European Knockout stages - who's going through?

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European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Pot Hale on Sun 10 Jan 2016, 8:02 pm

After five rounds, the qualifiers for knockout stages have three teams nominated - Leicester, Saracens and Racing 92.

Currently, as it stands, the order of teams involved in qualification is:

1. Saracens 24
2. Leicester 23
3. Racing    22
4. Ospreys 16 +12
5. Toulon 16 +0
6.  Wasps 15 +73
7. Clermont 14 +30
8. Stade Français 14 +53
9. Saints 14 -11
10. Ulster 13 +7
11. Exeter 11 -19
12. Bordeaux Begles 11 -23

Ulster play Oyonnax first and need a TBP plus as many points as possible to build their low PD.
Toulouse play Saracens. Nothing in it for Toulouse. Saracens will want the TBP ideally to secure top spot and a potential home semi.
Bath then host Toulon, whilst Wasps host Leinster. Toulon need a TBP and a good improvement in their points difference to set a target for Ospreys in their match the following day against Exeter to get the final home quarter.
Leinster could do Ulster a favour if they can continue their winning form and beat Wasps in Coventry - not likely though.
Racing don't have much in the game against Glasgow in Rugby Park as they can't drop lower than 3rd spot.
Saints need to get the full five points against Scarlets and hope other results go their way.
Leicester will know the results of the Racing and Saracens games before they take the pitch. They could drop a place to third but would still have home advantage. State Francais need the win to ensure they get a best runner-up spot.
Exeter host Ospreys with the Welsh club looking to top their group and win a potential home semi-final.
Clermont, at the same time, will hope Exeter do them a favour and they can win at home against UBB.
Lots to play for still.


Last edited by Pot Hale on Sun 17 Jan 2016, 9:25 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Riskysports on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 12:05 pm

Who has the biggest Salary budget, could be the title too :-)

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Pot Hale on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 8:30 pm

The massive interest on this forum in the European Cup continues.....

Tumbleweed

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by TJ on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 8:38 pm

Hardly surprising given its format is badly degraded and contains much less interest for many of us - and the PRL got what they wanted - more english clubs going thru and less pro 12. Pro 12 showing this year tho is very poor even given that. Perhaps the worst since it started

I expect viewing figures to fall greatly. the TV coverage has been much worse this year with as the TV companies didn't invest much in it. NO effective sponsership either. A far cry from what we were told it would be.

I expect that next year it will be worse again. I expect in a few years it will have to be revamped again to regain the interest and to make it less of a franglo cup or it will die completely

Such a shame and exactly what I predicted would happen. Its what happens when a few club chairmen are given too much power. No broad oversight and no aim other than to maximise revenue for those few club chairmen

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by VinceWLB on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 8:50 pm

Apples and oranges.

I will take this tournament seriously again once there is a Salary Cap and that all teams are on equal footing.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Pot Hale on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 9:02 pm

TJ wrote:Hardly surprising given its format is badly degraded and contains much less interest for many of us - and the PRL got what they wanted - more english clubs going thru and less pro 12.  Pro 12 showing this year tho is very poor even given that.  Perhaps the worst since it started

I expect viewing figures to fall greatly. the TV coverage has been much worse this year with   as the TV companies didn't invest much in it.  NO effective sponsership either.  A far cry from what we were told it would be.

I expect that next year it will be worse again.  I expect in a few years it will have to be revamped again to regain the interest and to make it less of a franglo cup or it will die completely

Such a shame and exactly what I predicted would happen.  Its what happens when a few club chairmen are given too much power.  No broad oversight and no aim other than to maximise revenue for those few club chairmen

There's two Pro 12 teams in the mix still, and if they win their games could go through.

Not much wrong with that. Two from Pro 12, 2 from England, 3 from France and 1 from Saracens. Seems about right in league terms in a league-based cup format.


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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LondonTiger on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 9:19 pm

The people not interested in new tournament, would still be not interested if the old format had been kept (well except for Embra fans I guess).

Most fans only cared/care when their team is in contention. It is much easier to blame others when your team is on the slide than actually look at your own team's failings.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by nathan on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 9:22 pm

LondonTiger wrote:The people not interested in new tournament, would still be not interested if the old format had been kept (well except for Embra fans I guess).

Most fans only cared/care when their team is in contention. It is much easier to blame others when your team is on the slide than actually look at your own team's failings.
So very true.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LondonTiger on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 9:36 pm

And boy we have been poor in Europe since 2009. Our style of play deteriorated and results in the HEC and ECC were ample demonstration of that. However that we were able to keep kicking butts in the small pond that is the AP perhaps hid our problems. These problems are far from solved, and we have been helped by having an easy group, but we may actually be improving - and may be genuine contenders for the top title next season.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Notch on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 10:05 pm

Feel like Ulster need at least a bonus point away to Saracens... will be tough. And of course to score four tries and win against Oyonnax. 18 points is possibly enough to qualify us, 19 would be much more reassuring. We could use some of the results in other groups going our way next week, like the Ospreys losing at home to Clermont or Munster beating Stade in Limerick. Or a Glasgow-Saints draw!

We still have a great chance of scraping through, though, as we have Oyonnax at home in Round 6 and we'll know exactly what we need. But an extra point picked up on the road against Sarries would make me feel a lot more comfortable.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by TJ on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 10:29 pm

LondonTiger wrote:The people not interested in new tournament, would still be not interested if the old format had been kept (well except for Embra fans I guess).

Most fans only cared/care when their team is in contention. It is much easier to blame others when your team is on the slide than actually look at your own team's failings.

