Monday 23 October 2017

Five days that shaped the Heineken Cup

1 Ulster v Clermont

Ravenhill Round, round 1

Regan King had a moment to haunt him forever when late in the day he opened the door for an Adam D'Arcy break-out from Ulster's 22. Clermont were in the driving seat at the time, but D'Arcy's surge led to a clinching try for Ian Humphreys. Defeat in round one for the home team and it would have been all over.

2 Edinburgh v Racing

Murrayfield, round 2

Juan Hernandez, who once upon a time -- when he was putting Ireland to the sword in the 2007 World Cup -- looked comfortably the most talented 10 on the planet, must struggle to remember those days. In the competition's most amazing tie, he missed a sitter drop-goal under the posts to consign Racing to a 48-47 defeat.

3 Connacht v Harlequins

The Sportsground, round 6

Conor O'Shea was wheeled in to brief the England players on what to expect in Croke Park in 2007. He had more intimate knowledge of what Quins might find in the Sportsground. Sure enough, it was a foul night, the natives rabid, and Harlequins failed to cope. The result dragged Toulouse back into the tournament from which they were exiting having lost in Kingsholm.

4 Northampton v Munster

Franklin's Gardens, round 6

Munster didn't need to demolish the Saints to get out of their pool -- the 51-36 result gave them a 10-point gap from Scarlets in the end -- but it suggested they were fit to go further when they weren't. What it did confirm was Saints are missing a mental link that is getting looser all the time.

5 Clermont v Leinster

Chaban Delmas, quarter-final.

When Wesley Fofana looks back on the season, two games and two incidents will stay with him: costing France a win over Ireland by failing to make a simple inside pass to Morgan Parra, and then the more obvious failure in losing control of the ball when touching down against Leinster. If he grounded it properly, the defending champions were gone.

-- Brendan Fanning

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