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Home comfort for Saints

Published 23/01/2011

Heineken Cup
Heineken Cup

Northampton will play Ulster in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup after qualifying for the knockout stages as the tournament's top seeds.

Jim Mallinder's Saints were the only team to progress from the group stages with a 100% record and they have been rewarded with a home route to the final.

If Northampton, champions in 2000, can overcome Ulster - in a game set to be played in either Coventry or Milton Keynes - they will host either Perpignan or Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon in a home semi-final.

The Aviva Premiership provided only two Heineken Cup quarter-final qualifiers, with Northampton joined in the last eight by midlands rivals Leicester.

The Tigers, who progressed as one of the leading group runners-up, face new tournament favourites Leinster in a repeat of the 2009 final, set to be staged at Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

The winners of that heavyweight showdown will host a semi-final against either Biarritz or defending champions Toulouse, who meet in the other all-French quarter-final.

Toulouse had the chance to oust Northampton as top seeds and secure a home quarter-final.

But Wasps' 21-16 victory, sealed with a last-gasp try from David Lemi, condemned them to a trip to Biarritz in a repeat of last year's final.

Wasps head down into the Amlin Challenge Cup, where they will face local rivals Harlequins.

Munster and Clermont Auvergne - the other two Heineken Cup drop-outs - tackle Brive and La Rochelle respectively while Stade Francais take on Montpellier.

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