Heineken showdowns

The weekend’s penultimate round of Heineken Cup group matches was kicked off by defending European club champions Munster, who buried Guinness Premiership high-flyers Sale’s Pool 1 ambitions under a 37-14 barrage of tries.

Who will join the Irish in the competition’s quarter-finals from Pool 2 will only be decided this Sunday afternoon following Wasps rousing 19-12 victory over rivals Leinster in front of their biggest ever Twickenham crowd  – Castres and Edinburgh provide the opposition respectively in the final long-distance duel  for the two teams locked together on 16 points.

An eight-try 52-0 Leicester mauling of Treviso clarified the Pool 3 situation somewhat, but the Tigers’ progression still hinges on their visit to the Ospreys while Harlequins’ Pool 4 primacy is assured despite defeat to Ulster after Scarlet’s sensational 31-17 success over Stade Francais. Shocks also abounded in Pool 5, Glasgow inflicting a rare home reversal upon Toulouse to enable 15-12 victors over Newport-Gwent, Bath, to set up a decider against the French at The Rec on Sunday. Lastly, Cardiff Blues made sure of preserving the only unbeaten record in the tournament with a 14-man 16-12 win at closest Pool 6 rivals Gloucester.