castres

Heineken Cup Pool One

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Leinster

4

3

0

1

1

13

2

Northampton Saints

4

2

0

2

1

9

3

Castres

4

2

0

2

0

8

4

Ospreys

4

1

0

3

1

5

Saints’ win against Leinster has kept this Pool alive. Had that result been reversed then the Irishmen would have been practically home and hosed, however Saints’ victory means that there is still plenty of room for doubt. Leinster are still the hot favourites though, although they would probably like a bonus point victory against Castres just to take them that little bit further away by the time of the final round.

Pool Two:

Weekend Results:

Glasgow 7-9 Cardiff Blues

Toulon 32-20 Exeter Chiefs

Remaining Fixtures (w/e 11th January & w/e 18th January):

Exeter Chiefs v Glasgow

Toulon v Cardiff Blues

Cardiff Blues v Exeter Chiefs

Glasgow v Toulon

Heineken Cup Pool Two

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Toulon

4

3

0

1

3

15

2

Cardiff Blues

4

3

0

1

1

13

3

Exeter Chiefs

4

1

0

3

3

7

4

Glasgow Warriors

4

1

0

3

2

6

Somehow Cardiff have managed to keep this Pool alive with their two victories over Glasgow. It still seems unlikely that they will beat Toulon to the top of the Pool, particularly given that Toulon away is their next game, however given their current points total they could sneak through as a second placed team. Their final game is at home to Exeter Chiefs too, so they will feel that they can win that. Add to that a bonus point from either game and they could make it.

Pool Three:

Weekend Results:

Saracens 64-3 Zebre

Connacht 9-37 Toulouse

Remaining Fixtures (w/e 11th January & w/e 18th January):

Connacht v Zebre

Toulouse v Saracens

Saracens v Connacht

Zebre v Toulouse

Heineken Cup Pool Three

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Toulouse

4

3

0

1

3

15

2

Saracens

4

3

0

1

3

15

3

Connacht

4

2

0

2

1

9

4

Zebre

4

0

0

4

0

0

This Pool is a fascinating one now, Connacht’s victory over Toulouse two weeks ago has left Toulouse and Saracens tied at the top on fifteen points, making the Toulouse v Saracens game in the next round absolutely fascinating. Essentially, the winner of that will top the Pool as it seems likely that both will win the following week against Zebre and Connacht respectively. This is the Pool to watch!

Pool Four:

Weekend Results:

Scarlets 13-31 Clermont Auvergne

Harlequins 17-3 Racing Metro 92

Remaining Fixtures (w/e 11th January & w/e 18th January):

Harlequins v Clermont Auvergne

Racing Metro 92 v Scarlets

Clermont Auvergne v Racing Metro 92

Scarlets v Harlequins

Heineken Cup Pool Four

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Clermont Auvergne

4

3

0

1

3

15

2

Harlequins

4

2

0

2

3

11

3

Scarlets

4

1

1

2

0

6

4

Racing Metro 92

4

1

1

2

0

6

Harlequins’ two brilliant victories over Racing Metro have kept this Pool alive but there is still a lot for them to do in order to stop Clermont’s march to the quarter finals. Quins simply have to beat Clermont in the next round to keep any realistic hope of progress. The saving grace? It is at the Stoop, so at least that Clermont home record will not be an issue. The momentum is in Quins’ favour though after those two wins and this Pool could get very interesting indeed.

Pool Five:

Weekend Results:

Treviso 3-35 Ulster

Montpellier 14-15 Leicester Tigers

Remaining Fixtures (w/e 11th January & w/e 18th January):

Treviso v Leicester Tigers

Ulster v Montpellier

Leicester v Ulster

Montpellier v Treviso

Heineken Cup Pool Five

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Ulster

4

4

0

0

2

18

2

Leicester Tigers

4

3

0

1

3

15

3

Montpellier

4

1

0

3

2

6

4

Treviso

4

0

0

4

0

0

Ulster sit unbeaten at the top of this Pool and look comfortable, however Leicester are poised to strike just below them and will feel that the fixtures at the end of this Pool may just be in their favour. First Ulster host Montpellier while Leicester travel to Treviso. Leicester will be looking for a full five point haul in that one, while there is every chance of Ulster dropping points, which could leave a very, very interesting encounter between the two at Welford Road in the final round. Either way that looks certain to be the tie of the Round, across all the Pools, as it will surely be a Pool decider. Unless Leicester somehow contrive to lose against Treviso.

Pool Six:

Weekend Results:

Perpignan 17-18 Munster

Gloucester 10-16 Edinburgh

Remaining Fixtures (w/e 11th January & w/e 18th January):

Edinburgh v Perpignan

Gloucester v Munster

Munster v Edinburgh

Perpignan v Gloucester

Heineken Cup Pool Six

Pos

Team

Played

W

D

L

Bonus

Points

1

Munster

4

3

0

1

2

14

2

Gloucester

4

2

0

2

1

9

3

Edinburgh

4

2

0

2

0

8

4

Perpignan

4

1

0

3

3

7

That late Muster win over Perpignan allied to Edinburgh’s surprising win over Gloucester leaves the Irish province in control of this Pool. A win over Gloucester in the next round will practically guarantee them the Pool, but never say never in this competition. A five point lead is a long, long way from a done deal.

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