Round Five of this season’s Heineken Cup lived up to the expectation that was generated from the previous fixtures, with a number of teams locking down their place in the quarter-finals.
Ulster set-up a mouth-watering clash with Leicester Tigers to decide who tops Pool 5 – though both teams have ensured that they will feature in the knockout stages – thanks to a 27-16 victory over Montpellier. The Tigers recorded a 34-19 win against Benetton Treviso to keep their hopes of a home quarter-final draw alive, and the two Pool toppers will clash next week to decide who comes out on top.
Clermont Auvergne booked their place via a late comeback victory at the Twickenham Stoop, with Harlequins letting a 13-3 lead slip away to go down by three points and end their dreams of Heineken Cup glory. They were soon joined by fellow Top 14 side Toulon, with the defending champions blitzing the Cardiff Blues to ensure their progression from Pool 2.
Two-time champions Munster were the next to qualify for the next round as their stubborn defence led the way in a 20-7 victory at Gloucester, meaning that they cannot be caught at the top of Pool 6 despite Edinburgh’s win over Perpignan.
Pool 1 took centre stage on Sunday afternoon, and despite the Northampton Saints keeping their hopes alive with a 29-17 win over the Ospreys in Swansea, the news that Leinster had battled back from 14-0 down to beat Castres 29-22 meant that they will need the biggest of wins and hope the Irish side lose at home to the Ospreys this weekend to stand a chance of progression.
Finally, the much-anticipated Toulouse v Saracens match ended in a hard-fought victory for the four-time champions, running out 21-11 victors to record their second win over the Premiership leaders during this campaign. Sarries will now need to beat Connacht in the final round to ensure they progress as one of the two best runners-up, along with either Ulster or Leicester.
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