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The 2007–08 Heineken Cup was the 13th edition of the Heineken Cup, the annual rugby union European club competition for clubs from the top six nations in European rugby.

2007–08 Heineken Cup
Heineken Cup Final Cardiff 2008.jpg
Official logo
Tournament details
Countries England
 France
 Ireland
 Italy
 Scotland
 Wales
Tournament format(s)Round-robin and Knockout
Date9 November 2007 to 24 May 2008
Tournament statistics
Teams24
Matches played79
Attendance942,373 (11,929 per match)
Top point scorer(s)Glen Jackson (Saracens)
(123 points)
Top try scorer(s)Vincent Clerc (Toulouse)
Richard Haughton (Saracens)
Kameli Ratuvou (Saracens)
Aurélien Rougerie (Clermont)
(5 tries)
Final
VenueMillennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance74,417
ChampionsIreland Munster (2nd title)
Runners-upFrance Toulouse
← 2006–07 (Previous)
(Next) 2008–09 →

The start of the tournament was delayed because of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. After much doubt over the competition's future, caused by the threat of English and French clubs not participating, showdown talks ensured that teams from both countries would be competing in the 2007–08 tournament.[1] The cup was won by Munster, who succeeded London Wasps as European champions after a 16–13 win over Toulouse in the final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Contents

Italo-Celtic PlayoffEdit

The Italo-Celtic Playoff was a match played between the highest-placed Celtic League team not automatically qualified for the Heineken Cup and the third-placed Italian team to decide the 24th qualifying team. This year, the match was between Newport Gwent Dragons of Wales and Calvisano.

18 May 2007
Newport Gwent Dragons   22 – 15   Ghial Rugby Calvisano
Tries: A. Thomas 56' c
Charteris 71' m
Emerick 79' c
Con: Sweeney (2/3)
Pen: Sweeney 30'
Tries: Spragg 36' m
Bernabò 46' c
Con: de Marigny (1/2)
Pen: De Marigny 3'
Rodney Parade, Newport
Attendance: 5,326
Referee: Paul Debney (England)

TeamsEdit

Seven English teams participated, as an English team, London Wasps, progressed farther in the previous year's tournament than any French or Italian team.

Four Welsh teams competed, as a Welsh team won the Italo-Celtic playoff.

Other nations have their usual number of participants: France six, Ireland three, Italy two and Scotland two.

England France Wales Ireland Scotland Italy

Seeding and pool drawEdit

Each of the six participating nations nominated a top seed:

The draw then progressed as follows, with at no stage except the last a team being drawn into a pool containing a team from the same nation:

  • The seeded teams were drawn separately into each of the six pools.
  • Five of the six remaining English teams were drawn into five separate pools.
  • The five remaining French teams were drawn into five separate pools.
  • The three remaining Welsh teams were drawn into three separate pools.
  • The two remaining Irish teams were drawn into two separate pools.
  • The remaining Italian and Scottish teams were drawn into two separate pools.
  • The seventh English team was drawn into the final remaining pool spot.

The pools are shown below.

Competition formatEdit

In the pool matches, teams receive:

  • four points for a win
  • two points for a draw
  • a bonus point for scoring four or more tries, regardless of the match result
  • a bonus point for losing by seven or fewer points

Ties between two teams are broken in the following order:

  1. Competition points earned in head-to-head matches. For example, if tied teams are in the same pool, and split their head-to-head matches, but one team earned a bonus point and the other failed to do so, the team that earned the bonus point will win.
  2. Tries scored in head-to-head matches.
  3. Point difference in head-to-head matches.
  4. Tries scored in all pool matches. This is the first tiebreaker between teams in different pools, which can come into play for determining seeding among first-place teams (and did in 2007–08, with the top three pool winners all finishing on 24 points), or breaking ties among second-place teams.
  5. Point difference in all pool matches.
  6. Best disciplinary record in pool play. The team with the fewest players sent off or sin-binned during pool play wins.
  7. Coin toss.

The quarter-finals are seeded from 1 to 8. The six pool winners receive the top six seeds, based on their point totals. The top two second-place finishers are seeded 7 and 8. The seeds of the qualifying teams are in parentheses next to their names in the tables.

Pool stageEdit

The draw for the pool stages took place on 20 June 2007 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. The winner of each pool, plus the two best runners-up, qualify for the quarter-finals.

