English clubs face difficult journey on the road to Heineken Cup glory

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Saracens and Leicester are flying the flag for England in the Heineken Cup but if there is to be a first English winner in seven years both clubs will have to progress the hard way.

Defeat to Ulster at Welford Road means Leicester, a 33/1 shot at lifting the cup, must now travel to France to face tournament favourites Clermont Auvergne.

Richard Cockerill’s side face a huge task against last year’s runners-up, who have won their last 71 games at home and have lost just once in 89 matches at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

And as our news team mentioned before their clash with Ulster, the Tigers have lost both of their previous quarter-finals on their travels.

Saracens have an equally tough task when they travel to Ravenhill to face top seeds Ulster, who are 6/1 to win the tournament.

The ‘Men In Black’ knocked the Ulstermen out of the competition at the same stage last season but with home advantage this time around the Irish side, who have been in excellent form all season, will be confident of revenge.

History is also on Mark Anscombe’s team’s side with their one Heineken Cup victory coming after a home quarter-final.

But Mark McCall’s side, who are top of the Aviva Premiership and 9/1 to win their first Heineken Cup, face a difficult semi-final against the 9/4 favourites Clermont or Leicester, even if they do pass the Ulster test.

Elsewhere, Johnny Wilkinson’s Toulon side take on Brian O’Drscoll and Leinster, while Munster host Toulouse in another Ireland v France clash.

Toulon are 3/1 to retain the title they won last year and having not lost a game at home in the history of the competition, they look a safe bet to reach the semi-finals where they would face either Munster or Toulouse, quoted at 9/1 and 10/1 respectively for glory.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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