A few of the teams have now separated themselves in their respective pools and look almost certain to be in the quarterfinals, but other teams are still engaged in a dog-fight in their pools. Additionally, the battle for the two second-place spots in the quarterfinals has teams conscientious of every result. Put it all together and you get an exciting Heineken Cup round 4.
Pool 1: Saracens (2-0-10) 10 points; Munster (2-0-1) 10 points; Racing Metro (2-0-1) 8 points; Edinburgh (0-0-3) 0 points
Saracens vs. Munster: After fighting it out (literally) on the pitch last week in an intense affair, these two teams will go right back at it. Both sit atop the group with ten points and a win would go a long way to gaining the top spot in the pool. Last week didn’t see any tries score in a 15-9 Munster win, but that is hardly surprising given the defense prowess of both sides.
Edinburgh vs. Racing Metro: The good news for Edinburgh last week despite their 19-9 loss to Racing Metro was that they at least scored some points. But beyond that, there isn’t much to revel in during their dismal campaign. Racing Metro aren’t exactly pleased with their performances either and will want to pick up more points against Edinburgh this week. If they can, and the Saracens-Munster match ends with few points between both teams, then it could be a good week for the Parisians.
Pool 2: Toulouse (3-0-0) 13 points; Leicester (2-0-1) 10 points; Ospreys (1-0-2) 5 points; Benetton Treviso (0-0-3) 0 points
Ospreys vs. Toulouse: The French-side was completely dominant last week and came out deserved 30-14 winners at home. That win was good enough to put them three points clear at the top of the standings, and another five point performance this week will put them in prime position heading into the last two rounds. A loss this week by the Ospreys would put the nail in the coffin of their European hopes. Their rash of injuries certainly won’t help either.
Benetton Treviso vs. Leicester: The Italians played tough last week but Leicester were simply too much and won 33-25 at home. Leicester are in a dog-fight with Toulouse for the top spot in the pool and a big win against Treviso would set up a huge clash in the final round. With no points Treviso is playing for pride now. They will also be at home and will want to put on a good show for the home crowd.
Pool 3: Harlequins (3-0-0) 14 points; Connacht (2-0-1) 8 points; Biarritz (1-0-2) 5 points; Zebre (0-0-3) 0 points
Zebre vs. Harlequins: The Quins are riding high right now but who wouldn’t be facing a home and away series with Zebre. Last week the Harlequins stomped Zebre 57-14, and that was in Italy. This week at The Stoop it could be an even bigger margin of victory. Another five points would give the Harlequins some breathing room, especially if Biarritz and Connacht play an even match.
Biarritz vs. Connacht: Last week’s 22-14 defeat to Connacht last week was the end of the line for the Biarritz coaching staff as they were let go after the match. Biarritz have now promoted their youth coaches to the first team and will be looking for a big result at home to turn things around. For their part, Connacht are really coming into their own as a side and a win against Biarritz would not only help them keep pace with the Harlequins, but also a possible second-place spot.
Pool 4: Ulster (3-0-0) 14 points; Castres (2-0-1) 8 points; Northampton (1-0-2) 6 points; Glasgow (0-0-3) 1 point
Ulster vs. Northampton: After their strong 25-6 victory in Northampton last week, Ulster are now riding a thirteen match unbeaten streak and look poised to add to that total at home this week. They are solid top to bottom and demoralized a good Northampton team last week. The full points for Ulster would give them at least a six point difference between themselves and Castres heading into the final two rounds. That means if they beat Glasgow in round 5, it could seal the pool.
Castres vs. Glasgow: Like their fellow Scots, Glasgow are struggling. At the same time, Castres didn’t look too convincing either in their 9-6 win last week. Both teams will be looking to pick up more points this week in the return leg in France. Castres in particular need the points in order to stay within distance of Ulster or a second-place finish.
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