The Heineken Cup has reached fever pitch this weekend with Biarritz already shocking Llanelli, and Saturday and Sunday boasting more scintillating action in Europe’s premier tournament.
TOULOUSE v EDINBURGH
Saturday 10th April 2004, 4:00 pm.
Stadium Municipal, Toulouse.
FR2 / Sky
This is the third meeting of the side’s this season. Pitted against each
other in the Pool Stages, it’s one win apiece, but the momentum is with
the current Heineken Cup holders Toulouse. A 23-16 Round 1 defeat at Meadowbank
was avenged in Round 6 Minus the on-park leadership of Todd Blackadder, the
Gunners have found life tough. The round six loss in Toulouse saw them slip
from top seeds to eighth, and face the tricky tie they have now.
Toulouse may be without Jean-Baptiste Ellissalde for the match, but that won’t
bother wily old coach Guy Noves too much. The twice-European champions have
a strong squad, and even stronger team spirit.
MUNSTER v STADE FRANCAIS
Saturday 10th April 2004, 5:00 pm.
Thomond Park, Limerick.
RTE / Sky / Sport +
These European heavyweights have met three times before in the Heineken Cup.
And all at crucial stages. Munster lead the battle 2-1, with quarter-final wins
in 99/00 (27-10), and 01/02 (16-14), with Stade’s win coming in 00/01 at the
semi-final stage (16-15). Thomond Park has not proved the fortress of old this
season, with the Munstemen suffering defeats in the Celtic League, but they
did win all their home Pool matches.
Stade Francais qualified from the Pool of Death’ – Pool 1,
knocking out former winners Ulster and Leicester Tigers along the way.
Full Details at: www.munsterrugby.ie
WASPS v GLOUCESTER
Sunday 11th April 2004, 3:00 pm.
Causeway Stadium, High Wycombe.
The all-English tie. These sides know each other very well with their regular
tussles in the Zurich Premiership. Their last meeting saw Wasps winning 20-12,
at the Causeway Stadium – the venue for this quarter-final match.
Both sides have explosive backlines filled with international stars. For Wasps,
Josh Lewsey is a key player, his match up against Marcel Garvey is one of the
head-to-head battles of the round.
The home side are the current champions of England and the Parker Pen Challenge
Cup holders, progression to become European champions was their pre-season stated
aim, but Gloucester – Pool 5 qualifiers with a 5-1 Pool Stage record, stand
in their way. This match is certain to be a real cracker.