Heineken Cup Pool by Pool Preview – Pool 6

The Heineken Cup is here again, and as always, we’re here to give you the lowdown on the runners for the silverware. Today we tackle Pool Six!

Edinburgh

Prospects: Edinburgh didn’t have the best Heineken Cup tournament last time around, losing all but one of their six games in their group. Leinster, who are again drawn in the same Pool, were the only team Edinburgh managed to overcome in last season’s Heineken Cup tournament – a feat the Scottish club will desperately be wanting to repeat this year. The Scotland capital outfit can use their status as underdogs to surprise the giants of European rugby and progress to the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup for only the second time in the history of the competition. Edinburgh have been drawn in the same group as perennial opponents Toulouse – who they managed to beat in the pool stages, but lost out to in the quarter-finals at the Stade Municipal four years ago. Their other strong opponents, Leicester Tigers, are now coached by former Pumas coach Marcelo Loffreda, who masterminded Scotland’s World Cup downfall in the quarter-finals. And then there are familiar foes Leinster, whom Edinburgh know well from their twice-yearly Magners League encounters. The appointment of Andy Robinson as head coach follows a summer of turmoil for Edinburgh. The club was the subject of an often heated dispute between Bob Carruthers’ franchise and the SRU. And, when control of the club was returned to the national body, it led to the departure of coach Lynn Howells, while Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham’s move to the club was also cancelled. Edinburgh will hope that Robinson will be able to match his success at Bath, who he led to the Heineken Cup, and as deputy to Clive Woodward when England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Key player: With Scotland’s points scoring machine Chris Paterson jumping the fence to join Gloucester, the former Edinburgh pivot has left a huge void in the side. It’s for this reason that Edinburgh will need fly-half Phil Godman, who also goes by the nickname “Mad Phil”, to go crazy with the boot and rack up an insane amount of points for his side whenever he gets given the opportunity.

Edinburgh Squad: Augusto Allori, David Blair, Mike Blair, Ben Cairns, David Callam, Sean Crombie, Geoff Cross, Simon Cross, Nick De Luca, Matt Dey, Ross Ford, Ben Gissing, Phil Godman, Ryan Grant, Craig Hamilton, Allister Hogg, John Houston, Allan Jacobsen, Andrew Kelly, Gavin Kerr, Greig Laidlaw, Steve Lawrie, Alan MacDonald, Calum MacRae, Andrew Maxwell, Ben Meyer, Matt Mustchin, Scott Newlands, Fergus Pringle Roland Reid, Ross Rennie, Craig Smith, Hugo Southwell, James Thompson, Andrew Turnbull, Steven Turnbull, Alistair Warnock, Simon Webster

Prediction: Edinburgh’s best achievements in the Heineken Cup to date came in the 2003/2004 season, when they became the first Scottish side to reach the quarter-finals. Unfortunatelly, in such illustrious company, Edinburgh will find the going far from easy. They may need to wait a another season and a better draw to get anywhere near what they achieved four years ago.

Leicester Tigers

Prospects: Leicester made up for their opening 19-21 home loss to Munster last season by moving forward and undefeated for the remainder of the tournament to the final at Twickenham. Having won the EDF Energy Cup – their first piece of silverware for five years – as well as the Guinness Premiership, Leicester failed to win an unprecedented treble in the form of the Heineken Cup, by losing to London Wasps. Leicester have been the most successful English club of the professional era, winning the Heineken Cup twice and the domestic league (now the Guinness Premiership) five times – all in the space of seven years. The Welford Road-based side have also made themselves a reputation of producing top, quality players ranging from number one to fifteen for Engla

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