Pool 1Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  London Irish (2) 6 5 0 1 25 10 15 182 100 82 4 0 24
  Perpignan (7) 6 5 0 1 20 7 13 171 79 92 2 0 22
  Dragons 6 1 0 5 16 22 −6 117 191 −74 2 2 8
  Benetton Treviso 6 1 0 5 8 30 −22 107 207 −100 0 1 5

Pool 2Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Gloucester (3) 6 5 0 1 24 13 11 184 119 65 4 0 24
  Ospreys (8) 6 5 0 1 16 9 7 164 102 62 1 0 21
  Bourgoin 6 1 0 5 12 19 −7 118 174 −56 1 3 8
  Ulster 6 1 0 5 13 24 −11 102 173 −71 0 1 5

Pool 3Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Cardiff Blues (5) 6 4 1 1 12 7 5 124 76 48 1 1 20
  Stade Français 6 4 0 2 12 8 4 120 92 28 2 0 18
  Bristol 6 3 0 3 10 9 1 83 80 3 0 0 12
  Harlequins 6 0 1 5 7 17 −10 62 141 −79 0 0 2

Pool 4Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Saracens (1) 6 5 0 1 27 11 16 225 119 106 3 1 24
  Biarritz 6 4 0 2 9 11 −2 109 116 −7 1 1 18
  Glasgow Warriors 6 3 0 3 12 14 −2 130 127 3 1 3 16
  Viadana 6 0 0 6 13 25 −12 106 208 −102 2 1 3

Pool 5Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Munster (6) 6 4 0 2 13 7 6 148 95 53 1 2 19
  Clermont 6 4 0 2 22 15 7 189 128 61 2 1 19
  London Wasps 6 4 0 2 19 12 7 152 127 25 2 0 18
  Llanelli Scarlets 6 0 0 6 8 28 −20 74 213 −139 0 0 0

Pool 6Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Toulouse (4) 6 4 0 2 13 7 6 130 76 54 2 2 20
  Leicester Tigers 6 3 0 3 10 5 5 110 79 31 1 1 14
  Leinster 6 3 0 3 7 11 −4 95 123 −28 0 0 12
  Edinburgh 6 2 0 4 8 15 −7 85 142 −57 0 1 9

Seeding and runners-upEdit

Seed Pool winners Pts TF +/−
1   Saracens 24 27 +106
2   London Irish 24 25 +82
3   Gloucester 24 24 +65
4   Toulouse 20 13 +54
5   Cardiff Blues 20 12 +48
6   Munster 19 13 +53
Seed Pool runners-up Pts TF +/−
7   Perpignan 22 20 +92
8   Ospreys 21 16 +62
  Clermont 19 22 +61
  Stade Français 18 12 +28
  Biarritz 18 9 −7
  Leicester Tigers 14 10 +31

Knockout stageEdit

Quarter-finalsEdit

5 April 2008
15:00
London Irish   20 – 9   Perpignan
Try: Danaher 31' m
Pen: Hewat (5) 21', 24', 53', 56', 62'
(Report) Pen: Montgomery (3) 5', 27', 37'
Madejski Stadium, Reading
Attendance: 16,048
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
5 April 2008
17:30
Gloucester   3 – 16   Munster
Pen: Lamb 67'
(Report) Try: Dowling 37' m
Howlett 61' m
Pen: O'Gara (2) 15', 49'
Kingsholm, Gloucester
Attendance: 16,500
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
6 April 2008
12:30
Saracens   19 – 10   Ospreys
Try: Leonelli 42' c
Con: Jackson 43'
Pen: Jackson (3) 10', 15', 59'
Drop: Jackson 78'
(Report) Try: James 74' c
Con: Hook 75'
Pen: Hook 2'
Vicarage Road, Watford
Attendance: 18,214
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
6 April 2008
16:00
Toulouse   41 – 17   Cardiff Blues
Try: Medard 1' c
Kunavore 61' c
Clerc 71' c
Bouilhou 78' m
Con: Elissalde (3) 2', 62', 72'
Pen: Elissalde (3) 5', 22', 59'
Drop: Elissalde 27'
Heymans 80'
(Report) Try: Spice 17' c
Blair 67' c
Con: Blair (2) 18', 68'
Pen: Blair 27'
Stadium Municipal, Toulouse
Attendance: 35,070
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Semi-finalsEdit

