On Sunday, I saw last year's other finalists, the holders - London Wasps. The English club will play better than this and lose this season but there was enough in their performance against
Biarritz to suggest that once again Wasps are up for the fight. The turnovers were worrying but their ability to turn up the heat when realising the opposition were floundering, is a big plus for Warren Gatland's men.
As for Biarritz, an unusual negativity surrounded their display and they take the underachieving prize on the first weekend. Why have all those exciting backs and tell them to kick (badly!)?
The match of Round One well, that was in Paris. Stade Francais and Gloucester put on an excellent show. Gloucester must be kicking themselves that they didn't get at least a bonus point. Again, this could be crucial.
So to week two...
Cardiff Blues (Wal) v Stade Francais (Fra)(KO 7.45pm)
LIVE on Sky Sports 2, 7.00pmThis is our first live game of the weekend and I'm really looking forward to going back to the Arms Park.
For anybody who grew up watching rugby in the seventies, then this venue is a little bit special. The problem for the Blues is that although they are trying to carve out a new history as a Welsh region, the weight of previous endeavours by the Cardiff club can weigh heavily on the shoulders.
The Blues could have won their opening match in Ulster but didn't. They could have won so many of their group games last season but didn't. Now they simply have to win or it could be the fourth year in a row that they have failed to qualify for the quarter-final stage.
Stade Francais, under the new leadership of Fabien Galthie, will be exceptionally pleased with their winning start against Gloucester. They have a whole host of top stars missing from their side but they can still call on household names to enable them to play with the kind of flair that we saw against the men from Kingsholm.
Cardiff will use their big pack to full effect. The backs, minus the Robinsons, Nicky and Jamie, have struggled but, driven on by the fear of failure, this could be their night. Stade should not be taken lightly, at home or indeed away, just ask Leicester and Munster last season. The head says Stade and my formal prediction is a French win but here's hoping that the Blues can find the killer touch at the key moments, unlike the Scarlets against French opposition last weekend.
Toulouse (Fra) v Glasgow(Sco) (Delayed) Sky Sports 2, 9.30pmGlasgow fought bravely in the mud and wet against Northampton knowing they had a chance of winning that game. I'm not sure that they will have the same level of confidence going into a match in the Toulouse den!
The French should make it two out of two and get their first tries of the tournament following the kicking contest at Stradey Park.
Bourgoin (Fra) v Treviso(Ita) (KO 6.30pm)
Treviso did not make life easy for Leinster in their opening match but a trip to Bourgoin is no way to ease the pain of defeat. Bourgoin will be looking to inflict more hurt on the Italians after their tryless and 'bonus pointless' performance in Bath.
Another French home win is the easy prediction on Friday night. But, remember, Treviso beat Bourgoin last year when they met on Italian soil.
Another massive day of Heineken Cup action on Sky Sports with three LIVE matches and three other Pool games taking place...here are my thoughts on Saturday's encounters.
Northampton (Eng) v Llanelli (Wal)(KO 1pm)
LIVE on Sky Sports 2, 12.30pm
The Harrison/Barnes fun bus moves onto Franklin's Gardens for Sky Sports' first live game of the day. How relieved Northampton must have been following their win at Hughenden. It was tight and unattractive but the conditions were poor and for the Saints, a win is a win at the moment. This match is a repeat of last season's group-decider when the Llanelli Scarlets went to Northampton and pulled off an excellent win. It is also a repeat of the thrilling semi-final between the two in 2000 when the Saints won in Reading by just three points. For the Scarlets this already falls into the 'must win' category - a point made by Scott Quinnell on the European Rugby Special programme on Sunday. So can the Scarlets go to Franklin's and do it again? The answer to that is obviously yes - given that the Saints have been struggling to find their form this season and that the Scarlets have so many good players. The worry is that two key men involved in the win last season are not going to be in England's East Midlands this weekend. Stephen Jones, now in France, was badly missed last Friday and Robin McBryde is injured. I thought Mathew Rees did a really good job at hooker but Arwel Thomas failed to convince at fly-half.
This has to be as difficult as they come. The nature of this column is that I have to predict the games I commentate on to create a running score. A bit of fun, yes, but on this occasion it is turning out to be headache inducing. I just can't split them. A draw therefore might not be a bad shout!
Calvisano (Ita) v Wasps (Eng) (KO 3.00pm)
Wasps will be resting a few players but that does not mean that they will be taking this fixture lightly. Gatland and Edwards are too canny for that. A great place for the fans to go and the wine will match the scenery.
Sadly for Calvisano, they should fail to match the champions.
Biarritz (Fra) v Leicester (Eng) (KO 3pm) LIVE Sky Sports 2, 2.45pm
This is our second live game on Saturday. Cancel all prior engagements (that is if you were silly enough to make any) and stand by for the test of this Leicester Tigers team.
