Check out the state of play in Pool 1 at the half-way stage of the 2013/14 Heineken Cup Pool stage. The return legs of the back-to-back fixtures in round 4 are played this weekend, but who will qualify for the quarter-finals.
This group remains wide open with all four teams in the mix for a place in the quarter-finals. However, Edinburgh and Perpignan are well aware they cannot afford another slip following their defeats to Gloucester and Munster.
Those results have upped the stakes ahead of their return matches this week though all four sides have proved capable of beating each other. Only Toulouse have scored more tries in this season's tournament than Munster, who picked up a bonus-point in their impressive 36-8 victory over Perpignan at Thomond Park that moved them two points clear at the top of the pool.
They now head to Stade Aime Giral where Perpignan have won 22 of their last 23 games in the Heineken Cup. The one defeat in that seven-season run was in fact a 37-14 defeat to Munster in 2010. Perpignan will also have ex-Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi back from a six-week suspension and Munster head coach Rob Penney insists discipline will be vital in the Catalan couldron.
“It is a massive challenge going to Perpignan next week with the passion and fervour they have for the game down there. It’s something we are used to here [in Munster], but rather than be at our backs, it will be in our faces. Discipline is going to be key,” said Penney.
Martyn Thomas scored twice as Gloucester gained the upper hand in their back-to-back tussle with Edinburgh but director of rugby Nigel Davies urged his team to repeat their 23-12 win at Murrayfield.
“We're a bit frustrated that we didn't get the fourth try for a bonus point but we would have taken that result and performance before kick-off,” said Davies.
“These back-to-back games against Edinburgh were always going to be hugely important in such a competitive pool so it is vital we get our heads back on this week to make sure we don't lose this advantage at Kingsholm this week.”