England outhalves past and present will meet in form of Saracens’ Owen Farrell, left, and Jonny Wilkinson of Toulon when the two clubs meet in this afternoon’s Heineken cup final in Cardiff. 
Photographs: David Rogers/Getty Images

So this is it then. The last Heineken Cup final does not so much look like a fitting summation of the last 19 years as a foretaste of the new order. T(...)

 Mourad Boudjellal, the owner of Toulon: players like Jonny Wilkinson, Juan Smith and Carl Hayman have been key to their success.  Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images)

So, the Heineken Cup odyssey that Irish provinces began way back in 1995 ended Sunday in Marseille. Munster were the last men standing but that’s as m(...)

Seán Dougall (left) and his Munster team-mates after their defeat to Toulon on Sunday.

With some degree of difficulty, one would imagine, Munster have to quickly turn their attention toward the Ra(...)

Toulon Rugby owner Mourad Boudjellal   celebrates  his team’s Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Leinster at the Felix Mayol Stadium in Toulon. Photo:  David Rogers/Getty Images)

The essence is in part aspirational, a glossy, Panini sticker-album feel, to the playing roster at Toulon. Club president and multi-millionaire(...)

Thomond Park in Limerick: the spiritual home of Munster rugby. Photo: Barry Cronin /AFP/Getty

Munster are looking to sell the naming rights to Thomond Park in an effort to keep pace with the big-spending Fre(...)

Mourad Boudjellal: “I did not agree with all his decisions [in the quarter-final against Leinster] and felt he was a bit biased.”

Referee Wayne Barnes will take charge of the Heineken Cup semi-final between Toulon and Munster in Marseille on Sunday week, less than a month(...)

Rocky Elsom (left) is tackled by George Chuter and Tom Croft of Leicester in the 2009 Heineken Cup final. The signing of Elsom has hugely important in the Irish province making the big breakthrough in claiming victory in Europe’s premier competition.   Photograph: Graham Stuart/Inpho

Back in the summer of 2008, Michael Cheika asked (more likely thumped the table and screamed) for an influx of quality overseas players. Leinst(...)

 Leinster’s Jimmy Gopperth kicks clear during their Heineken Cup quarter-final at the  Stade FŽlix Mayol, Toulon.  “They put a lot of pressure on our set-piece. We didn’t really get front-foot ball. Photograph: Inpho

In stark contrast to his valedictory farewell to international rugby, this was not how Brian O’Driscoll would have envisaged ending his associa(...)

President of reigning Heineken Cup champions Mourad  Boudjellal is of Algerian origin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has defended his decision to cancel a friendly with French second division sid(...)

Luke Fitzgerald in action against Castres in their first Heineken Cup Pool One game against Castres Olympique at the RDS. If Leinster end the French side’s year-long unbeaten home record at the Stade Pierre-Antoine on Sunday and Northampton lose in Swansea on Sunday, Leinster will qualify for the knock-out stages.

Now comes the meat of the season, with the decisive final two rounds of the Heineken Cup pool stages over the next two weeks a more than tasty appetis(...)