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Dublin: 22 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Heineken Cup cheat sheet: Your guide to the weekend’s action

Ulster can land a firm foot in the 1/4 finals while tries, and plenty of them, are needed elsewhere.

Jonathan Sexton will be hoping to send over some conversions at the RDS.
Jonathan Sexton will be hoping to send over some conversions at the RDS.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

THE HEINEKEN CUP is back for rounds five and six of the pool stages and Irish teams are hanging on in there.

Ulster could clinch a quarter-final berth with a bonus point win over Glasgow Warriors but the calculators and rosary beads are out across the southern provinces.

We start off at Ravenhill and finish up with Munster’s Sunday service in Edinburgh.

Ulster v Glasgow

When: Tonight 8pm

Where can I watch? Sky Sports 2

The story so far: Ulster had won their opening three pool games were in cruise control and on their way to a home quarter-final before Northampton Saints came to Ravenhill and bloodied their nose. Glasgow are winless after four games but have been victorious in their last three Pro12 matches.

Team news: Mark Anscombe has selected his strongest possible side with Paul Marshall and Roger Wilson the best of the bench back-up. Luke Marshall misses out after fracturing a finger so Paddy Wallace gets another European start. Warriors’ main threats will come from DTH van der Merwe on the wing and giant South African flanker Josh Strauss.

Ulster: J Payne; A Trimble, D Cave, P Wallace, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, L Stevenson, I Henderson, R Diack, C Henry (c), N Williams.

Replacements: R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, N McComb, R Wilson, P Marshall, M Allen, C Cochrane.

Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; S Maitland, A Dunbar, P Horne, DTH van der Merwe; D Weir, H Pyrgos; R Grant, D Hall, M Low; T Ryder, A Kellock (c); J Eddie, R Harley, J Strauss.

Replacements: P MacArthur, G Reid, N Campbell, T Swinson, N Matawalu, S Wight, S Hogg.

Harlequins v Connacht

When: Tomorrow 1:35pm

Where can I watch? Sky Sports 1

The story so far: Harlequins are one of Europe’s form sides and have won 16 matches out of 19 this year. They sit comfortably atop Pool 3 and could secure a home quarter-final if they inflict a heavy defeat on Eric Elwood’s men. Connacht have two wins to date in Pool 3 and have worried Quins every time the sides’ paths have crossed in the past 15 months.

Mike McCarthy is tackled by Harlequin’s Matt Hopper. (©INPHO/Billy Stickland)

Team news: A strong Quins side will be unleashed at The Stoop tomorrow with Mike Brown, Tom Casson and Danny Care all in need of close monitoring. Connacht are shorn of the services of Dan Parks and Danie Poolman but will go in with hopes of causing an upset as Robbie Henshaw, Dave McSharry and Mike McCarthy are all in form.

Harlequins: M Brown; T Williams, M Hopper, T Casson, U Monye; N Evans, D Care; J Marler, J Gray, J Johnston, O Kohn, G Robson, M Fa’asavalu, C Robshaw (c), N Easter.

Replacements: R Buchanan, M Lambert, W Collier, C Matthews, T Guest, K Dickson, B Botica, G Lowe.

Connacht: R Henshaw; T O’Halloran, E Griffin, D McSharry, F Vainikolo; M Jarvis, K Marmion; D Buckley, J Harris-Wright, N White (c); M Swift, M McCarthy; A Browne, J O’Connor, E McKeon.

Replacements: E Reynecke, B Wilkinson, R Loughney, M Kearney, E Grace, P O’Donohoe, M Nikora, J Loxton.

Leinster v Scarlets

When: Tomorrow 6pm

Where can I watch? Sky Sports 1

The story so far: Leinster started slow, against Exeter and Scarlets, but most supporters expected them to rise to the Clermont challenge at least once. That did not happen and they are now chasing bonus point wins. Scarlets have not recovered since Clermont monstered them 49-16 in round one of the pool fixtures.

Team news: The Leinster backline has a familiar feel to it and, just in case, Brian O’Driscoll is on the bench. Isa Nacewa and Luke Fitzgerald are on the wings while veterans Leo Cullen and Shane Jennings are required for another lung-buster for the cause. The big news for Scarlets is the loss of George North to injury and the fact that Welsh international Jonathan Davies is on the bench.

Leinster : R Kearney; I Nacewa, F McFadden, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, I Boss; C Healy, S Cronin, M Ross; L Cullen (c), D Toner; S O’Brien, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Replacements: A Dundon, H van der Merwe, M Bent, T Denton, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Madigan, B O’Driscoll.

Scarlets: L Williams; A Fenby, G Maule, S Williams, K Phillips; A Thomas, T Knoyle; P John, K Owens, J Adriaanse; G Earle, R Kelly; R McCusker (c), J Turnbull, K Murphy.

Replacements: M Rees, R Jones, S Lee, J Snyman, S Timani, G Davies, J Davies, A Warren.

Edinburgh v Munster

When: Sunday, 12:45pm

Where can I watch? Sky Sports 2

The story so far: The less said about Edinburgh’s participation in the cup this year, the better. Four games, four defeats, no tries scored. Munster began in disastrous fashion by gifting Racing Metro a win in Paris and they are in need of handsome win over the next two weekends. No-one doubts their abilities at Thomond Park but the cavernous and two-thirds empty Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon may prove even more daunting.

Team news: With Tim Visser, Greig Laidlaw and Dave Denton in the team, Edinburgh will always have a fighting chance. Willem Nel scored a gut-buster try against Leinster last week – could he do it again? Ronan O’Gara starts at out-half for Munster with a decent backline of Howlett-Earls-Downey-Zebo lining out. The Munster back row, with Peter O’Mahony and James Coughlan calling the shots, could prove crucial.

Edinburgh: G Tonks; D Fife, B Cairns, M Scott, T Visser; G Laidlaw (c), R Rees; A Jacobsen, S Lawrie, WP Nel; G Gilchrist, S Cox, S McInally, D Basilaia, D Denton.

Replacements: A Titterrell, R Hislop, G Cross, N Talei, R Grant, P Francis, B Atiga, S Visser.

Munster: F Jones; D Howlett (c), K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; R O’Gara, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, BJ Botha; D O’Callaghan, D Ryan; P O’Mahony, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan.

Replacements: M Sherry, W du Preez, S Archer, B Holland, P Butler, D Williams, I Keatley, C Laulala.

Explainer: What the Irish provinces need to do to reach Heineken Cup 1/4 finals

VIDEO: 4 classic Heineken Cup matches when 4 tries did the trick

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