Home wins are vi­tal, says Bath’s Claassens

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

DE­FEND­ING cham­pi­ons Le­in­ster, who lead Pool Three on seven points af­ter de­feat­ing Glas­gow but draw­ing with Mont­pel­lier, travel to sec­ond-placed Bath, the 1998 cham­pi­ons, in Heineken Cup ac­tion to­day.

Bath lost to Glas­gow War­riors be­fore sneak­ing past Mont­pel­lier 16-13 last time out.

“If you don’t win your home games you will be on the way out of the tour­na­ment – and you need to get at least a los­ing bonus point away from home as well,” said Bath scrumhalf Michael Claassens.

Bath are with­out flanker Lewis Moody, who is out of ac­tion for 10 to 12 weeks af­ter un­der­go­ing shoul­der surgery. But they will have South African flanker Fran­cois Louw and fly­half Stephen Don­ald avail­able.

Pool One lead­ers Scar­lets face former two-time win­ners Mun­ster with the Ir­ish side with­out former All Black flyer Doug Howlett who will miss the rest of the sea­son af­ter rup­tur­ing his Achilles in last week­end’s Celtic League de­feat to Ospreys.

Wales cen­tre Jonathan Davies is hop­ing to be fit for the Scar­lets’ dou­ble header (the teams will clash again next week) against the Ir­ish side, thereby giv­ing the Welsh a ma­jor fil­lip.

Davies, 23, had to sit out his coun­try’s 24-18 de­feat to Aus­tralia last Satur­day with a groin in­jury, but is hop­ing to pass a fit­ness test to re­sume bat­tle when the two-time Euro­pean cham­pi­ons visit this week­end.

“I am a lot more con­fi­dent about play­ing than I was last week. Hope­fully every­thing will be right,” Davies told re­porters.

“Ob­vi­ously I was gut­ted not to be able to be in­volved last Satur­day. It was a tough de­ci­sion but it was a wise one in the long term and hope­fully it will pay off with me be­ing able to play this week­end.”

In Pool Two, Ed­in­burgh face sec­ond-placed Cardiff in the Welsh cap­i­tal, hav­ing col­lected nine points from wins over Rac­ing-metro and Lon­don Ir­ish.

They will be buoyed by the knowl­edge that Cardiff will be with­out ex­pe­ri­enced flank Mar­tyn Wil­liams.

The 36- year- old former Welsh in­ter­na­tional has al­ready been out for three months with a bro­ken arm and has now suf­fered a re­cur­rence of the prob­lem in train­ing.

Pool Four sees 2001 and 2002 cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter go to Cler­mont with the Tigers two points clear at the top af­ter wins over Aironi and Ul­ster.

English Pre­mier­ship cham­pi­ons Saracens and Ospreys face off in Pool Five at Wem­b­ley with the Welsh side fea­tur­ing winger Shane Wil­liams, who played his last in­ter­na­tional against Aus­tralia last Satur­day.

Saracens played at Wem­b­ley last sea­son but went down to a 25-23 de­feat against Le­in­ster.

Last night saw the Cardiff Blues host Ed­in­burgh, Aironi play Ul­ster and Har­lequins take on Toulouse. – SAPA-AFP

TV To­day Heineken Cup Con­nacht v Glouces­ter, 3.15pm on SS6 Scar­lets v Mun­ster, 5.30pm on SS6 Saracens v Ospreys, 7.50pm on SS6 This week­end’s fix­tures TO­DAY Pool 1: Cas­tres v Northamp­ton, Scar­lets v Mun­ster Pool 2: Rac­ing Metro 92 v Lon­don Ir­ish Pool 5: Tre­viso v Biar­ritz, Saracens v Ospreys Pool 6: Con­nacht v Glouces­ter TO­MOR­ROW Pool 3: Bath v Le­in­ster, Glas­gow v Mont­pel­lier Pool 4: Cler­mont v Le­ices­ter

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