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Rugby, Australian Football: The Heineken Cup - Whats next for Englands finest?

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TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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The Heineken Cup pool stage will reach a thrilling conclusion this weekend, with 13 teams chasing seven quarter-final places. Irish challengers Leinster are the only team guaranteed a last-eight place at present, courtesy of winning Pool Two a week inside the distance.

Biarritz, Wasps, Leicester, Treviso, Toulouse, Northampton, Munster, Castres, Newcastle, Newport Gwent Dragons, Perpignan, Stade Francais and Gloucester are all still in the hunt from an original 24-strong entry.

Sportinglife

Here, the Press Association analyses the possible outcome of an exciting final weekend that promises to grip rugby fans across Europe.




[Edited on 13/1/05 by TRD]



TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:46 AM
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POOL ONE (Biarritz, Wasps, Leicester, Calvisano)

Any one of three teams can still top the group, with only Calvisano eliminated, and there is a chance that Biarritz, Wasps and Leicester could all finish on 19 points.

Leicester should collect a maximum five points from their trip to Calvisano on Saturday, but reigning European champions Wasps will top the group if they beat Biarritz and gain a bonus point. Current leaders Biarritz are favourites though, needing just a draw to guarantee top spot.

Should three teams finish on 19 points, only their records against each other count. If match points are tied, it then comes down to try-count, which favours Leicester.

Predicted finish - 1, Biarritz; 2, Leicester; 3, Wasps; 4, Calvisano.


TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:47 AM
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POOL TWO (Leinster, Treviso, Bath, Bourgoin)

This group is done and dusted, with Leinster having already won it. A victory against Italian champions Treviso in Dublin on Saturday would also make them top seeds for the quarter-finals.

Treviso can still clinch one of two best runners-up spots, but it's an outside chance, even if they beat Leinster and claim a bonus point. Bath and Bourgoin are not in the quarter-final picture.

Predicted finish - 1, Leinster; 2, Treviso; 3, Bath; 4, Bourgoin.


TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:47 AM
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POOL THREE (Toulouse, Northampton, Llanelli Scarlets, Glasgow)

Toulouse, European champions in 1996 and 2003, will win the group if they beat visitors Llanelli Scarlets on Friday night. Northampton though, despite displaying wretched Zurich Premiership form this season, should also progress.

The Saints need victory against Glasgow at Franklin's Gardens, also on Friday night, to put themselves in quarter-final contention. If they win with a bonus point, then a last-eight place is certain. For Llanelli and Glasgow, the game is up.

Predicted finish - 1, Toulouse; 2, Northampton; 3, Llanelli Scarlets; 4, Glasgow.


TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:48 AM
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POOL FOUR (Munster, Castres, Neath-Swansea Ospreys, Harlequins)

Munster, twice Heineken Cup finalists, are in the driving seat and will progress if they beat hapless Harlequins at Twickenham on Saturday.

French side Castres can also make it, either as group winners or a best runner-up, but they need victory away against the talented Neath-Swansea Ospreys. The Ospreys and Harlequins have already been knocked out.

Predicted finish - 1, Munster; 2, Castres; 3, Neath-Swansea Ospreys; 4, Harlequins.


TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:49 AM
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POOL FIVE (Newcastle, Newport Gwent Dragons, Perpignan, Edinburgh)

Newcastle will win the group if they beat Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park on Sunday.

A Dragons triumph though, would put them in quarter-final contention, while Perpignan would top the group with an away win over Edinburgh if Dragons defeat Newcastle and don't collect a bonus.

The Falcons will find it tough, given their injury problems highlighted by Jonny Wilkinson's absence, but they should have just enough in the tank.

Predicted finish - 1, Newcastle; 2, Perpignan; 3, Newport Gwent Dragons; 4, Edinburgh.


TRD

posted on Jan, 13 2005 @ 10:49 AM
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POOL SIX (Stade Francais, Gloucester, Ulster, Cardiff Blues)

French champions Stade Francais need only a point from their trip to Gloucester on Sunday, and they will win the group.

Gloucester, following a defeat against Ulster in Belfast last Friday, have got it all to do. To top the group, they must beat Stade and collect a bonus point, while also denying their opponents a losing bonus point and scoring three tries more than them.

Ulster, meanwhile, can move to 17 points by beating Cardiff with a bonus, but that will not be enough for a best runners-up spot.

Predicted finish - 1, Stade Francais; 2, Ulster; 3, Gloucester; 4, Cardiff Blues.

Predicted quarter-finalists - Biarritz, Leinster, Toulouse, Munster, Newcastle, Stade Francais, Northampton, Perpignan.

Sportinglife



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