Heineken Cup panel

Who will triumph in the battle for Europe? Sky Sports' Dewi Morris, Stuart Barnes, Will Greenwood, Paul Wallace and Scott Quinnell share their thoughts.

Last Updated: 13/10/12 3:08pm

  • Share:

Sky Bet

As Sky Sports prepares to kick off an unrivalled season of 3D and HD Heineken Cup rugby, we speak to our pundits to find out which teams will make it to the knock-out stages.

All of our live games will be supported by our esteemed panel of experts, with Stuart Barnes, Dewi Morris, Will Greenwood, Scott Quinnell and Paul Wallace, Ieuan Evans, Dean Ryan amongst those keeping you up-to-date throughout the competition.

And of course there will be 24/7 coverage on skysports.com including our brand new Events Centre, a great way to watch live rugby complete with facts, stats and more! Plus there'll breaking news, views and scores around the clock on Sky Sports News HD.

Dewi Morris, Will Greenwood, Stuart Barnes, Paul Wallace and Scott Quinnell share their thoughts on the Heineken Cup.

WILL GREENWOOD


Who will top the Heineken Cup Pools? Munster, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Leinster, Toulon.

In a Lions year which players should we be keeping an eye on? The battle of the backrows is going to be super tough. Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, David Denton, Ross Rennie, Sean O'Brien and Stephen Ferris will all be battling it out - shame there will be no Dan Lydiate who is out injured.

Are there any young players we should be looking out for? Look out for Freddie Burns and George Ford if he gets a chance to play.

Best overseas signing? I love watching Ruan Pienaar play for Ulster.

Have you got a dark horse for the overall title? Toulon or Harlequins - no Heineken pedigree but easiest groups.

Overall prediction? Leinster v Toulon final.

PAUL WALLACE


Who will top the Heineken Cup Pools? Munster, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Leinster, Toulon

In a Lions year which players should we be keeping an eye on? Tim Visser - he is a great player and really adds to Edinburgh's attack. Richard Strauss could have an outside chance of the Lions - he is in great form and has just become eligible for Ireland. So you have a Dutchman and a South African - perhaps they could room together if they both made it on the Lions tour!

Are there any young players we should be looking out for? I really like the look of Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall. However with Ruan Pienaar coming back I am not sure how many games he will start. I would like to see Pienaar play at 10 outside of Marshall though. I also like the look of Osprey centre Ashley Beck.

Best overseas player? Harlequins star Nick Evans has been superb for them and Leinster's Isa Nacewa comes close to Evans but not quite as influential.

Have you got a dark horse for the overall title? Dark horse: I have two - Toulon and Ulster. Toulon have a very strong squad and I think Ulster look like the complete package - although they may have a few problems at No.10. Paddy Wallace is not quite at that level.

Overall prediction? I think Leinster may just do it again. Injuries could be a problem as they have a lot of players dealing with long term injuries though.

SCOTT QUINNELL


Who will top the Heineken Cup Pools? Munster, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Clermont, Toulon.

In a Lions year which players should we be keeping an eye on? The likes of George North down in the Scarlets is playing well, Jamie Heaslip is an experienced campaigner too. However I think Brian O'Driscoll is going to have a huge season this year - I think he has a lot of motivation to make that exclusive club of four Lions tours. As a former backrow player I am really looking forward to seeing who comes out on top - we have some superb backrowers across all four nations and it should be an epic battle for places.

Are there any young players we should be looking out for? Justin Tipuric has got a couple of Wales caps and is a great player and has been outstanding for the Ospreys. Lee Williams at fullback for the Scarlets has been in superb form too and one to watch too. Samson Lee is another Scarlet to watch out for he is a very young tighthead prop but is showing a lot of potential.

Best overseas signing? What he has done for Quins is amazing - he can often be the difference between them winning and losing.

Have you got a dark horse for the overall title? I like what Ulster are doing and I have a sneaky feeling that they could be there in the final once again.

Overall prediction? You just don't know what these French sides are going to do - Clermont, Toulouse and Toulon could do it but I think Leinster may just do it again.

