Heineken Cup round-up: Thomas Waldrom in as Tigers go for broke
Sunday 20 January 2013
A four-times winner of the Heineken Cup and the team who have won it for the past two seasons could both go out of this year's competition after a dramatic final day of pool matches today.
Defeat for Toulouse at Leicester in Pool One would end their campaign, while Leinster, the defending champions, must await the result of the two matches in Pool One to know whether they have done enough to reach the quarter-finals.
Leicester go into their make-or-break match at Welford Road today with Thomas Waldrom in the back row as the only change from their draw with Ospreys in their previous Pool Two match.
"We will come flying out of the blocks, and it is always easier to come out of the blocks when you are at home," said Ben Youngs, Tigers' England scrum-half.
In Pool One Saracens should have few problems beating the bottom club Edinburgh to secure top spot. The outcome of the other match, between Munster and Racing Métro, is less clear-cut, but home advantage gives a boost to the Irish side. Victory would not be enough, though; they need a bonus point if they are to leave Leinster out in the cold.
Ulster improved their chances of a home tie in the quarter-finals from Pool Four with a scrappy 9-8 victory over Castres at Stade Pierre-Antoine.
Although not at their best, they came from behind to win courtesy of three Ruan Pienaar penalties and now await results tomorrow to see if they will be at home in the last eight.
Montpellier ensured they would join the Pool Six winners Toulon in the quarter-finals, for the first time in their history, as they cruised to a 22-3 victory over their French rivals. Tries from Thomas Combezou and Benoît Paillaugue, who converted both and kicked three penalties, saw them home after Jonny Wilkinson had opened the scoring with an early penalty for Toulon.
Leigh Halfpenny kicked 16 points but Lloyd Williams was the star turn as Cardiff Blues beat Sale 26‑14 in the Pool Six match yesterday with only pride at stake. Scrum-half Williams scored an excellent chip-and-chase try from the base of a scrum and set up Michael Paterson for another to beat a Sale side for whom the front row forwards Tommy Taylor and Aston Croall scored tries, Rob Miller converting both.
Victory was the reward for the Blues fans who worked hard on Friday to clear snow off the Arms Park so that the game could go ahead.
Qualifiers for the quarter-finals
Plus: Saracens or Munster; Toulouse or Leicester
Best two runners-up
Montpellier; Leinster or Munster
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