Heineken Cup Semis draws
January 26, 2007
Leicester will be at home in the Heineken Cup semi-finals against either Llanelli Scarlets or Munster - if they can get past Stade Francais.
In the other semi-final Wasps or Leinster have been drawn away against either top seeds Biarritz or the the 2000 champions Northampton.
The draw for the 12th Heineken Cup semi-finals was made at Twickenham this afternoon.
The completed line-up will be confirmed after the quarter-finals, which will be played on the weekend of March 30, 31 and April 1.
Former Leicester and England star Austin Healey, a Heineken Cup winner in 2001 and 2002, helped conduct the draw.
And he backed Tigers to build on their famous win over Munster last weekend and end up facing Biarritz in the final at Twickenham.
''I texted Martin Corry after the game and said that was the best performance by Leicester in four years,'' he said.
"The physicality of the forwards was immense and if they continue that they will have a good chance in the rest of the tournament.
"If I was going to put money on it I think the final will be Biarritz and Leicester.''
Leicester are set to confirm the venue for their quarter-final against Stade Francais after a board meeting tomorrow.
Welford Road remains favourite - if only because Leicester produced a turgid performance at the neighbouring Walkers Stadium against Bath in last year's quarter-final.
Victory this time around could either set up a repeat of the 2002 semi-final against Llanelli or a third clash this season with Munster, who they famously beat at the previously impenetrable Thomond Park.
Tigers winger Leon Lloyd, who scored in Leicester's victory over Stade in the 2001 final, said: "A lot of lads haven't been to Munster before and we weren't expected to do it.
"When we lost at home to Munster we knew what we needed to do. The knock-out stages started early for us. It was a massive performance.''
Munster, the defending champions, will have to regain their title the hard way after receiving successive away draws.
To book a semi-final appearance they must overcome Llanelli, who were unbeaten in the pool stages.
They played some thrilling rugby along the way, most notably in their stunning away win at Toulouse, but coach Robert Jones knows the biggest challenges still lie ahead.
He said: "It is difficult to think about the semi-finals yet because we have a huge quarter-final ahead of us.
"But if we are fortunate enough to progress, travelling to England or France would be a big ask for us. But we have a good record on the road this season and we will give it our best shot.''
Biarritz qualified for the quarter-finals with a new tournament record points total of 29 from a possible 30 and are favourites to beat Northampton in the imposing surrounds of San Sebastian.
But Wasps won at both Perpignan and Castres during the pool stages and forward Dan Leo is determined to relive the glory days of 2004, when Rob Howley's extra-time try won the trophy at Twickenham.
Leo said: "We are working on building something special.
"We don't want to be defined as a team that has done something last season or the season before.
"We want to define ourselves by what is done this season. We have a tough draw with Leinster at home and then possibly Biarritz away.''
Leinster have their own impressive track record, having beaten Toulouse away in the quarter-finals last season.
Winger Rob Kearney said: "Last year we had to do it the hard way, travelling to France, and we did it.
"Wasps are a fantastic side. It is a mouth-watering match. They have been there before too but it is a great challenge for us and something we will relish.''
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