Roads to Dublin go through London

 

Rugby:The Irish provinces will march on London over the first weekend of April after the quarter-final draws for both the Heineken and Amlin Cups threw up away meetings against Premiership teams.

Saracens secured a try bonus in their 40-7 hammering of Edinburgh at Vicarage Road earlier today, and in the process leapfrogged Ulster in the standings, setting up a game against Mark Anscombe’s side in the last eight.

Munster’s five tries against Racing Metro edged them ahead of Leinster to take the eighth and final position and a trip to London to take on Conor O’Shea’s top-ranked Harlequins side.

Leinster make up for the disappointment at the end of their challenge for a third straight Heineken Cup title with a visit to Wasps, who finished as the fourth-ranked of the five Amlin Cup group winners.

The other two quarter-finals in the Heineken Cup will take place in France, with Clermont hosting Montpellier in an all-Gallic affair, while Toulon will take on Leicester after they knocked Toulouse out of the competition at Welford Road this afternoon. The French giants join Leinster and Biarritz in the Amlin Cup last eight.

Ulster have been handed the incentive of home country advantage if they can beat Sarries, with the Aviva Stadium the obvious venue for a meeting with the winners of the Toulon v Leicester tie.

Munster’s task is made all the harder by the fact that they would have to travel to France to take on either Clermont or Montpellier in the semi-finals. Clubs are not allowed to use their home grounds at the semi-final stage.

Leinster have a huge enticement to win away to Wasps as they would potentially face two games in the RDS to win the second-string competition.

They would host the winners of the Gloucester v Biarritz tie in the semi-finals, with the final taking place at the RDS on Friday May 17th, the night before the Heineken Final at the Aviva Stadium.

THE LOWDOWN ON EUROPEAN RUGBY KNOCK-OUT STAGES
Heineken Cup Top 8
1 Harlequins Pool 3 - 28pts, 28 tries, +172 pts diff
2 Clermont P5 - 28pts, 23 tries, +140
3 Toulon P6 - 23pts, 23 tries, +102
4 Saracens P1 - 23pts, 15 tries, +104
5 ULSTER P4 - 23pts, 12 tries, +71
6 Leicester P2 - 20pts, 13 tries, +16
7 Montpellier P6 - 22pts, 17 tries, +59
8 MUNSTER P1 - 20pts, 14 tries, +60

Amlin Cup qualifiers from Heineken Cup
9 LEINSTER P5 - 20pts, 12 tries, +28.
10 Toulouse P2 - 19pts, 15 tries, +48
11 Biarritz P3 – 15pts, 14 tries, +22

Heineken Cup quarter-final draw
1 Harlequins (1) v Munster (8)
2 Clermont (2) v Montpellier (7)
3 Toulon (3) v Leicester (6)
4 Saracens (4) v Ulster (5)

To be played on the weekend of April 5th-7th

Semi-final draw (home country advantage)
1 Saracens/Ulster v Toulon/Leicester
2 Clermont/Montpellier v Harlequins/Munster

To be played on the weekend of April 26th-28th

Heineken Cup Final will take place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on May 18th at 5pm

Amlin Cup quarter-final qualifiers after pool stages
1 Bath 29pts, 36 tries
2 Gloucester 27pts, 19 tries
3 Perpignan 25pts, 42 tries
4 Wasps 25pts, 30 tries
5 Stade Francais 25 pts, 25 tries

Quarter-final draw
1 Bath v Stade Francais
2 Gloucester v Biarritz
3 Perpignan v Toulouse
4 Wasps v Leinster

To be played on the weekend of April 4th-7th

Semi-final draw (home ground advantage)
1 Perpignan/Toulouse v Bath/Stade Francais 
2 Wasps/Leinster v Gloucester/Biarritz

To be played on the weekend of April 26th-28th

Amlin Cup Final will take place at the RDS in Dublin on May 17th at 8pm

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