Wednesday 29 March 2017

Next up for the Irish provinces

Saturday

Pool 1

Castres v Munster, Stade Ernest Wallon, 3.40, Live, Sky Sports 1

After their dramatic late win in Thomond Park over Northampton, Munster return to Heineken Cup action in France for the first time since their 32-16 defeat at the hands of Toulon in last year's pool stages.

Castres were beaten by Scarlets in Wales last weekend, with Chris Masoe and Marc Andreu getting their tries, but they should be a different proposition at home.

Pool 6

Connacht v Toulouse, the Sportsground, 6.0, Live, Sky Sports 1

Connacht's first home game in the Heineken Cup also happens to be their 100th in European competition. It is perhaps fitting that they face the competition's most successful club: Toulouse.

The Sportsground will hardly have seen an atmosphere like it and Connacht did better than some expected against Harlequins last weekend. They can also take heart from their rousing performance when another French glamour side -- Toulon -- came to Galway for a Challenge Cup semi-final in 2010.

Pool 4

Leicester v Ulster, Welford Road, 6.0, Live, Sky Sports 1

A trip to Leicester in the Heineken Cup is often a foregone conclusion, but the Tigers' wretched home form in the Premiership, where they have recorded a draw and three defeats from four outings, suggests Ulster can travel cross-channel with a fighting chance against the only side who have successfully defended the Heineken Cup.

Sunday

Pool 3

Leinster v Glasgow, RDS, 12.45, Live, Sky Sports 3

Glasgow were the side that finally ended Leinster's 28-game unbeaten home run when the sides met in the Pro 12 in September. The Irish side can call on more of their heavy hitters this time around, but Glasgow are full of confidence after coming off the back of a battling home win over Bath.

Irish Independent

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