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Munster v Leinster in London?

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    Munster v Leinster in London?



    Havnt seen this posted elsewhere...though it dosnt contain a whole lot of new info......:



    <DIV =LeadPara>FIRST things first. The decision by ERC to again schedule a Munster away game on a Sunday shows scant regard to the loyalty and commitment of their support base. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>Sometimes you think they are taken for granted despite what the have contributed to the competition over the years. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Bourgoin, seizing the opportunity to swell their coffers by moving the game to Geneva, are gambling on the reputation of the Munster faithful to travel. I met a number of people yesterday who, working on the principal that the French don’t favour televised Sunday games, booked flights assuming a Saturday fixture. Alas, as happened with the quarter-final against Biarritz in 2005, amongst other games involving Munster, the fans have been greatly inconvenienced. They deserve more. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>By the completion of next weekend’s back to back fixtures as many as thirteen clubs could be out of contention for honours in this year’s Heineken Cup. While the competitiveness of the Celtic countries has grown significantly in recent seasons it is sad to see the complete demise of the Italian sides in this year’s competition. By virtue of Overmach Parma’s shock victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons in last season’s playoff game, Italy now boasts as many sides in this tournament as Ireland and Wales and one more than Scotland. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Benetton Treviso gave the competition fresh impetus in 2004 when they succeeded in beating Bourgoin home and away and also recorded the historic victory over previous winners Bath. Since then it has been all downhill for the Italians particularly since the majority of their international stars have fled to France and England in search of more regular competition. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>In the six games to date this season Calvisano, Benetton Treviso and Overmach Parma have conceded 436 points, an average of 48 per game. With try scoring such an integral part of the qualification process, teams with an Italian side in there pool are handed a significant advantage. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>It is also more noticeable this year that there is a large discrepancy in the quality of some pools compared to others. It is no surprise for example that Biarritz currently occupy the number one seeding on the basis of maximum victories and bonus points from Pool Six. In fact, victory next weekend against the Borders is certain to secure qualification in the knock out stages with two games to go. Northampton look odds-on to qualify as a best second place team by virtue of the presence of Borders and Parma in this pool. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Meanwhile Stade Francais, the Ospreys and Sale, three potential winners at the outset of the competition, continue to knock lumps out of each other in Pool Three. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Guessing the quarter-final pairings based on the seeding at this juncture of the tournament yields some interesting observations. French sides occupy seeds one and two and as a result, Biarritz and Stade Francais respectively would enjoy home ties against Northampton and Castres. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>With Munster and Llanelli each on 13 points, Munster would be classified as the third seed by virtue of scoring nine tries in the tournament to date against eight for the Scarlets. The realisation that Munster’s potential home quarter-final will not be played in Ireland is now only beginning to dawn on many people. Present seeding would see Munster play Wasps, a situation which may force chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald to contemplate a venue in either Wales or France. One presumes the Millennium Stadium or the Parc de Princes in Paris (whic
    Seas suas agus troid!
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