Heineken Cup 2013: Predictions for Sunday Fixtures and Recap of Saturday Results

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2013

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08:  The teams line up for a minutes silence in honour of Nelson Mandela during the Heineken Cup match between Leicester Tigers and Montpellier at Welford Road on December 8, 2013 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

As we pass the halfway stage in the Heineken Cup 2013 pool phases, the serious business of rugby is not far off now. Teams know they must finish top of their pool to qualify; otherwise, they are forced to rely on being one of the top point-scoring second-place teams.

So points are key, and performances are crucial. That was evident in Saturday’s round of games as we were treated to some marvelous action. We also have some excellent fixtures to sample on Sunday.

Here are the results of Saturday’s games and a couple of predictions ahead of some tasty clashes on Sunday.


Saturday Results

Pool 1

Leinster 9-18 Northampton


Pool 2

Toulon 32-20 Exeter


Pool 3

Saracens 64-3 Zebre

Connacht 9-37 Toulouse


Pool 4

Scarlets 13-31 Clermont Auvergne


Pool 5

Treviso 3-35 Ulster


Pool 6

Perpignan 17-18 Munster


Sunday Fixtures

Gloucester vs. Edinburgh

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 08:  Grant Gilchrist of Edinburgh tackles Freddie Burns of Gloucester during the The Heineken Cup Pool 6 Match between Edinburgh and Gloucester at Murrayfield Stadium, on December 08, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by I
Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The Tongan international prop Sila Puafisi will be in Gloucester’s ranks for the first time against Edinburgh after he finally secured a work permit. He looks set to be amongst the replacements as these two sides face each other in the second of two back-to-back fixtures.

The English outfit secured bragging rights at Murrayfield last Sunday to come on top, and this time Edinburgh will be hopeful of making the trip south and bagging a win on the road.

But it’s imperative that Gloucester secure a win here. Munster are running away with this group and sit six points atop of Pool 6. The best that Gloucester can realistically hope for is qualification via second place, but if Edinburgh can get the better of them here, that would be unlikely.

Edinburgh will be keen to put up a fight after losing on their own patch last weekend, and they will be boosted by the return of Scotland hooker Ross Ford ahead of this one.

But Gloucester will be too strong for them and should run out as comfortable winners.

Prediction: Gloucester 24-7 Edinburgh 


Montpellier vs. Leicester

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 08:  Tigers player Tom Youngs (r) in action during the Heineken Cup Pool 5 round 3 match between Leicester Tigers and Montpellier at Welford Road on December 8, 2013 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

If this game is half as good as last week’s enthralling contest, then we should be in for a treat. 

Leicester will welcome back Niall Morris and Thomas Waldrom for this one, and those two will give the English side added impetus going into this match. They should give Leicester a big lift when they travel to Montpellier.

The French outfit will be desperate to get one over on Leicester after just falling short in last week’s 41-32 defeat at Welford Road. But for the English side, another win is vital.

They trail runaway leaders of Pool 5 Ulster by seven points and need to accumulate as many points as possible if they are to qualify as one of the top-ranked second-place teams.

Leicester have much more to play for than Montpellier, and they’ll beat the French side for the second time in a week in another high-scoring encounter.

Prediction: Montpellier 27-33 Leicester