Thursday, December 13, 2012

Make more excuses, it's back to back Heineken Cup action!

Andrew Goodman (picture

These back to back matches in the HC are great, it’s a chance for instant revenge, and even if your team can’t do anything  in the competition anymore, it’s always great to give them bruise to remember you by.

After predicting 4 from 4 for Ireland last week, although not on the level of the Mayan end of the world prophecy – I’m still feeling the pressure this week…

There’s lots of big matches but none so season defining as the one between Leinster and Clermont. When you’ve won two HC’s on the trot, not getting on out of the pools will be seen as a failure for Leinster. And really, they have to beat Cermont, with a bonus point, and concede no bonus points, to keep control of their own destiny. Otherwise you’d be relying on Exeter or Scarlets to beat Clermont for you, and good luck with that. Have Leinster got enough in the tank to do that? Without O’Driscoll and Kearney, it’s going to be very hard. Andrew Goodman had a good game in centre, but O’Driscoll has magic of his own, alongside an amazing understanding with the players around him. And at the back, Madigan is doing a good job, but his best position is centre. Is it right we can’t move Nacewa to fullback because he was signed at wing? Nacewa at full back would be a big help. An we’re still a bit short at lock. Clermont meanwhile, don’t know who to leave out. I’m going with a Leinster win, but with no bonus point for either team.

Ulster Northampton should be closer than the match last weekend, but Ulster for the win all the way.
Biarritz’s coaches were sacked after their loss to Connacht – but even coachless, Biarritz should win at home this weekend.

Finally, Munster travel to Saracens, where Sarries will want to make amends for a pretty blunt performance last week. Owen Farell got the kicking heeby jeebies, and the lots of other big names went AWOL. Munster meanwhile, put them away pretty easily, but had a few nerves of their own in closing out the match. I’m going to be bold and go Munster again.

I’ll try and catch the Ospreys match and see if they can turn it around against Toulouse. Probably not, but should be good.

Heineken Cup
Friday , December 14
Edinburgh vs Racing Metro 92 20:00
Biarritz vs Connacht 20:00
Saturday , December 15
Benetton Treviso vs Leicester 13:35
Ospreys vs Toulouse 13:35
Harlequins vs Zebre 15:00
Ulster vs Northampton 18:00
Leinster vs Clermont Auvergne 15:40
Exeter vs Scarlets 15:40
Montpellier vs Cardiff Blues 18:00
Sunday , December 16
Saracens vs Munster 15:00
Castres vs Glasgow 12:45
Toulon vs Sale 15:00

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