The Heineken Cup is down to the last four. From 24 teams now only Leinster, Munster, Bath and Biarritz remain.

It’s a Heineken Cup semi-final weekend but as far as you can when you get to the last four, Biarritz are clear favourites here aren’t they, with ‘home’ advantage?

MILES: Biarritz are the favourites but that probably suits Bath. I am not sure it suits Biarritz. We shall see.


From a Bath point of view, ever since Brian Ashton came back to the club to work his magic powers he has been talking about a more attacking game.


Initially it was as if the players needed time to come to terms with that and against Leinster, his first game in charge, they were shown they way to play the game


Leinster taught them that while it brought them some success in the Premiership, a forward dominated game only takes you so far. Bath are moving on though and proved against Leicester that they can still mix it up front and operate defensively as well. What we are seeing now is the evolution of a side that is the full package.


Whether Ashton answers England’s call, something that needs to be asked after this game, he is in charge now and is creating a side that could win this game.


We saw in the first-half against Bristol, and anyone who saw Zak Feaunati finish off that fantastic try, that Bath has a lot to offer. With a strong pack as well, they are are a team that should worry Biarritz.


Yes Biarritz are favourites but I give Bath more than a respectable chance.


Biarritz have been here before but have blown it as this stage of the competition. How do you expect them to play it this time around?

MILES: I would expect them to get their nose in front and try to close the game down. Whether that will be successful is open to debate.


They have lost semi-finals in the past two seasons and they should be asking why?


Two years ago they played Toulouse in Bordeaux and go themselves in front, but not by that far. Isotolo Maka came on and changed things but Biarritz had that game to win and adopted this ‘get in front and close it out’ plan.


They tried it against Stade Francais last season and again it came back to bite them. You would have thought the penny had dropped but it didn’t seem like it against Sale, in this season’s quarter final, who had chance to win that game despite playing poorly.


If they go down that road again it is dangerous. If you watch Biarritz regularly in France, and watched them against Saracens earlier in the Heineken Cup, you will have seen them play some fantastic rugby. If Biarritz play as well as they can, no one will live with them.


It is hard to fathom why they don’t play like that more often because they have the power to put up front and the talent and invention behind the scrum to put any team away.


The other thing they could do to help is tap into this amazing atmosphere in San Sebastian.


On my first trip there for the Sale quarter final I was bowled over by the pre-match noise and although it remained at a reasonable level through the game, had they played the rugby they are capable of playing, the place would have gone berserk, and for Bath that will be very intimidating. Maybe we will see that this Saturday.


Who do you see as being the key man on either side this weekend?

MILES: For Biarritz Dimitri Yachvili is the man that makes them tick; the barometer of the team. With the way that he plays, when he is on top of his game and bossing it, then it is sunny for Biarritz. If not, and Bath get at him and at the back row – easier said than done with Messieurs Betsen and Harinorodquy around – it can be stormy for Biarritz.


For Bath it is Steve Borthwick, a magnificent club player. He is everything you want in your club captain.


I watched him take the Bath side back into dressing room after the warm-up prior to the Bristol match last weekend and there was no thought in Borthwick’s mind about a big European semi-final. His whole demeanour was to make sure everyone knew that the best way to get to Biarritz was to perform well against Bristol.


He is a key member of this side. If he his having one of his storming games – winning Bath lineouts, making a nuisance of himself on the opposition throw, getting around the pitch and making tackles and carrying the ball-up – he will be massive for his team.


In games of this magnitude, you can pick lots of key men and for Bath you could also pick Olly Barkley. It is important for Bath how he plays. He has star quality, and could be a fine performer not only for Bath but for England. This is where we will see if Barkley and the likes of Andy Beattie have the genuine international credentials that I believe they do.


And time for another prediction:

MILES: I don’t want to come across as not fighting for the British and Irish sides but because Biarritz were my tips for the final (with Toulouse) in the first place it would be crass of me to turn on them now. I will stick with them.


But I will say exactly what I sad before the Bath v Leicester quarter final, that I thought it represented the biggest chance of an away win. Bath is the away team in the Basque Country but despite all the history of teams dominating at home I give them a chance, because of the way they are playing.


They head out to Spain with the belief they can win, a bit like Leinster going to Toulouse, as underdogs but thinking ‘if we get it right we know we can beat them’.


A Bath fan asked me last week if I gave them a 50/50 chance. I can’t do that but I would give them a 35 per cent chance. Bath, who won in Bordeaux against Brive in 1998, have history on their side while Biarritz have a history of falling at this hurdle. That could get in to the Biarritz players’ heads and if they are tentative, they could find Bath come at them and win it