This is the sixteenth year of the Heineken Cup and so far we have had 4 Irish victories.
If Leinster beat Northampton in Cardiff’s Millennium stadium tomorrow(Saturday kick off 5pm) that will make it 4 Irish victories in the competition in the last 6 years- two each for Munster and Leinster – an incredible record.
Unfortunately, this season, a resurgent Ulster exited to Northampton in the quarter finals, the first time they had qualified for the knock out stages since they won the competition in 98/99 and hopefully next year we can look forward to them joining Munster and Leinster as serious title contenders.
The Heineken Cup is Europe’s premier ‘club’ rugby competition and seems to have been tailor made for the Irish provinces, who unlike the English(6 winners) and French(5 winners) clubs, prioritise it above their National leagues. The Welsh and Scottish teams who seem to have struggled to cope with the transition from club to regional rugby have made little impact in the tournament.
So having tempted fate by counting my Irish provincial chickens before they have hatched and with Paddy Power having already paid out on the province there is just the little matter of the boys in blue delivering the H cup.