Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Home advantage for Sarries

Heineken Cup

England's sole survivors Saracens will have home advantage in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals after successfully completing a difficult Italian job.

Saracens' 26-20 victory over Treviso ensured they won Pool Five, progressing as fourth seeds and securing a home tie against French challengers Clermont Auvergne during the first weekend of April.

Elsewhere, twice European champions Munster will host 1999 Heineken Cup winners Ulster in Limerick, holders Leinster entertain Cardiff Blues and sole Scottish survivors Edinburgh meet Toulouse at Murrayfield.

Edinburgh's achievement is magnified in that they have become the first Scottish team to book a home Heineken quarter-final since the tournament began more than 16 years ago.

Saracens' Vicarage Road home ground in Watford meets the 15,000 minimum capacity demanded by Heineken Cup organisers, while they will also have home country advantage should they eliminate Clermont, facing Leinster or the Blues.

The Blues, meanwhile, are Wales' sole survivors, progressing as best runner-up after Edinburgh's 34-11 bonus-point win against London Irish took them top of Pool Two.

Edinburgh claimed their all-important fourth try just two minutes from time, which was enough to pip the Blues, who claimed three touchdowns in edging out Racing Metro 36-30 at Cardiff City Stadium.

The winners of the Edinburgh versus Toulouse tie will be away to Munster or Ulster in the semi-finals, a game seemingly destined for Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

In the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals, meanwhile, Wasps will host Biarritz, Exeter travel to meet Stade Francais, Brive host the Scarlets and Toulon entertain Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins.

In the semi-finals, Toulouse or Quins will meet Stade or Exeter, with Wasps or Biarritz facing Brive or Scarlets.

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