Quarter-final picture complete
January 20, 2013
Quins' Mike Brown and Biarritz' Damien Traille vie for a high ball during their clash on Friday night © Getty Images
All-time Heineken Cup Try-scorers
The line-up for this season's Heineken Cup quarter-finals is complete following a thrilling final weekend of pool action.
Harlequins will tackle Munster, Clermont Auvergne will face Montpellier, Toulon will play host to Leicester and Saracens will take on Ulster when the competition resumes on the first weekend of April.
The draw for the semi-finals has also been made with the winner of the Saracens/Ulster game set to tackle the winner of the Toulon/Leicester clash. The winner of the Clermont Auvergne/Montpellier quarter-final will play host to the winner of the Harlequins/Munster tie.
Harlequins kicked off the final round of pool action with a 16-9 victory over Biarritz in their Pool 3 clash on Friday night - a win that proved good enough to claim top seeding. Hot on their heels were Clermont Auvergne who progressed unbeaten having swept the Scarlets aside 29-0 in their Pool 5 encounter in Llanelli.
Toulon also claimed a home tie in the last eight despite their 23-3 defeat to Montpellier thanks to their superior try count. Montpellier were rewarded with one of the two quarter-final places on offer to the two best runners-up. The other was taken Munster who swept to a 29-6 victory over Racing Metro in their clash at Thomond Park on Sunday.
Pool 1 leaders Saracens booked their place in the knock-out stages with a 40-7 mauling of Edinburgh in their clash at Vicarage Road. Their bonus point victory was also enough for them to climb into the top four of the seedings and secure a home tie in the last eight.
Ulster sounded out a warning to their title rivals by notching their first ever Heineken Cup win on French soil - a narrow 9-8 victory over Pool 4 rivals Castres at the Stade Pierre-Antoine on Saturday. The result left them in line for a home tie but their failure to secure a bonus point proved costly with Saracens eventually pipping them to that honour.
Leicester completed the quarter-final picture with a hard-fought 9-5 victory over Toulouse at a wintry Welford Road to top Pool 2 and keep their hopes of a third title alive. Three penalties from fly-half Toby Flood proved the key for the hosts with their French rivals having to settle for a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Defending champions Leinster kept their euro campaign alive with a 29-20 victory over Exeter in a crucial Pool 5 showdown on Saturday but their hopes were eventually dashed by Munster. Leinster will also have to settle for a place in the second tier Challenge Cup where they will also be joined by Biarritz.
Elsewhere in Pool 3, Connacht wrapped up their European campaign with a 25-20 victory over Zebre in Galway. In the other clash in Pool 4, Glasgow ended Northampton's hopes with a dramatic 27-20 victory at Scotstoun Stadium that also robbed the Saints of a place in the knock-out stages of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Cardiff Blues heaped further woe on Premiership side Sale with a 26-14 victory in their dead rubber at the Arms Park - their first victory in their Pool 6 campaign. And Treviso also got off the mark with a last-gasp 17-14 victory over Ospreys at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo on Sunday.
Heineken Cup quarter-finals qualifiers and seeding:
1. Harlequins (Q) (P6, 28pts)
Q - qualified as Pool winners
Quarter-Finals: (April 5/6/7)
Semi-finals: (April 26/27)
Final - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland (May 18)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter
While the Super Rugby season enters the all-important knockout phase, elsewhere pre-season training never looked so enjoyable. We round-up the best snaps in our Week in Pictures