2004/05 Heineken Cup Quarter final draw:Ties to take place April 1/2/3 (all times GMT)
Leinster v Leicester Tigers, Saturday April 2nd, 5.15pm (live RTE, Sky Sports)Toulouse v Northampton Saints, Friday April 1st, 7.30pmStade Francais v Newcastle Falcons, Saturday April 2nd, 3.00pmBiarritz Olympique v Munster, Sunday April 3rd, 3.00pm (live RTE/ Sky Sports)
Declan Kidney's Leinster side will face current Zurich Premiership leaders and two-time European champions (2001, 2002), the Leicester Tigers at Lansdowne Road on the weekend of April 1/2/3.
It seems scant reward for maintaining a 100% record throughout their Pool 2 campaign, but an on-form Leinster - who thumped Treviso 57-17 on Saturday - will not be overawed, especially at headquarters, where they have scored 179 points and 25 tries this season.
The sides also met in the 2002 quarter final, with Leinster - despite a good start and ten of Saturday's starters in their line-up - going down 29-18 at Welford Road.
Munster's 18-10 defeat of NEC Harlequins in front of a pool record crowd of 33,883 at Twickenham, sets them up for a daunting trip to Biarritz, as Pool 4 winners.
Of course, Munster edged the French outfit 38-29 in the last eight in 2001 with current skipper Anthony Foley scoring all three tries, but that was in Limerick, and the Parc des Sports Aguilera is sure to prove a different kettle of fish come spring.
There have also be rumours that the tie may be switched over the border to Spanish Primera Liga side Real Sociedad's Estadio Anoeta, due to Biarritz's home patch only holding 12,667.
Patrice Lagisuet's Basque side have defeated Leicester both home-and-away, and 2004 champions Wasps at home, in steering themselves to pole position in Pool One.
Elsewhere, in Pool Six, Ulster ended their 2004/05 run with a poor defeat. Fly-half David Humphreys shipped a facial injury in the second half of their 16-12 loss at the Cardiff Blues on Sunday.
Humphreys though, had an x-ray on his damaged cheekbone - sustained in a collision with Kevin Maggs - and was cleared to take part in Monday's training session with the Ireland squad.
Saturday, January 15:Heineken Cup: Pool 2Leinster 57 Benetton Treviso 17, Lansdowne RoadScorers: Leinster: Tries: Denis Hickie, Shane Byrne, Shane Horgan 3, Gordon D'Arcy, Girvan Dempsey, Shane Jennings 2; Cons: David Holwell 6 Treviso: Tries: Brendan Williams, Marius Goosen; Cons: Marius Goosen 2; Pen: Marius Goosen
Leinster may have used one of their nine lives in leaving it late against Bath last weekend, but they were rarely troubled in this nine-try rout of a tame Treviso.
The Italians offered little of their famed physical brute up-front as Leinster's pack reaffirmed themselves with an assured display.
23-year-old flanker Shane Jennings - the only uncapped Irishman to start - deservedly took the man-of-the-match honours with a towering two-try display.
"That was great fun," beamed the St Mary's youngster at the finish. "It was nice to get a couple of tries myself. We were disappointed after last week. The pack were out to set things straight and I think we did that."
Ireland wing Shane Horgan elbowed in for a hat-trick of tries, and Denis Hickie, Shane Byrne, Gordon D'Arcy, Girvan Dempsey and Jennings (2) shared out the scraps in front of a 12,750 crowd.
Horgan's haul took his tally for the campaign up to seven while Kiwi fly-half David Holwell's six conversions moved his points record up to 96.
Brendan Williams and Marius Goosen touched down in the final quarter for Craig Green's game outfit, but Leinster had already racked up their bonus point fourth try by the 35th-minute.
"It was a very good performance - some of the passages of play were top class, but some weren't. And we still have plenty to work on," commented Leinster's Kidney, on reflection.
"Today we started to show a bit more confidence. We're improving from week to week and that's all you can do. Today was one of those games when it all came right. "At times though we lacked a bit of control - we could have conceded another try or two, but we're through and the fact that we've got a home quarter-final means a lot to us," added the former Munster maestro.
(15) Girvan Dempsey(14) Shane Horgan(13) Brian O'Driscoll(12) Gordon D'Arcy(11) Denis Hickie(10) David Holwell(9) Guy Easterby(1) Reggie Corrigan (Capt)(2) Shane Byrne(3) Emmett Byrne(4) Leo Cullen(5) Malcolm O'Kelly(6) Eric Miller(7) Shane Jennings(8) Victor Costello
Replacements used: Rickey Nebbett for E Byrne (53 mins), Brian O'Meara for Easterby (66), Aidan McCullen and Felipe Contepomi for Costello and O'Driscoll (both 72), Ciaran Potts and David Blaney for Jennings and S Byrne (both 76), Kieran Lewis for D'Arcy (78).
HT: Leinster 26 Treviso 3; Attendance: 12,750Referee: Eric Darriere (France)
Pool 4:NEC Harlequins 10 Munster 18, TwickenhamScorers: Harlequins: Try: Ugo Monye; Con: Andy Dunne; Pen: DunneMunster: Tries: Anthony Horgan, Denis Leamy; Con: Paul Burke; Pens: Burke 2
Alan Gaffney's Munster clawed through to the province's seventh successive Heineken Cup quarter final as first half tries from Anthony Horgan and Denis Leamy gave them a good enough cushion to see off Harlequins.
