Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting TIMES NEWS to 80360, or email us
Saracens fan Louise Warr looks back on Heineken Cup as tournament enters what could be its final year
Friday sees the start of another Heineken Cup campaign for Saracens - one that is more than likely to be their last.
Although it will be replaced by a similar alternative, it will be the end of the Heineken Cup as we know it, a perfect time to have a look back over two of Saracens’ finest moments that have taken place in the competition.
Firstly, we can look no further than the quarter-final clash with Ulster last season.
On the biggest stage that English rugby can offer, the hallowed Twickenham turf, Saracens’ fronted up to an Ulster team that up until that point had taken that season’s competition by storm, topping pool four with a total of 23 points on the table racking up 126 points in the process.
Many had them tipped as serious title contenders.
The most pleasing thing that day was that Sarries showed the grit, determination and physicality they had failed to demonstrate a year previously against Clermont Auvergne in a game in which they were bullied and outmuscled.
The match also saw the return of the ‘Ash Splash’ to the home of English rugby, in a try that not only demonstrated the attacking ability that is often under fire but what Chris Ashton can bring to a team when he is on song.
Rewind to 2006 and another semi-final appearance, this time against the Ospreys at Vicarage Road.
Completely outplayed only a matter of weeks before in the EDF cup semi-final (now renamed as the LV= Cup) and in bitterly cold and snowy weather conditions, it would be safe to say expectations weren’t at their highest.
The Ospreys team contained a host of stars including former All Black scrum half Justin Marshall (who later went on to have a stint at Saracens), a Gavin Henson that was in form and hadn’t yet taken up club hopping, Welsh stars Lee Byrne, James Hook and Shane Williams, the list could go on.
Saracens were determined not to be humiliated for a second time, and Ospreys could even be accused of going in to cruise control, having one eye on the semi-final, a semi-final they wouldn’t go on to make.
A Franscisco Lionelli try just after the break, paired with the boot of fly-half Glen Jackson, who went on to dedicate his match winning drop goal to the Sky Sports pundit Dewi Morris who had been somewhat scathing of the great underachievers in the past.
However, for me the match will be remembered most for James Hook trying to catch the ball behind his back, failing and then slicing the ball into touch - not the 70 cap Welsh international’s finest moment.
These are just two examples of great memories that the Heineken Cup has given us, there are many more.
Who could forget ever forget the Hugh Vyvyan drop-goal against Biarritz or the bittersweet feeling of the Munster semi-inal?
The 2013/2014 season may signal the end of the Heineken Cup as we know it, but that’s one last season’s worth of memories still to be made.
Comments are closed on this article.