The draw has been made for the quarter finals and Munster have been drawn against Llanelli Scarlets. As one of the two teams that won all 6 pool games, Llanelli are going to be a tough team to beat. But once again, we’ll just have to do it the hard way.
The quarters take place at the end of March, and the 6 Nations finishes in mid-March, so that gives us two clear weeks to re-group and get our game together.
On paper, Leinster have the easier of the two Irish teams, although playing away to London Wasps will be no push-over. I would fancy Leinster to come through that game and reach the semi-finals, but I feel that’s as far as they will progress this year.
Biarritz have Northampton at home, and this should be an easy enough game for them, considering that they beat Northampton twice in the pool stages.
That leaves Leicester against Stade Francais, and this will probably be the game to watch. One of these two teams will probably go all the way to the final. Although Stade Francais can play hot or cold, they certainly are a team well used to the big occasion, and can certainly bring the game to Leicester. Head rules heart in this one and I think Leicester will come through. But only just.
So my personal prediction for the semis is Munster, Leinster, Biarritz and Leicester. Out of those, the only team I wouldn’t like to meet is Leicester. Not because I think they’ll beat us again, but I’d prefer to beat them in the final. Let them get close enough to the Heineken Cup to taste it, and take it away at the last moment. Let them see how it felt for us in 2002. And no, I’m not bitter at all.