HEINEKEN CUP 2011/12 QUARTER-FINALS
Following a dramatic conclusion to the Pool stages of the Heineken Cup which confirmed the line-up for the last eight of the 2011/12 tournament, ERC has announced the dates, venues and kick-off times for the quarter-final matches.
Edinburgh Rugby will become the first Scottish club to stage a home game in the knockout phase of Europe’s premier club tournament when they kick-off what promises to be another riveting weekend of action against four-time champions, Toulouse, at Murrayfield on Saturday, 7 April.
Defending champions, Leinster Rugby, are next up against Cardiff Blues at the Aviva Stadium where are they are undefeated to date in all four of their Heineken Cup matches staged at the 50,000 capacity Dublin venue.
Top seeds, Munster Rugby, who won all six of their Pool games, will meet Irish rivals, Ulster Rugby, for the first time in the tournament at Thomond Park on Sunday 8 April, while the sole English representative, Saracens, will round off the weekend with a mouth-watering clash against ASM Clermont Auvergne at Vicarage Road.
HEINEKEN CUP QUARTER-FINALS
Saturday, 7 April
Edinburgh Rugby v Toulouse, Murrayfield 15.00
Sky Sports / FR2 / Canal+
Leinster Rugby v Cardiff Blues, Aviva Stadium 17.45
Sky Sports / Sport+
Sunday, 8 April
Munster Rugby v Ulster Rugby, Thomond Park 13.45
Sky Sports / Sport+
Saracens v ASM Clermont Auvergne, Vicarage Road 16.30
Sky Sports, FR2
Edinburgh Rugby v Toulouse
• Edinburgh are the first Scottish club to win a Heineken Cup Pool.
• Edinburgh last reached the quarter-finals in 2004.
• Edinburgh met Toulouse in that quarter-final eight years ago and lost 36-10 at Le Stadium.
• Six players who featured in the 2004 match are still part of the Toulouse squad: Clement Poitrenaud, Vincent Clerc, Yannick Jauzion, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Jean Bouilhou and Romain Milo-Chluski.
• Toulouse have a 50% record in away quarter-finals. They beat Dax (1997) and Biarritz (2011), but lost to Ulster (1999) and Cardiff Blues (2009).
Leinster Rugby v Cardiff Blues
• Leinster have won all four of their Heineken Cup matches to date at the Aviva Stadium beating ASM Clermont Auvergne (Pool, 2010/11), Leicester Tigers (quarter-final, 2010/11), Toulouse (semi-final, 2010/11) and Bath Rugby (Pool, 2011/12)
• Leinster and Cardiff Blues have never met in a quarter-final before. The current champions played Cardiff in the semi-final of the inaugural 1995/96 season at Lansdowne Road and lost 23-15.
• Leinster are unbeaten in their last 12 Heineken Cup matches.
Munster Rugby v Ulster Rugby
• The quarter-final will be the first match between the two clubs in the Heineken Cup.
• Munster have met Irish opponents in the tournament twice before, beating Leinster in the 2006 semi-finals and losing to the same opposition in the 2009 semi-finals.
• Munster won all of their Pool matches for the first time this season. No club which has achieved that feat has gone on to win the Heineken Cup.
• In 1999, Ulster became the first Irish club to win the Heineken Cup.
Saracens v ASM Clermont Auvergne
• Clermont have lost all three of their quarter-finals to date. Each match was away from home – Toulouse (2000), Castres (2002) and Leinster (2010).
• Saracens hooker, John Smit, made his Heineken Cup debut for Clermont against the Scarlets in 2007.
• Saracens have appeared in one quarter-final to date defeating the Ospreys 19-10 at Vicarage Road (2008).
• Andy Farrell played in that 2008 quarter-final and his son, Owen, could line out at Vicarage Road on 8 April.
• Saracens are the only English club to reach the quarter-finals this season.
• On all three occasions the Heineken Cup final has been staged at Twickenham Stadium, it has been won by an English club – Northampton Saints (2000), London Wasps (2004 and 2007).
HEINEKEN CUP SEMI-FINALS
(Matches to be played on the weekend of 28 / 29 April)
Saracens or ASM Clermont Auvergne v Leinster Rugby or Cardiff Blues
Munster Rugby or Ulster Rugby v Edinburgh Rugby or Toulouse
17th Heineken Cup Final – Twickenham Stadium, Saturday 19 May (Kick-Off 17.00)