STUART BARNES


Who will top the Heineken Cup Pools? Munster, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Clermont, Toulon.

In a Lions year which players should we be keeping an eye on? Ryan Jones. Resurgent as cover for second row as well as the backrow.

Are there any young players we should be looking out for? As far as Lions go Scarlets fullback Lee Williams might put pressure on some of the bigger names. Clermont winger Jean-Marcellin Buttin is player of real excitement too.

Best overseas signing? Staying on my fullback theme Delon Armitage signing for Toulon.

Have you got a dark horse for the overall title? Ulster - if beaten runners-up can be a dark horse. Harlequins also have a great opportunity because of the nature of their pool draw and they should have a home quarter-final

Overall prediction? Clermont to beat Ulster in the final.

DEWI MORRIS


Who will top the Heineken Cup Pools? Saracens, Toulouse, Harlequins, Ulster, Leinster, Toulon.

In a Lions year which players should we be keeping an eye on? Brian O'Driscoll - still one of the best centres in world.

Are there any young players we should be looking out for?Leinste's Richard Strauss - the South African born hooker has just become eligible to play for Ireland.

Best overseas signing?Ulster No 8 Nick Williams. Losing Pedrie Wannenburg was a big blow but I think in Williams they have found a more than able replacement.

Have you got a dark horse for the overall title?Harlequins could make it to the final - if they top their pool they have a home quarter-final.

Overall prediction?Leinster to make it a treble.

MILES HARRISON


Who will top the Heineken Cup Pools?Well, my eight qualifiers at the moment (it seems to change daily!) are Munster, Toulouse/Leicester, Harlequins, Ulster, Leinster/Clermont Auvergne, Toulon.

In a Lions' year, which players should we be keeping an eye on?There's so much to look forward to on this front - the Lions give the competition an extra dimension. Try the wingers for starters - all four nations have potential European Cup star men who could well be Lions - Tommy Bowe, Tim Visser, George North and Chris Ashton. But, top of my list as Lions to watch with experience a plenty are Leinster's Brian O'Driscoll and Adam Jones of the Ospreys - if they fire in games like these, which I am sure they will, then they could be central to the Lions' plot.

Are there any young players we should be looking out for?I'll go with George Ford here. He looks classy and could be a key figure for Leicester as the tournament progresses.

Best overseas signing?Not technically a new signing but Jared Payne - injury robbed him of being part of the run to the Final last year so he will feel like a 'new signing' for Ulster this year.

Have you got a dark horse for the overall title?No dark horses ever win this Cup! But, I believe the Ospreys will push Toulouse and Leicester very hard in their Pool and might make a mockery of that Pool prediction or, at the very least, prevent two teams from emerging from that group. Northampton and Edinburgh are hardly dark horses after both reaching the business end recently and both could clearly emerge from their Pools. Don't rule out Saracens from qualification either. However, as we all know, winning the Cup is a different thing altogether.

Overall prediction?Leinster and Clermont played a semi-final that felt like a Final last season. Their Pool matches this season will probably feel like Finals too. Whoever gets the better of that tussle might well go on to be the overall tournament winner. I said Leinster last year but this finally could be Clermont's year.

  • Share:

Related

Heineken Cup 2012-13

Tries of the Week - 15th October

Tries of the Week - 15th October

The best tries from this weekend's Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup action.

Richard Cockerill and Matt Connor: questioned the decision not to kick for goal early in the second half

Cockerill left 'disappointed'

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill labelled his side "naive" after they went down 23-9 to Toulouse.

Jim Mallinder: Was delighted with the way Northampton responded to early setback

Mallinder happy with comeback

Jim Mallinder paid tribute to Northampton's composure after they fought back to beat Glasgow in the Heineken Cup.

Most Popular

Features

World Cup squad

World Cup squad

We profile the 26 players who've made Gary Street's England Women's Rugby World Cup squad.

Willing and ready

Willing and ready

Will Greenwood is stepping up his preparations for what is bound to be a stamina-sapping climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Dream Team

Dream Team

Who have Michael Lynagh, Sean Fitzpatrick and Thinus Delport chosen as half-backs for our Super Rugby XV?