Not the Not the Heinie Quarter Finals

It’s Big Cup time again! Quarter finals week, which our experts can confidentially reveal means that there are four of them. Here’s what’s going to happen and when…

Not the not the Heinie Quarter Finals

QF2 Sat 12:45 Edinburgh (4) v (5) Munster

TV: BT Sport 3/Channel 4 (UK), Virgin Media (IRE), beIN Sports (FRA)
Venue: BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (FRA)

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Some ref-on-ref action during the 2014 Big Cup encounter

Seeding theory has it that this should be the tightest game of the four quarter-finals, as both teams won their pool, Edinburgh only getting the home game by virtue of finishing fourth rather than fifth. They haven’t played each other in the Big Cup since 2014, when Munster won comfortably, and if European pedigree is anything to go by, Munster (certified Heineken Highnesses) shouldn’t have too much difficulty in brushing aside Edinburgh on one of the latter’s infrequent trips beyond the pool stage. But pedigree isn’t everything, and form outside the cup has to be taken into account.

Sadly for Edinburgh, Munster are doing better there too: second in their conference with 13 wins out of 18 to Edinburgh’s fourth and nine—and when they played each other in the league in November, Munster won 44-14 at Thomond Park. Still, Edinburgh are at home, it’s a cup game, anything can happen….

Prediction: …but it probably won’t. Munster, comfortably enough.

QF1 Sat 15:15 Saracens (1) v (8) Glasgow

TV: BT Sport (UK), beIN Sports (FRA)
Venue: Allianz Park, Barnet
Referee: Nigel Owens (WAL)

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Billy scores Sarries’ third try in the second pool meeting

Saracens won the pool stage easily, lacking only two bonus points to have obtained the perfect 30. They’re multiple winners of the big cup, and they lead Glasow eight games to one in this competition head-to-heads. Glasgow lost two of their pool games, and they were both to Saracens, which isn’t helpful—it’s a good job Cardiff and Lyon were more forgiving otherwise the Weegies might have found it harder to get the final qualifying spot.

On the face of it, history suggests this should be a relatively straightforward win for Sarries, no? No. Partly because it’s only a month since another English team learnt the error of taking too much for granted, and partly because Glasgow are a very good side capable of beating anyone on the day. They’re top of their PRO14 conference (13 wins from 18), and have won their last four games on the bounce, scoring 30+ points each time. They’ll relish the chance to give young Owen something else to be cross about—ask their flanker, Ryan Wilson. Furthermore, Saracens have shown worrying signs of being a bit flaky recently—they lost to Baff a couple of weeks ago, for goodness’ sake.

Prediction: At home and with their proven nous when it comes to cup rugby, Saracens should still win, but it won’t be by much.

QF4 Sat 17:45 Leinster (2) v (7) Ulster

TV: BT Sport (UK), beIN Sports (FRA)
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Referee: Romain Poite (FRA)

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Leinster were too much for Ulster in the January Pro14 fixture

This is looking a bit of an uphill struggle for Ulster. They’re away to reigning Champions, Leinster—never an easy prospect at the best of times. The two teams have only played each other once before in the cup, and that was the 2012 final, when the Dubliners won 42-14. The teams are in the same conference in the PRO14 and Ulster are second to Leinster, but they’re 18 points behind and have won four fewer games. Head to head, they’ve played once so far in the Infinity, on 5th January, when Leinster won 40-7 at home.

Now, admittedly, Irish rugby’s been through a bit of a bad patch in the last couple of months, so Leinster may be feeling a little fragile and Ulster can…. Oh. Still, it’s a cup game and Ulster will have unimpeachable Underdog rights and therefore are guaranteed to put in a classic ferocious and underdogged performance, hanging on at the last for a famous win.

Prediction: A narrow Ulster win, because wouldn’t it be great?

QF3 Sun 15:15 Racing 92 (3) v (5) Toulouse

TV: BT Sport (UK), beIN Sports/FR2 (FRA)
Venue: Paris La Defense Arena, Paris
Referee: Luke Pearce (ENG)

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Sofiane Gitoune scores for Toulouse v Racing in February

Last year’s (narrow) losing finalists against once-mighty-but-perhaps-fading Toulouse. They both lost a game in the pool stages (and both in the fourth week), but Racing were better at getting bonus points (six to one). They’ve never played each other in the Big Cup it seems; in the Top 14, Toulouse are currently leading the table, with 76 points (16 wins out of 20), while Racing are in fourth on 56 points with 12 wins. Head to head this year, Racing beat Toulouse at home (37-10) and lost away (29-34).

Prediction: Not too much to go on and it all depends which deciding factor turns up: league form or home advantage. Am, stram, gram, pic et pic et colégram, bour et bour et ratatam, am, stram, gram… Toulouse to win by one or more points.


Finally, a quick recap of the rules:

If the ties are level, they play extra time of 10 mins each way. If still level, then the winner is whoever has scored most tries in the game, then a penalty kick-off.

The winner of Quarter Final 1 gets the home semi-final against the winner of QF2; the winner of QF3 is at home to the winner of QF4.

All broadcast matches

Free to air channels are in bold.