23-year-old Leamy - one of seven back rows named in Eddie O'Sullivan's 6 Nations Ireland squad last week - turned from villain to hero in the space of 12 minutes.
Winger Horgan's early shuttle over on the left wing, set up by Alan Quinlan's flip pass on a wide Munster drive, cancelled out ex-Leinster back Andy Dunne's first penalty success after 2 minutes.
The Dubliner missed two crucial kicks on 10 and 12 minutes, and with that, Munster looked like taking a stranglehold. Leamy's loose pass on the 'Quins' 22 however, was snapped up by Ugo Monye on the half-hour and the England Sevens speedster raced 75 metres to go under the visitors' posts.
Dunne converted for 10-7, but Gaffney's charges squeezed a second try out of the 2004 Challenge Cup champions, as Leamy drove past winger Monye, with 'Quins hooker Ace Tiatia in the sin-bin for offending at a ruck.
'Quins old boy Paul Burke robbed his former employers of a bonus point after the break as two penalty kicks on 50 and 66 minutes saw Munster to their fifth victory.
"We will definitely struggle if we play like that in the quarter-finals," admitted the number 8, fresh from his 66th European appearance.
"We have got a stage where we definitely want to win this competition, but our performances in the last two weeks have made it harder for us to do that. We have to pick up our performance.
"We've got to get our heads together and find out what's going wrong. It's a matter of building on what we have achieved and becoming more positive," he added.
(15) Christian Cullen(14) Shaun Payne(13) Mike Mullins(12) Rob Henderson(11) Anthony Horgan(10) Paul Burke(9) Peter Stringer(1) Marcus Horan(2) Frankie Sheahan(3) John Hayes(4) Donncha O'Callaghan(5) Paul O'Connell(6) Alan Quinlan(7) Denis Leamy(8) Anthony Foley (Capt)
Replacements used: Jim Williams for Foley (70 mins). Not used: Jerry Flannery, Gordon McIlwham, Trevor Hogan, Mike Prendergast, Jason Holland, Mossy Lawlor.
Yellow card: Ace Tiatia (Harlequins)HT: Harlequins 10 Munster 12; Attendance: 33,883 (ERC Pool record)Referee: Joel Jutge (France)
Sunday, January 16:Pool 6:Cardiff Blues 16 Ulster 12, Arms ParkScorers: Cardiff: Try: Jonny Vaughton, Rhys Thomas; Pens: Nick Macleod 2Ulster: Pens: David Humphreys 2, Adam Larkin 2
Second half tries from Jonny Vaughton and Rhys Thomas ended Ulster's two-game winning streak, at the Arms Park, as Mark McCall's side relied on the boot of out-half duo David Humphreys and Adam Larkin.
33-year-old Humphreys - Ulster's leading scorer before kick-off with 62 points - went off injured seven minutes into the second half, and together with sin bins for pack heavyweights Simon Best and Rowan Frost, Ulster's effort waned.
Blues number 10 Nick Macleod kicked the home side into a fourth minute lead with an early penalty, and the Welsh side - gunning for their first pool win - led 6-3 at half-time, as the 21-year-old traded blows with Humphreys, whose sole kick arrowed over after 8 minutes.
Winger Vaughton crept over for Cardiff's first try just after the restart, and with Humphreys departed following a knock sustained in defending the try, Ulster's fate looked set.
Replacement Larkin cut the deficit back to two with his first of two kicks. Then disaster struck again for McCall's men as second row Frost was flashed a yellow card by French referee Christophe Berdos.
While American Kort Schubert was forced to bundle Kevin Maggs into touch, Craig Morgan's 72nd-minute break set up replacement prop Thomas for the deciding second try - condemning Ulster to their first loss against David Young's outfit in three meetings.
Ulster coach McCall - who must raise his troops again for Friday's Celtic League trip to the Ospreys, said: ""All week we've been speaking about the need to maintain momentum following our win over Gloucester. But we haven't managed to do so and we made a lot of fundamental mistakes."
The loss of chief points scorer Humphreys was not used as an excuse.
"It was a blow, but that wasn't the reason we lost," said the former Ireland centre.
"We just didn't play well enough."
(15) Paddy Wallace(14) Tommy Bowe(13) Paul Steinmetz(12) Kevin Maggs(11) Andrew Maxwell(10) David Humphreys(9) Kieran Campbell(1) Ronan McCormack(2) Paul Shields(3) Simon Best(4) Rowan Frost(5) Matt McCullough(6) Neil Best(7) Andy Ward (Capt)(8) Roger Wilson
Replacements used: Rod Moore for S Best (9-18 mins), Adam Larkin for Humphreys (47 mins), Campbell Feather for Ward (54), Rory Best for Shields (57), Bryn Cunningham for Wallace (64), Matt Mustchin for Forst (73), Reece Spee for Campbell (78).
Yellow cards: Simon Best (Ulster), John Yapp (Blues) (both 8 mins), Rowan Frost (Ulster)HT: Cardiff 6 Ulster 3; Attendance: 3,962Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)