The Blues produced the finest performance in their history against Gloucester in the quarter-finals - and arguably the best display of quality rugby by any of the regions in their short existence.
Gloucester may not have helped themselves but the crispness of the handling, the incisive angles, the speed of thought, and the pace of the movements all backed up with irresistible power would have been too much for most international teams on that sunny afternoon. It was one of those exceptional days for any team when everything comes off. They are few and far between.
The Tigers will have watched the video of the Blues' victory and fast-forwarded through the pretty stuff and taken huge consolation from one thing, a penalty try at the scrum. This is the Blues' weakness and in equal measure it's the Tigers' strength.
Expect Leicester to commit numbers to every tackle area in an attempt to turn rucks into unresolved pile ups and consequently scrums. Expect them to take the option of the scrum whenever practicably possible. Expect them to use the high ball hoping for knock-ons and expect them to kick to touch, away from the deadly counter-attack of the Blues.
The Blues will be confident that they can win the game however it turns out. In three different matches, against Northampton, Toulouse and Gloucester they have played in contrasting styles and have displayed different qualities. They have all ended in victory.
I also believe that the Blues are up to this task. There is an air about them, an assuredness in every step and a certainty in each deed. What has brought about such a transformation from nearly men to winners is impossible to pinpoint, but they are a changed side.
The time is right for their blend of players. The ELVs suit them and the chemistry between them has formed strong bonds. I'm not predicting anything other than a hard fought win for the Blues. Their reward, a shot at immortality by beating Munster in the final.
The Heineken Cup enters the nailbiting phase and Wales has two teams with enough ability to grace the last four. We have said this before but invariably they fall short after a spirited effort.
That may change this season because both the Blues and the Ospreys are, on paper at least, good enough to force their way into the semi-finals. But will they make it this time?
Let's start with the Blues. They are a good side at the moment with strengths all round. It's the same team as last season, apart from the emergence of Leigh Halfpenny, so why do they appear so different?
I think that much of their improvement is due to a change in their attitude. The fragility that dogged the Blues, particularly away from home and also in big games, seems to have been replaced by a hardened resolve.
They won a mud-fight in Biarritz with outstanding defence and they then travelled to Kingsholm to face Gloucester where they turned a house of pain into the bungalow of mild discomfort. In both matches, you got the sense that they were never going to lose whereas in the past you knew they were never going to win.
However, I have two concerns regarding the Blues. Firstly, their scrum and, in particular, their tight head is a potential weakness. Good scrimmaging sides have demolished them at times. The other is the scrum-half. Jason Spice is a niggly player who occasionally lets the game consume him. The Blues will need numbers three and nine to be on their mettle.
Turning to the Ospreys, where do you start? No-one questions their individual talents or their desire to succeed. Their commitment is normally first class and we know they all have the temperament for a big occasion. But how many times has it been said?
Over recent weeks, the blitz defence and its mainly Osprey proponents has looked a liability. Diagonal kicks timed perfectly have made the system vulnerable. O'Gara unpicked the weakness behind the wingers against Wales in the Grand Slam decider more than once and Gloucester did the same against the Ospreys in the EDF semi-final.
The Ospreys will need to vary their tactics on Sunday because they are too easy to read at present. But it is in attack that the Welsh side has looked so disjointed. For once, they will need the cohesion that has eluded them to make a dent in the Munster defence.
This is James Hook's big moment. A controlling performance could make him a Lion and he needs to show everyone, including himself, that he has the stature to play fly-half at the very highest level.
Finally, it's time for the predictions. Those of you who have managed to reach the end of my articles over the years without going into a coma will know that I have been pretty dire lately at guessing the winners and losers. However, there has been something of a transformation of late. After dispatching little Jonny from the Scrum V prediction table last year, I also managed to top the table on the S4C pundit predictions this year. I'm on a hotter streak than Tiger Woods on steroids.
I predict that the Blues will win by five and that the Ospreys won't.
The Heineken Cup returns over the weekend and the stakes are even higher with eight teams left in the competition. Terrestrial highlights of the games can be seen on S4C.
Two Welsh regions are involved in this stage of the tournament - the Ospreys and the Blues - but their paths in reaching the quarter finals have been very different indeed.
