Thursday, October 18, 2012

Heineken Cup - I'm picking wins for Ulster, Leinster and Munster, and a fright for Quins!

Jordi Murphy (picture

Ulster get things going this weekend for the Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup with a trip to Glasgow. Ferris and Williams are back in the training squad, and they still have players like Roger Wilson to make their debuts. Should be easy enough for Ulster.

Connacht welcome Quins to the Sports Ground in Galway, hoping history will repeat itself. If they beat them last season, and beat Leinster this season, they can do it. They must be the only town in Ireland praying for rain this weekend…but I think Quins won’t underestimate them this time.

Leinster travel to Wales to take on the Scarlets. They got absolutely spanked there last time, and have point to prove, as well as needing the win. Scarlets are a good team, they don’t seem to have consistency, but they have X-Factor players that can turn a game on it’s head.  Leinster should have Kearney back for this one, as well as D’Arcy. My two cents worth on the team is that they shouldn’t be playing Madigan at full back – put Isa there, and put Madigan on the wing. I also think we need more mobility in the forwards - Kevin McLaughlin has been playing really well, but I’d look at starting Jordi Murphy to help improve our defense. It’s the forwards who need to stand up for this match, and make the space for the backs to do what they do best. I think Leinster will take this.

Munster  have Edinburgh to over on Saturday. I wasn’t surprised when they lost last weekend, but they won’t want any mistakes this Saturday. Edinburgh are a tidy, competitive outfit, and not to be taken lightly. They are without O’Gara, Earls and Du Preez.  O’Gara is the one everyone is talking about, but I think Keatleys up to the job, it depends on what service Murray and the pack give him.  Earls being out means they may start at Downey and Lualua in the centers, which is where I’ve seen Munster play best this season. Murray is the key though. I’m going with a Munster win.

Lot’s of other great ties this weekend, Exeter Clermont should be good – don’t write off Exeter, and Leicester Ospreys and Cardiff Toulon should be the business.

And if that wasn’t enough rugby, the Wallabies have the All Blacks at home on Saturday as well! I don’t think it’s going to be pretty for the Aussies.

Heineken Cup
Friday , October 19
Castres vs Northampton 20:00
Glasgow vs Ulster 20:00
Saturday , October 20
Saracens vs Racing Metro 92 16:40
Benetton Treviso vs Toulouse 13:35
Biarritz vs Zebre 18:00
Connacht vs Harlequins 18:00
Scarlets vs Leinster 13:35
Exeter vs Clermont Auvergne 18:00
Sunday , October 21
Munster vs Edinburgh 12:45
Leicester vs Ospreys 15:00
Cardiff Blues vs Toulon 12:45
Montpellier vs Sale 15:00
International Match
Saturday , October 20
Australia vs New Zealand 11:00

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