Just four places left in Heineken Cup quarters

Northampton Saints, Toulouse, Leinster and Heineken Cup debutants Toulon are safely through to the quarter-finals with a match to spare.

But the other four places are there to be claimed – along with the three runners-up spots qualifying teams for the Amlin Challenge Cup knock-out stages.

The two matches in each Pool will have simultaneous kick-offs and with priceless home advantage up for grabs there is everything to play for on the final weekend of Pool action of the 16thtournament.

And Dai Young, the Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, believes Northampton Saints, the 2000 champions, can win their Pool 1 contest at Castres Olympique in Round 6 and become the first English club since Bath in 2001 / 2002 to make it six out of six.

“I fancy Northampton,” said Young, who guided the Blues to the Amlin Challenge Cup crown last season. “It’s never going to be easy out there but if you look at how Castres beat us in France it was through a lot of pressure early in the match, through field position and then a big scrum and a driving line-out.

“But I think Northampton can match them in those areas. If you look at how Northampton won the game at home once again there were scrum penalties. I think it will be a territory-based game and the two No 10s will play a big factor. They’ll both be looking for field position.

“I fancy Northampton to just do enough to win that game and get a home quarter-final.”

Defending champions Toulouse are also five from five so far and travel to Adams Park on Sunday looking to make it a club record 12 successive tournament wins but wary of a London Wasps side stung by a Round 5 defeat at Glasgow Warriors that ended their hopes of topping Pool 6.

However, no team has ever gone on to win the trophy – or even qualify for the final – after making it a clean sweep in the Pool stages.

Since the tournament went to home and away Pool matches in 1997 / 1998 the following teams have done a clean sweep:

1997 / 1998 – London Wasps – lost in quarter-finals
2001 / 2002 – Bath Rugby – lost in quarter-finals
2002 / 2003 – Leinster – lost in semi-finals
2004 / 2005 – Leinster – lost in quarter-finals
2006/ 2007 – Scarlets – lost in semi-finals
2006 / 2007 – Biarritz Olympique – lost in quarter-finals
2008/ 2009 – Cardiff Blues – lost in semi-finals

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.