26 April 2008
15:00
London Irish   15 – 21   Toulouse
Try: Ojo 20' c
Tagicakibau 44' m
Con: Hewat
Pen: Hewat 15'
(Report) Try: Ahotaeiloa 34' m
Nyanga 38' c
Con: Élissalde
Pen: Élissalde (3) 11', 48', 51'
Twickenham, London[2]
Attendance: 30,559
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)[a]
27 April 2008
15:00
Saracens   16 – 18   Munster
Try: Ratuvou 5' c
Con: Jackson
Pen: Jackson (3) 43', 57', 71'
(Report) Try: O'Gara 25' m
Quinlan 40' c
Con: O'Gara
Pen: O'Gara (2) 8', 62'
Ricoh Arena, Coventry[2]
Attendance: 30,325
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

FinalEdit

24 May 2008
17:00
Toulouse   13 – 16   Munster
Try: Donguy 54' c
Con: Élissalde 54'
Pen: Élissalde 40+1'
Drop: Élissalde 10'
(Report) Try: Leamy 33' c
Con: O'Gara 34'
Pen: O'Gara (3) 39', 51', 64'
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 74,417
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)[4]

The final was hosted at the neutral Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, and refereed by Welsh referee Nigel Owens. Toulouse kicked off and managed to regain possession.[5] Toulouse dominated the early parts of the game,[6] and although they missed a penalty goal five minutes into the game, scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Élissalde successfully kicked a drop goal after eight minutes to give them a 3–0 lead. Toulouse continued to dominate territory but Munster winger Doug Howlett made a break in the 29th minute setting up a ruck close to the Toulouse try-line. Munster number eight Denis Leamy then broke from a ruck and attempted to place the ball over the try-line, but lost it forward in the process. From the resulting scrum, Toulouse were pushed off their own ball and Munster gained possession from which Leamy scored. The try was converted by Ronan O'Gara to give Munster a 7–3 lead after 33 minutes.[5][6] Three minutes later, Munster were awarded a penalty after Toulouse captain Fabien Pelous was caught not rolling away in the ruck. O'Gara kicked the penalty to extend Munster's lead to 10–3. On the 40-minute mark, Leamy was penalised for going into a ruck off his feet and Élissalde kicked the penalty to reduce Munster's lead to four points at half-time.[5]

Ten minutes into the second half, Munster centre Rua Tipoki threw a pass that would have given a try to Howlett, but the pass was deemed forward. One minute later Toulouse's Pelous kicked Munster flanker Alan Quinlan after Quinlan had stood on Pelous' hand.[7] After the intervention of touch judge Nigel Whitehouse, Pelous was shown a yellow card for his part in the incident and sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes. O'Gara kicked Munster's resulting penalty to give his team a 13–6 lead after 51 minutes.[5] Three minutes later, Toulouse fullback Cédric Heymans threw the ball into himself, then kicked ahead before collecting his own kick. He then chipped ahead which Toulouse's Yannick Jauzion kicked once more before wing Yves Donguy grounded the ball to give Toulouse a try. Elissalde converted the try to tie the scores at 13–13 after 54 minutes. Pelous returned from the sin-bin in the 61st minute, and four minutes later was penalised yet again for not rolling away in the ruck. O'Gara kicked the penalty which gave Munster a 16–13 lead. For most of the remaining time, Munster employed the pick-and-go technique, where the forwards would drive the ball from ruck to ruck in an effort to retain possession and use up time. Munster were penalised in the 78th minute after 17 phases of play; the ball was kicked downfield by Toulouse who counter-attacked. Munster turned the ball over, however, and won a kickable penalty with ten seconds left on the clock. Referee Nigel Owens stopped the clock until the penalty was taken; because of the risk of Toulouse recovering possession, the options of kicking for goal and kicking for touch were ruled out. Instead, Ronan O'Gara tapped the penalty and went into contact. With the ten seconds used up, the ball became unplayable in the collapsed maul, Owens blew the final whistle, and Munster had won 16–13.[5][6]

StatisticsEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Alain Rolland, also of Ireland, was originally scheduled to be referee, but was forced to withdraw due to injury.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-05-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b "Semi-final venues announced". ERCRugby.com. European Rugby Cup. 1 April 2008. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
  3. ^ "Referee change". ERCRugby.com. European Rugby Cup. 24 April 2008. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  4. ^ "Nigel Owens named as Heineken Cup final referee". ERCRugby.com. European Rugby Cup. 8 May 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e Orlovac, Mark (24 May 2008). "2008 Heineken Cup final - As it happened". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 26 May 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
  6. ^ a b c Standley, James (24 May 2008). "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 26 May 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2008.
  7. ^ Hands, David (26 May 2008). "Munster secure second Heineken Cup title". The Times. London: Times Newspapers. Retrieved 26 May 2008.