Heineken Cup Preview

As the curtain comes down on this historic competition, only four remain with the opportunity to be crowned the last Heineken Cup champions. As Cardiff awaits, which of the teams from France, Ireland and England will make it to the grand showpiece event at the Millenium Stadium on the 24th May?

Saracens V Clermont

Twickenham is the venue as last season’s runners-up Clermont look to make it to a second successive final, while Premiership leaders Saracens look to go a step further than last year, where they were beaten at Twickenham by eventual winners Toulon. An intriguing contest awaits as Saracens look to avenge recent semi-final defeats and make it to the final, while marginal favourites Clermont look to finally get their hands on a trophy which, despite their undoubted class at this level, has continued to elude them. If Saracens are going to make it they will need a better performance than at Ravenhill where they sneaked past Ulster following a extremely debatable red card issued to Ulster full-back Jared Payne in the first ten minutes of the match. Despite that Saracens showed great fortitude and resilience in the final stages to withstand the Ulster onslaught and with Owen Farrell pulling the strings at fly-half and the power of the Vunipola brothers in the pack, Saracens could well cause an upset. From the Clermont view, complacency may be a danger for a team that has won at this stage before and despite their incredible home form in the competition, away from home they are capable of slipping up. Despite this look across their team and there is genuine world-class talent from the likes of Wesley Fofana, Sitiveni Sivivatu and Morgan Parra who on their day can rip any side apart.

Prediction: Saracens 14 – Clermont 18 

Toulon V Munster

To the South of France as defending champions Toulon look to make it two in a row, but first they must get past formidable opponents with an even greater European pedigree in Munster. Last year’s champions will look to mark Jonny Wilkinson’s final season with another trophy and with internationals such as Matt Giteau, Bakkies Botha and Carl Hayman, many are tipping this side to follow in the footsteps of Leinster in successfully defending their title. However, former champions Munster may have something to say about that as a team led by the inspirational Paul O’ Connell look to return to a venue where they won their last European titles in 2006 and 2008. Following on from an emphatic quarter-final performance against Toulouse, and with the likes of Peter O’ Mahony, Simon Zebo and Casey Laulala at their disposal, anything is possible.

Prediction: Toulon 22– Muster 15


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