The Tigers have been going well in the English Premiership and bagged the expected five points against Calvisano last Saturday. But to go to Biarritz, who need to win to keep alive their European Cup Final dream, is another matter. The French are power personified on their own patch and the Tigers will need to strain every sinew. Great stuff!
The fence is starting to creak beneath me on this one and when it collaspses I don't have a clue which side I'll land on...nothing for it then but to go for a draw!
Harlequins (Eng) v Castres (Fra)(KO 3pm)
Quins were perhaps the bravest team in the first round of matches. Their strong effort at Thomond Park flew in the face of some of their weaker offerings earlier in the season. But Castres looked pretty strong themselves at home to the Ospreys and they will travel to Quins in good heart. This group could be wide open on Sunday night or it could be a two-horse race between Munster and Castres.
It's do or die again for the home team.
Gloucester (Eng) v Ulster (Ire) (KO 3.00pm)
Talking of do or die - Gloucester have left themselves with no option but to win at home to Ulster. All that early creativity in Paris and nothing to show for it! Ulster, having scrapped their way to a win at home to the Cardiff Blues, at least go into this match with less pressure on them than their opponents.
Everybody will be expecting Gloucester to win and that just might suit hot-shot Humphreys and his men. But Gloucester will be smarting from the result in Paris and have beaten Munster for the last two seasons at Kingsholm - they will start as favourites.
Leinster (Ire) v Bath (Eng) (KO 5.15pm) LIVE Sky Sports 2, 5.00pm
The third live match of the day on Sky Sports is the meeting of the top two sides in Pool 2 and a trip that so many Bath fans have been looking forward to has at last arrived.
Dublin, one of the best places around to watch your rugby, will offer a great welcome in the bars and hotels but not on the pitch. Leinster want this badly and they will go hard at the much praised Bath pack.
The second row contest between O'Kelly and Grewcock will be action-packed and O'Driscoll versus Tindall in the centre should put us all on the edge of our seats. Denis Hickie gives the home side's back line that extra zip this season but beware those Bath forwards.
If Leinster can get on top of the Bath pack - they should win.
More LIVE rugby on Sky Sports as we bring you action from another two matches...here's what I think will happen in both plus Newcastle's clash with Perpignan.
Edinburgh (Sco) v Newport/Gwent Dragons (Wal)(KO 1pm)
LIVE on Sky Sports 2, 12.30pmThe Dragons must have been one of the most frustrated teams come the end of the first weekend. Yes, Newcastle played well to win but with their vocal home support and the feel-good factor going into the game, the Dragons would have expected to be the ones to carve out the victory. In the end, it never happened and all the first-half promising attacks fizzled out in second-half sogginess.
Edinburgh are still looking for their first points after their trip to Perpignan and I don't mean in the final column of the pool table! To be 'nilled' is never good for any team but they are back at home this weekend and that should help significantly.
The Dragons must win this if they are to live up to their pre-tournament billing. It won't be easy though because Edinburgh have learnt a lot after their foray into the last eight last season.
Edinburgh have to win but then so do the Dragons and, if the Welshmen can show anything like their Celtic League form, they should win. But Europe makes teams dig that little bit deeper, just look at what Edinburgh achieved last season.
Newcastle Falcons (Eng) v Perpignan (Fra) (KO 2.30pm)
Newcastle have struggled to impose themselves in the English Premiership so far this season. But in Europe there was much more bite about their performance and Perpignan, finalists in 2003, will feel uneasy about a trip to Kingston Park even without Jonny to face. In response, Perpignan's Bernard Goutta and Co. will try to give Newcastle a European lesson. Fascinating again!
This is an opportunity for Newcastle to really make a statement in the Heineken Cup and I've got a feeling that they just might take it.
Neath/Swansea Ospreys (Wal) v Munster (Ire) (KO 3.00pm) LIVE Sky Sports 2, 2.30pm
Munster looked edgy and far from their best against Harlequins. They cannot afford to be anywhere near that kind of state on their visit to Wales to play the Ospreys. The Neath-Swansea outfit went into their first match in Castres in fine fettle but having lost, maybe it's their turn to feel nervous about a now precarious-looking position.
This tournament can swallow sides up in quicksand in the space of a week. This will be a fantastic occasion and a great atmosphere. He who dares will win. Don't miss it!
This sell-out will be an absorbing contest. Munster's European experience should see them through but the match represents a potential banana skin and the Irish boys will know it! Desperately close again.
There we have it...another packed weekend in the life of the Heineken Cup. Attendances for the first weekend hit record levels and, if you are thinking of going along to sample the flavour for the first time this weekend, then don't think, just act...it's a brilliant experience.
If you can't make it then join the Sky Sports rugby team, either live or for the highlights show on Sunday, and we'll make sure that you don't miss a try or pass that matters!