Stuart Barnes says Harlequins have to be mentally prepared for Clermont

Last Updated: 10/01/14 3:08pm

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Can Billy Vunipola help Sarries beat toulouse

Can Billy Vunipola help Sarries beat toulouse

The Heineken Cup is back and with two rounds to go, there is still plenty to fight for.

On Saturday, Harlequins host Pool 4 leaders Clermont Auvergne and a win for the Quins would see them right back in contention.

"Harlequins may have a bit more than a little bit of a chance," Stuart Barnes told The Rugby Club.

"Clermont have got a few injuries and Quins are playing really well at the moment - especially at home.

"And getting so close to Clermont in Round Two at Stade Marcel Michelin, means they will not be afraid of them.

"To beat this Clermont team that is full of stellar stars you have to believe.

"You really have to think you can win this game and I think Quins will really put themselves mentally in a place where they can do that.

"Whether they have the firepower from 1-15, well, I have my doubts, but I think they will give it a huge go on Saturday."


Another key game is in Pool 2 where Cardiff Blues head to Toulon.

The Blues are two points their opponents Toulon and while they shocked the defending champions in 19-15 at Cardiff Arms Park, a trip to Allianz Riviera is a totally different proposition.

"This is a massive challenge for Cardiff," said former Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson. "They produced the performance of Round Two to turn over Toulon in Cardiff after being well and truly beaten by Exeter in Round One.

"The Blues have a massive challenge on their hands, but their players are talking with a lot of confidence and are prepared to go there and throw the kitchen sink at them. They have nothing to lose.

"All the pressure is on Toulon. They are expected to win down in Nice and while I think it will be a struggle for Cardiff, if they can upset Toulon, you never know."


Sunday's big game sees Premiership leaders Saracens take on Toulouse in Pool 3.

Toulouse stole the points off Sarries at Wembley in Round Two and Saracens will be looking to avenge that defeat and take control of the Pool.

"This is going to be a colossal battle," added Lawson. "We have two sides who are playing relatively well.

"Toulouse beat Clermont in the Top 14 last week and beat Saracens at Wembley earlier in the season.

"Saracens, meanwhile, are the top point scoring side in the tournament so far and have scored a plethora of tries. They are playing freely and have moved their game on a lot from last year.

"Then they were a team that were winning but played it safe. Now they have added a few new dimensions to their game - the Vunipola brothers offer a lot of off-loads and they are shifting the target around a lot and playing with real ambition."

Barnes added: "Shifting the target is the real key here. At Wembley Sarries took the ball into contact but could not move it away fast enough. What they have done in England is move the ball around. They play at great pace, too.

"Toulouse have a gigantic pack - forget about all the names in the backline, they outmuscled Sarries at Wembley - so Sarries have to go there and try and play their game.

"That means keep that ball going at pace."

Click here for a list of all the Heineken Cup fixtures live on Sky Sports.

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