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The 2008–09 Heineken Cup was the fourteenth edition of the Heineken Cup, the annual rugby union European club competition for clubs from the top six nations in European rugby. It started in October 2008 and ended on 23 May 2009 at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh. Irish side Leinster became the champions, defeating Leicester Tigers 19–16 in the final.[1]

2008–09 Heineken Cup
Tournament details
Countries England
 France
 Ireland
 Italy
 Scotland
 Wales
Tournament format(s)Round-robin and Knockout
Date10 October 2008 – 23 May 2009
Tournament statistics
Teams24
Matches played79
Attendance1,177,064 (14,900 per match)
Top point scorer(s)Ben Blair (Cardiff)
(99 points)
Top try scorer(s)Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster)
(5 tries)
Final
VenueMurrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance66,523
ChampionsIreland Leinster (1st title)
Runners-upEngland Leicester Tigers
← 2007–08 (Previous)
(Next) 2009–10 →

TeamsEdit

Seven French teams competed, as a French team, Toulouse, progressed further in the previous year's tournament than any English or Italian team.

Four Welsh teams competed, as Italy forfeited its place in the Italo-Celtic playoff[2] and a Welsh team were the highest-placed team in the previous year's Celtic league not to qualify otherwise.[3] Other nations had their usual number of participants: England six, Ireland three, Italy two and Scotland two.[4]

England France Wales Ireland Scotland Italy

SeedingEdit

The seeding system for participating teams changed from previous editions of the Heineken Cup. Previously, each participating nation would seed one of their teams and these six teams would be drawn in different groups at the group stage.[5] Starting with the 2008–09 edition, the 24 competing teams were ranked based on past Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup performance, with each group receiving one team from each quartile, or Tier.[6] The requirement to have only one team per country in each group however, still applied (with the exception of the inclusion of the seventh French team).[7]

The brackets show each team's European Rugby Club Ranking before the start of the 2008–09 season.

Tier 1   Munster (1)   Toulouse (2)   Biarritz (3)   Leicester Tigers (4)   Stade Français (5)   London Wasps (6)
Tier 2   Leinster (7)   Bath (8)   Gloucester (9)   Perpignan (10)   Sale Sharks (12)   Scarlets (13)
Tier 3   Ospreys (15)   Cardiff Blues (17)   Clermont (18)   Newport Gwent Dragons (20)   Ulster (21)   Castres (22)
Tier 4   Glasgow Warriors (24)   Benetton Treviso (25)   Edinburgh (28)   Calvisano (32)   Harlequins (35)   Montauban

Pool stageEdit

The draw for the pool stages took place on 17 June 2008 in Dublin.

Key to colours
     Winner of each pool, and two best runners-up,
advance to quarterfinals. Seed # in parentheses

Pool 1Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Munster (2) 6 5 0 1 18 6 12 161 98 63 2 1 23
  Sale 6 3 0 3 14 11 3 136 115 21 2 1 15
  Clermont 6 3 0 3 14 13 1 137 129 8 1 0 13
  Montauban 6 1 0 5 5 21 −16 81 173 −92 0 2 6

Pool 2Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Leinster (6) 6 4 0 2 15 3 12 140 70 70 2 2 20
  Wasps 6 4 0 2 9 12 −3 114 112 2 0 1 17
  Edinburgh 6 2 0 4 8 8 0 91 103 −12 1 0 9
  Castres 6 2 0 4 6 15 −9 73 133 −60 0 1 9

Pool 3Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Leicester Tigers (4) 6 4 0 2 23 6 17 191 90 101 3 2 21
  Ospreys (7) 6 4 0 2 17 3 14 155 71 84 2 2 20
  Perpignan 6 4 0 2 17 10 7 154 120 34 1 1 18
  Benetton Treviso 6 0 0 6 5 43 −38 72 291 −219 0 0 0

Pool 4Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Harlequins (3) 6 5 0 1 16 12 4 144 115 29 2 0 22
  Stade Français 6 3 0 3 13 11 2 131 109 22 1 2 15
  Ulster 6 2 1 3 13 13 0 113 134 −21 0 1 11
  Scarlets 6 1 1 4 12 18 −6 124 154 −30 0 2 8

Pool 5Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Bath (5) 6 4 1 1 13 8 5 107 92 15 2 1 21
  Toulouse (8) 6 4 1 1 12 8 4 121 88 33 1 1 20
  Glasgow 6 2 0 4 14 17 −3 134 150 −16 1 3 12
  Newport Gwent Dragons 6 1 0 5 8 14 −6 83 115 −32 0 3 7

Pool 6Edit

Team P W D L Tries for Tries against Try diff Points for Points against Points diff TB LB Pts
  Cardiff Blues (1) 6 6 0 0 23 9 14 202 99 103 3 0 27
  Biarritz 6 3 0 3 14 4 10 121 88 33 1 2 15
  Gloucester 6 3 0 3 17 12 5 156 109 47 2 1 15
  Calvisano 6 0 0 6 8 37 −29 87 270 −183 0 0 0

