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A clash of pure rugby royalty

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'WOW', or as they spell it these days 'OMG' - can you really keep calm ahead of Sunday's winner-takes-all game at Welford Road in the Heineken Cup?

What a way to finish the pool stages of the best club competition in northern-hemisphere rugby, Leicester Tigers at home to Toulouse.

The fixture has a magical ring to it regardless of its context.

But how about Tigers versus Toulouse in front of a 24,000 crowd at Welford Road, with a Heineken Cup quarter-final place waiting for the winners? And elimination for the losers?

That is a script-writer’s dream setting, if not a great day for those of a nervous disposition.

With English and French clubs continuing to question the format of the tournament too, it is a sharp reminder to the organisers that this is what they could be missing.

It’s the two-time European champions against the four-time European champions, the most successful club in England against the most successful club in France, a contest of genuine rugby royalty.

Tigers were disappointed after letting the Ospreys score a late try to clinch a draw in Swansea last weekend, but you can surely temper that disappointment with how it must have felt to be in the Ospreys corner, out of Europe with one full round of fixtures still to play.

It is a tough pool and an uncompromising competition. Now it is all about Tigers and Toulouse.

There is not even a need to have a look at what’s happening elsewhere. The focus is only on our 80 minutes and then at the final whistle we’ll see where that puts us.

It’s the biggest European game at Welford Road since the 2007 quarter-final against Stade Francais. If you remember that one – or the headache and sore throat that followed it – then you’ll be experienced enough to prepare thoroughly for Sunday. And the 16th man in the stands will be as vital now as it was then.