BELFAST, IRELAND – Today or tonight, depending on which side of the pond you reside on, will be the opening act of the final edition of the Heineken Cup; as we have come to know it. It will kickoff at 8pm Irish Time (we’re very scientific here) at in Belfast and Galway. At Ravenhill, the Leicester Tigers come to Northern Ireland to face down Ulster in what should be a thriller, while Connacht hosts Saracens in Galway. The other Friday night match kicks off at 9 pm Irish Time in Toulouse, where Zebre will likely look like a cruely misplaced soccer squad. But most importantly… It also kicks-off our season-long Heineken Cup Picks from our Expert Panel, aka “The Six-Pack.” The Six Pack’s picks are as reliable as your favorite six-pack of cheap beer; they cost you dearly the next day. [Ba doom cha!] Credentials be damned, they each pick the winners of each match and a Pick Of The Week, for which they provide the margin of victory.
And just to refresh your memory/bring you up to speed, the Six Pack has been revised. The Panel is comprised of West Ghana’s Rugby Rain Man Junoir Blaber, England’s knight of the realm Jamie Loyd, The English East Midlands Machiavellian Rugger Nick Hall, the infamous Ireland National, Declan Yeats, the Irish Born-Castres residing, unstoppable rugby-writing force, James Harrington, and contrived Kiwi Co-Host, Johnathan Wicklow Barberie.
This week, there isn’t much disagreement, as the fixture list lobs us softballs like Connacht vs. Saracens. Five experts have chosen Sarries, while Declan Yeats expects Sarries to win but must always pick an Irish side against an English side for the safety of his house and farm. If Connacht blindside flanker John Muldoon has his way, Yeats may be reaping a fear-sewn money crop,
“Nobody is giving us a chance so it is a great opportunity for us to go out as underdogs, as we have hundreds of times before, and with a home crowd and hopefully seven or eight thousand people shouting us on,” said Muldoon.
Muldoon’s guts and grit aside, the weekend will hopefully have a shock or two in store. Jamie Loyd is certainly hoping so – he’s made the bold choice of predicting a draw between Cardiff and Exeter – while our remaining five panelists have opted to tip Chiefs for the win.
Without further ado, here’s are the Six Pack’s Heineken Cup Picks.
As ever, comments are always welcome… and do look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann and Declan Yeats, respectively.