We’ve had the Champions League quarter-finals but now it’s time to swap balls for the oval shaped variety as the Heineken Cup take centre stage.
Leicester and Saracens represent England at the quarter-final stage and both face tough trips to France and Ireland respectively to face Clermont Auvergne and Ulster.
In the other two matches at the last eight stage it’s Ireland v France with Munster meeting Toulouse and Leinster travelling to Touloun to face last year’s winners.
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Munster put in a poor performance at the weekend against Leinster but with men like Paul O’Connell in the dressing room we are backing the Red Army to bounce back against Toulouse.
The French giants have already proved they are a force to be reckoned with in this competition with victories over Saracens home and away, but facing Munster at Thomond Park is one of the toughest assignments in European Rugby.
Backed by a fired-up crowd, the two-time champions can make it another night to remember in Munster by booking their place in the last four with victory.
Leicester face arguably the toughest task in the last eight travelling to tournament favourites Clermont Auvergne.
Not only are the French side arguably the best team left in the tournament they also boast a formidable record at home winning 74 consecutive matches at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
Leicester will need to make history if they are to reach the semi-finals but it’s something we can’t see happening and with only three of Clermont’s 14 wins at home this season coming by a single figure margin, backing the French side with a -11 handicap is the best bet.
These two sides clashed at the quarter-final stage last year and Saracens, who had home advantage, came out on top.
This time around it is Ulster, who are featuring in a home quarter-final for the first time, who are playing in front of a packed home crowd at Ravenhill and that will be a huge advantage.
But Saracens, who are seven points clear at the top of the Aviva Premiership, have an excellent away record this season only losing four on the road from 15 matches and they can continue flying the flag with victory in Belfast.
Leinster are flying in the Pro 12 at the moment and come into this clash with the reigning champions on the back of a victory over rivals Munster.
But Toulon are in good form themselves – they are second in the Top 14 -and Johnny Wilkinson’s side will not give up their title without a fight.
And with Brian O’Driscoll and Cian Healy both fitness doubts, the French side can level up the score between Ireland and France at 1-1 with the win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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