Seeding and runners-upEdit

Seed Pool Winners Pts TF +/−
1   Cardiff Blues 27 23 +103
2   Munster 23 18 +63
3   Harlequins 22 16 +29
4   Leicester Tigers 21 23 +101
5   Bath 21 13 +15
6   Leinster 20 15 +70
Seed Pool Runners-up Pts TF +/−
7   Ospreys 20 17 +84
8   Toulouse 20 12 +33
  Sale 19 14 +21
  Wasps 17 7 +8
  Biarritz 15 14 +33
  Stade Français 15 13 +22

Knockout stageEdit

The draw for the quarter-finals took place on 27 January at Murrayfield Stadium.[8]

Quarter-finalsEdit

11 April 2009
15:30
Cardiff Blues   9–6   Toulouse
Pen: Blair (3/3) 1', 30', 57'
Report Pen: Michalak (1/1) 5'
Skrela (1/1) 64'
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 36,728
Referee: Chris White (England)
11 April 2009
18:00
Leicester Tigers   20–15   Bath
Try: Dupuy 80' m
Pen: Vesty (5/5) 20', 22', 51', 55', 67'
Report Try: Berne 35' c
Maddock 64' m
Con: James (1/2)
Pen: James (1/2) 45'
Walkers Stadium, Leicester
Attendance: 26,100
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
12 April 2009
13:00
Munster   43–9   Ospreys
Try: Warwick 34' c
O'Connell 55' c
Earls (2) 63' c, 65' c
Con: O'Gara (4/4)
Pen: O'Gara (3/3) 14', 20', 50'
Drop: Warwick (2) 39', 58'
Report Pen: Hook (3/6) 16', 30', 45'
Thomond Park, Limerick
Attendance: 26,000
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
12 April 2009
15:30
Harlequins   5–6   Leinster
Try: Brown 65' m
Report Pen: Contepomi (2/2) 15', 39'
Twickenham Stoop, London
Attendance: 12,638
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
  • This match became notorious for the "Bloodgate" scandal. Quins coach Dean Richards was banned from rugby for three years for his role in faking an injury to wing Tom Williams so that Quins could send in a blood replacement. Williams himself was initially banned for a year, but after he revealed the full extent of the scheme, the ban was reduced to four months.[9]

Semi-finalsEdit

2 May 2009
17:30
Munster   6–25   Leinster
Pen: O'Gara (2/2) 18', 36'
Report Try: D'Arcy 30' m
Fitzgerald 42' c
B. O'Driscoll 61' c
Con: Sexton (2/3)
Pen: Sexton (1/1) 26'
Drop: Contepomi (1/1) 15'
Croke Park, Dublin
Attendance: 82,208
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
3 May 2009
15:00
Cardiff Blues   26–26 (a.e.t.)   Leicester Tigers
Try: Roberts 73' c
James 74' c
Con: Blair (2/2)
Pen: Blair (2/2) 14', 33'
Halfpenny 27', 35'
Report Try: Hamilton 21' c
G. Murphy 45' c
Con: Dupuy (2/2)
Pen: Dupuy (4/7) 24', 38', 54', 56'
  Penalties  
Blair  Y
N. Robinson  Y
Halfpenny  Y
Sweeney  Y
James  N
Shanklin  Y
Rees  Y
M. Williams  N
6–7  Y Dupuy
 Y Vesty
 Y G. Murphy
 N J. Murphy
 Y Hamilton
 Y Mauger
 Y Newby
 Y Crane
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Attendance: 44,212
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

FinalEdit

23 May 2009
17:00
Leicester Tigers   16–19   Leinster
Try: Woods 38' c
Con: Dupuy (1/1)
Pen: Dupuy (3/3) 8', 33', 42'
(Report) Try: Heaslip 49' c
Con: Sexton (1/1)
Pen: Sexton (2/3) 24', 70'
Drop: O'Driscoll (1/1) 5'
Sexton (1/1) 17'
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Attendance: 66,523
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Thornley, Gerry. "Leinster soar highest in bluest of blue days". The Irish Times. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Fourth team for Ireland or Wales in 2008/2009". European Rugby Cup. 6 May 2008. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ "Newport Gwent Dragons Secure 4th Heineken Cup Spot for Wales". European Rugby Cup. 7 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ "Heineken Cup – Key Tournament Rules". European Rugby Cup. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ "Heineken Cup Pool Draw Confirmed". European Rugby Cup. 11 June 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 8 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  6. ^ "ERC European Rankings (May 2008)". European Rugby Cup. Archived from the original on 11 May 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "ERC Draw Regulations (June 2008)". European Rugby Cup. Archived from the original on 20 June 2008. Retrieved 16 June 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ "Heineken Cup semi-final draw completed". European Rugby Cup. 27 January 2009. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ Benammar, Emily (2009-08-18). "Dean Richards ban: how 'Bloodgate' saga unfolded". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2009-08-18.