Whereas the Ospreys managed to secure their place in the final eight with the best second place from the pool stages, the Blues have still not lost in the competition.
Nicky Robinson, the Blues' departing outside-half, thinks that they are not far off competing with the best teams in Europe. And where better to prove this than by lifting the Heineken Cup for the first time?
"We've reached this stage with a bit of luck and a lot of momentum from the group matches. The victory against Gloucester at the Millennium Stadium in the autumn was an amazing experience with everyone on the field enjoying that game. As we keep winning these games, our confidence is growing," explains Nicky, who has recently confirmed that he'll be leaving the Blues at the end of the season to join Gloucester.
But Toulouse, a team that has won the Heineken Cup on three occasions, stand in the way of the Blues and a place in the semi-finals.
Nicky, 27, says, "This is our chance to show what we can do. We have to perform on the day - we've got plenty of talent and experience in the squad and we've learnt a lot from playing with each other over the past few seasons.
"There is a feeling within the squad that we can go forward and reach the final - there's no reason why not!" he adds.
Gareth Roberts, Arthur Emyr and Gwyn Jones will present the highlights matches on Saturday and Sunday night, and Eleri Siôn joins Arthur and Gwyn with a special programme on Monday night looking back on all the weekend action.
Heineken Cup rugby returns to S4C this weekend with exclusive, free-to-air highlights coverage of the first-round clashes of the 2008/2009 tournament.
Three programmes broadcast on Saturday, 11 October, Sunday, 12 October and Monday, 13 October will feature highlights from the four Welsh regions' opening games, as well as other top Heineken action.
Throughout the season, Arthur Emyr and Gareth Roberts will present the Saturday and Sunday night highlights programmes, while Arthur joins Eleri Siôn and Gwyn Jones on Monday nights to analyse the weekend's games.
The opening weekend sees the Scarlets take on the Harlequins, the Ospreys travel to Leicester, the Blues challenge Calvasino and the Dragons welcoming Glasgow to Rodney Parade.
Geraint Rowlands, S4C's Content Editor Sport, says, "S4C is dedicated to providing viewers with top quality sport and the Heineken Cup is the biggest rugby tournament outside the international stage. After a thrilling competition last season, it's hard to predict a winner – it's anybody's for the taking.”
The Ospreys travel to Welford Road on Sunday afternoon to challenge the Leicester Tigers on home soil and the best of the action will feature in Cwpan Heineken at 7.30pm on Sunday evening.
Ospreys coach Sean Holley, Ospreys and Wales captain Ryan Jones and Shane Williams look ahead to the battle between the two sides.
"Selection has been very difficult for myself and Jonathan (Humphreys, fellow coach) as there are contenders in every position. There will be an electric atmosphere on the pitch and we're looking forward to the challenge. We've learnt from the loss against Saracens in the quarter-finals last season even though it was difficult to have it snatched away from us. We're far more experienced within the squad now."
"I'm very confident. I know what we're up against over the weekend – a great team who always play well in Europe and are really tough on home soil in Welford Road. We know what Leicester will bring to the pitch but the question is – are we good enough to win? I think we are.
"We will have to go up to Welford Road thinking that we can win the game and remembering that we've beaten them before. If we do that, we can win the game.
"I'm looking forward to the competition – it's one of the highlights for me. You know once the Heineken Cup begins, you'll be playing against the best teams and players in Europe and they are all difficult games. You have to be prepared for that because the standard is very high and only the best move on to the next round. We're ready – we've worked hard in the Magners at the start of the season and, although we're a little disappointed with our performance in the EDF last weekend against Harlequins, we're in the right frame of mind to head to Welford Road and win. "
"This is a very exciting part of the season and playing Leicester away from home is the best possible way to start the campaign IT should make for a great advert for European Cup rugby. It's become almost a romantic fixture – we've got a little bit of history between us and we know each other very well. It's really competitive between us – a great old-fashioned rivalry. Nothing excites the boys or the fans more than a cross-border challenge and Leicester are a fantastic club with a magnificent tradition."
© 2012 S4C
O Gymru / Made in Wales