Toulouse handed tough Path to Heineken final

Heineken Cup favourites Toulouse may have to overcome local rivals Perpignan if they are to reach this year’s final after being lined up for an away fixture at the semi-final stage.

The French giants, three-times winner of European rugby’s biggest prize, face Cardiff in their quarter-final clash on home soil on April 6 and the winner of that match will travel to either London Irish or Perpignan with a place in the final at stake.

The other semi-final will see either England’s Saracens or Welsh side Ospreys entertain the winner of the clash between Gloucester and Ireland’s only surviving representative, Munster.

That could mean a reunion for Alan Gaffney, the Saracens director of rugby who led Munster to two semi-finals and one quarter-final during his 2002-05 stint in charge.

Gaffney said: “We set our stall out early this year, to be competitive with the elite of Europe.

“We are realistic enough to know there are know there are no easy Pools and qualifying for the quarter-finals was a huge plus for the club.

“We are starting to achieve things this year and although the winner of our quarter-final will be home in the semi-finals we are not looking beyond our game against the Ospreys.”

Semi-final draw (Matches to be played April 26-27)

London Irish (ENG) or Perpignan (FRA)
Toulouse (FRA) or Cardiff (WAL)



Saracens (ENG) or Ospreys (WAL)
Gloucester (ENG) or Munster (IRL)



European Cup quarter-final fixtures:

Saturday April 5

London Irish (ENG) v Perpignan (FRA) — 1500 GMT

Gloucester (ENG) v Munster (IRL) — 1730 GMT

Sunday April 6

Saracens (ENG) v Ospreys (WAL) — 1230 GMT

Toulouse (FRA) v Cardiff (WAL) — 1500 GMT

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