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Tigers On Treble Trail

Tigers On Treble Trail

The record-breaking Leicester Tigers will find at least four newcomers out to try and ambush their treble bid when the eighth Heineken Cup tournament kicks-off on the second weekend in October.

Sale Sharks – the Parker Pen Shield champions after beating Pontypridd 25-22 in a thriller at The Kassam Stadium – and English Cup winners London Irish are regular domestic opponents. But new Italian champions Viadana, who beat Amatori & Calvisano 19-12 in the final at Rovigo, and Beziers are also confirmed Heineken Cup first timers. Bristol Shoguns can make it five via the Championship play-offs.
Martin Johnson’s Tigers have already re-written the tournament record books, becoming the first team to successfully defend European club rugby’s most coveted title, let alone win it twice.

They beat Munster, who have now been pipped at the final post in two of the last three tournaments, 15-9 in what was variously lauded and described as a wonderous…stupendous…unbelievable occasion of a final.

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The Times read: The Heineken Cup now has genuine and still-growing stature. It had 74,000 fans on Saturday…for pure noise and passion, it was the match of a Millennium Stadium FA Cup final.

However, while Dean Richards and the Tigers will already be plotting the hunt for that treble, Derek McGrath, Chief Executive of ERC Ltd, the tournament organisers, said the seventh season of the competition had set new standards.

We have taken great satisfaction from the fitting end to what was a great Heineken Cup year with such a tremendous final in Cardiff, he said. I would like to pay tribute to all of our partners who supported us for this year’s tournament and thank all branches of the Media who have taken the Heineken Cup to their hearts.

And the same enthusiasm goes for the armchair viewers. BBC Grandstand had a peak of 2.1m – a 22.3% share of the market – for their flagship programme while FR2, despite no French team involved, pulled in 1.5m and a 20.4% share. For their part RTE had a roaring runaway hit…298,000 viewers claiming a 44.7% market share.

The Heineken Cup 2002/03 Dates.

Round 1:12/13/14 October, 2002.

Round 2:19/20/21 October.

Round 3: 7/08/09 December.

Round 4: 14/15/16 December.

Round 5: 10/11/12 January, 2003.

Round 6: 17/18/19 January.

Quarter-Finals: 11/12/13 April.

Semi-Finals: 26/27 April.

Heineken Cup 2003 Final:24 May, 2003