Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hide the batteries for the remote - it's Heineken Cup time!

Heineken Cup Preview

Pool 1 Castres Munster  Saints Scarlets

Northampton are the 400 pound gorilla in Munster’s group, Castres  sre the other big team,  they may be3rd in the T14 but their HC form has been merde forever. Players like Fodden and Ashton lift the Saints above fairly predictable premiership fare. I want to see the next generation of Munsterites like Murray, Jones and Barnes shine, and they’ll need to get Munster out of this group. They’ll just about pip the Saints at home this week. Saints to top the group and Munster to come out second. The Scarlets will keep them all honest.

Pool 2 Blues Edinburgh London Irish Racing Metro

In this pool I think Irish can do the business, The Blues don’t often perform at this level, Metro are to nouveau riche, and Edinburgh don’t have the consistency so Irish it is.

Pool 3 Bath Leinster Glasgow Montpellier

 Leinster are The Champs©! But without O CAPTAIN! my Captain! BOD it’s going to long and winding road for Leinster. He’ll be back but…    I think Nathan Hines is a big loss as well. But it’s not all doom and gloom, Leinster should make it out of this group fairly easily, Bath are a mid table outfit and Montpelier are 3rd from bottom in the T14, while Glasgow don’t have the resources. And if Leinster make it out of the pool as they should do, pick up a few players and a bit of form, anything could happen. I’m going for an away win for them this weekend agsinsdt Montpellier.

Pool 4 Aironi Clermont Tigers Ulster

Ulster are still the Man City of the Irish provinces, with big name signings two a penny. Not having Pienaar is going to hurt them, and some of that imported beef has been aged well past its prime. This is a challenging group, where I’m picking Clermont to win and Ulster to come out second. Tigers – I think they’ve turned a corner, but not in a good way, and need to rebuild a bit.

Pool 5 Treviso Biarritz Ospreys Saracens

This is another tough as old boots pool. The Ospreys have to be hurt by the loss of their big names, so it’s down to Saracens or Biarritz, and you have to back Biarritz with their experience.

Pool  6 Connacht Harlequins Gloucester Toulouse

Connacht make their debut in the HCup, and face Quins in the first match of the tournament. It’s going to be a learning experience for the Galwegians, they look well enough drilled to pull off a few surprises, and they have the advantage that they are going to be way underestimated. Toulouse are going through IMO, and Gloucester might make it tough for them, or compete for a runners up spot.

I picked 5 out of 8 last year but not Leinster making it out of their pool (cough)

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