Friday Not Brexit Day 29th March

06:35 Hurricanes v Crusaders, SR (Sky Sports Arena)
08:45 Waratahs v Sunwolves, SR (Sky Sports Action)
19:10 Cardiff v Bridgend, Principality Premiership (BBC 2 Wales)
19:45 Sale v Connacht, Little Cup (BT Sport 2)

Saturday 30th March

06:35 Blues v Stormers, SR (Sky Sports Action)
08:45 Reds v Rebels, SR (Sky Sports Action)
12:45 Edinburgh v Munster, Big Cup (BT Sport 3, Channel 4)
13:05 Sharks v Bulls, SR (Sky Sports Arena)
15:15 Saracens v Glasgow, Big Cup (BT Sport 3)
17:45 Leinster v Ulster, Big Cup (BT Sport 3)
20:15 Worcester v Harlequins, Little Cup (BT Sport 3)
21:40 Los Jaguares v Chiefs, SR (Sky Sports Red Button)

Sunday 31st March

12:45 La Rochelle v Bristol Bears, Little Cup (BT Sport 3)
15:15 Racing 92 v Toulouse, Big Cup (BT Sport 3)
18:00 Clermont v Northampton, Little Cup (BT Sport 3)

1,240 Comments On “Not the Not the Heinie Quarter Finals”

  1. @Dr Claws Cat>

    A colleague retired last week and at the do, our boss was recounting stories from her career. She’d started her career in the registrars office doing birth certificates. First day back afternoon the holidays in January 2, proud parents came in with their new born son who had been born on December 25th and were insistent that he was going to be named “Christmas Box”

  2. @OurTerry>

    No, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the one I knew played rugby. He worked for a company that supplied display cabinets. He was as wide as he was tall* and used to carry one of these out of the van by himself.

    *Think Andrew Sheridan.

  3. This looks interesting

  4. So, what does this mean?

    Will we crash out on no deal/WTO terms, ie what no one in the feckin world would actually choose for themselves?

    I saw halfwits dressed in Union Jacks on the news chanting WTO WTO, as if it was thing – don’t these people have access to the internet to look up what this means?

  5. Congratulations to the family CJ on the enormous child. Hope it didn’t get too complicated.
    Huge babies don’t necessarily make huge people of course – the Middle One was 10lb7 and she’s on the small side now. She enjoys giggling about having been a giant baby though. Then again there was a 12 pounder called Ludwig in the next bed when the Eldest was born and I’m fairly confident that at the age of eight he will have joined his parents in troubling front rows all over Yorkshire. I was surprised he didn’t eat the Eldest before either of them were a day old.

  6. @Tichtheid>

    Would it have meant that much if any of the options had been narrowly passed given all the abstentions? For Brexit to be defeated (well another chance to vote at least) then it was always going to require things to break down completely and probably go to the wire in terms of the timescale. That’s where we are and it means the big risk of no deal as well.

  7. Happy birthday HASK!
    Nice to see that he had the good fortune to be born on the same day as BB Daughter 1. He must be very pleased.

  8. @Tichtheid>

    I saw halfwits dressed in Union Jacks on the news chanting WTO WTO, as if it was thing – don’t these people have access to the internet to look up what this means?

    I doubt their knowledge of this option goes far beyond the fact that it really worries and upsets the sort of people they don’t like.

    You know those pretty young ladies who are always in the photo whenever Farage or one of the ghouls is outside Westminster? They are models and are paid to be there.

  9. @Expro>

    I doubt their knowledge of this option goes far beyond the fact that it really worries and upsets the sort of people they don’t like.

    It’s a very simple option with removes the need to discuss the huge and very complicated middle ground.

  10. @CJ>

    That too.

    The Brexit liars have presented the WTO option as the ‘frictionless trade’ option used by the rest of the world, one that costs less than the EU and has no meddlesome unelected bureacrats and freedom of movement.

    This lie is built on the ‘they need us more than we need them’ one.

  11. @CJ>

    It’s based on a blatant lie though – and that’s where I think journalists need to share some of the blame. If they had known or cared enough the major interviewers could have stopped the wto only bandwagon early easily enough simply by giving the facts every time it was trotted out and refusing to move on in the interview until it was retracted. If they refused to retract, then let the viewers know that X will not be invited back because he/she is spreading disinformation.

    Not because they should be taking sides, but because the ‘everybody trades on wto rules’ factoid completely obscures the reality and it’s the job of journalists to inform, not acquiesce in disinformation. Not suggesting they use this tactic on any but the most blatant lies, but it should be in the armoury, along with an instant recallable list of X’s precious untruths to be played back to them in real time. Eddie Mair on Johnson should be the template – if every interviewer after Mair had taken the same approach, Johnson’s career would have been over and the county would be a better place.

    They can do it – yesterday self styled ‘hard man of brexit’ Steve Baker was ritually disembowelled by Jo Coburn on the BBC over his role in the Leave.EU fraud – but they’ve done too little and too late. At the, moment the lies are mainly coming from the Leave side, but it should apply to Labour and everyone else.

    I know this isn’t going to happen and that there would be practical difficulties. Forgive my sudden dash of youthful naive optimism that people in public office should tell the truth.

  12. Anyway, back to sordid reality.

    I’ve got a bit of work to do on the next ATL — publication in the next hour probably, but I’ll give the usual warning.

  13. My new contender for dumbest phrase in English;

    hard man of brexit



    They are models and are paid to be there

    Isn’t a big deal. I’d have been astonished if they were legit. All this means is that someone on his staff understands his audience.

  14. @CJ>

    It’s a very simple option

    The WTO is simple.[1]
    That’s why the Doha agenda was wrapped up on schedule back in 2005.

    [1] You are right in some ways.

Comments are closed.