Not at all. Seeing matchups across nations and with different playing styles and ethos grabs the interest. There is now less of this and its a less even playing field with the huge range of budgets. Its just not a interesting now. Still been a few good games. I have seen almost every game despite my team not being in it. But its duller

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 10:50 pm

LondonTiger wrote:The people not interested in new tournament, would still be not interested if the old format had been kept (well except for Embra fans I guess).

Most fans only cared/care when their team is in contention. It is much easier to blame others when your team is on the slide than actually look at your own team's failings.

The old format had seeding implications right through to the final round for teams not qualifying. This format doesn't so already after round 4 nearly half the teams have nothing to play for but pride and consequently there is no wider hook for fans.

Now that the Pro12 teams can't rest players, the big money teams with quality squads have a massive advantage, so the playing field is tilted in favour of the AP and Top14 (as indeed everyone said it would be). The smart sides will use their remaining games to develop their youngsters, and not risk limited resources in pointless fixtures.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by TJ on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 10:58 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
Now that the Pro12 teams can't rest players, the big money teams with quality squads have a massive advantage, so the playing field is tilted in favour of the AP and Top14 (as indeed everyone said it would be). The smart sides will use their remaining games to develop their youngsters, and not risk limited resources in pointless fixtures.

Stop with this canard - its been proven again and again that pro 12 teams did not rotate squads any more than ap teams

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by The Great Aukster on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:04 pm

TJ wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
Now that the Pro12 teams can't rest players, the big money teams with quality squads have a massive advantage, so the playing field is tilted in favour of the AP and Top14 (as indeed everyone said it would be). The smart sides will use their remaining games to develop their youngsters, and not risk limited resources in pointless fixtures.

Stop with this canard - its been proven again and again that pro 12 teams did not rotate squads any more than ap teams

Do you think Glasgow should rotate their squad now to protect their best players?

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by TJ on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:10 pm

I think they should play the fringe players to give them experience Whistle . Glasgow actually rotate continuously throughout the year and across both competitions. Best for player welfare as the internationalists would end up playing 50 games if they did not

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Pot Hale on Mon 11 Jan 2016, 11:43 pm

Think you're right about the bonus point, Notch.

Sarries should top the pool. Ulster should beat Oyonnax at home, and could get a bonus point. But they should get 17 points at least.

It's the best three runners up. So which of the two that are currently out of it likely to make a comeback?

Pool 5 is interesting because Toulon are odds-on to take points off Bath or Wasps - or possibly both. Leinster are improving and I suspect that Cullen won't field an understrength team against Bath at the RDS or Wasps at Coventry.

So Wasps or Toulon could come through and win the group, leaving Toulon on 14-16 points or Wasps on 18 points.

Could Northampton win both their matches against Scarlets and Glasgow and get 18 points? Possibly. But they have been brittle of late. I don't think so.




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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by TJ on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 12:00 am

Glasgow are pretty well out, have a lot of injury issues etc so I would not be surprised if Saints took 5 pts there as glasgow concentrate on the league.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by bedfordwelsh on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 6:54 am

Well as a Dragons fan my interest in this tournament is usually always as a neutral Sad but if those 8 were to get through then that I think is fair reflection

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by beshocked on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 8:59 am

VinceWLB wrote:Apples and oranges.

I will take this tournament seriously again once there is a Salary Cap and that all teams are on equal footing.

There isn't a salary cap in Ireland..... Irish teams have had an unfair advantage for years.


One reason the Irish clubs are struggling is because now Irish clubs actually have to qualify for the top tier European competition instead of being handed qualifications spots on a platter. This means they have to put more resources into the Pro12. They can no longer treat the Pro12 with contempt.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 9:02 am

TJ wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:The people not interested in new tournament, would still be not interested if the old format had been kept (well except for Embra fans I guess).

Most fans only cared/care when their team is in contention. It is much easier to blame others when your team is on the slide than actually look at your own team's failings.

Not at all.  Seeing matchups across nations and with different playing styles and ethos grabs the interest.  There is now less of this and its a less even playing field with the huge range of budgets.  Its just not a interesting now.  Still been a few good games.  I have seen almost every game despite my team not being in it.  But its duller

It's about leagues not nations. Hug

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 10:56 am

I think this year has been a downer for me because Glasgow have been way off the pace and the vast quantities of rugby on terrestrial tv during the World Cup. It is a hangover of watching so much (especially when you all of a sudden discover Super 15 can be taped on Sky and then you see the ITM/Currie cup, then WC, then Northern Hemisphere). You talk about player fatigue!


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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by ScarletSpiderman on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:03 am

VinceWLB wrote:Apples and oranges.

I will take this tournament seriously again once there is a Salary Cap and that all teams are on equal footing.

How does a salary cap help. All it does is drag the standards of the better sides down to the level of the lesser sides. That does not help improve the Cup at all, if anything it just makes it weaker, purely because the lesser sides are not capable of generating the sort of revenue the better sides can. Instead of moaning about needing a salary cap to make a level playing field, maybe these lesser sides should concentrate on increasing their income? Or at least that is what I have heard mentioned else where when salary caps have been mentioned for other competitions.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by ScarletSpiderman on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:04 am

Riskysports wrote:Who has the biggest Salary budget, could be the title too :-)

Don't the Ospreys have a far lower salary budget than the majority of sides in the competition? Yet somehow they are still in contention.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by brennomac on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:23 am

Given the way Toulon are playing right now, by no means certain they will top their pool or even get one if the three runner-up slots. Not getting a BP at home to Bath could seriously come back to haunt them.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Notch on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:29 am

They have Wasps at home and Bath away. I think if they lose one they might go out. But I'm not sure I expect them to lose one.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by beshocked on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:33 am

Agree scarletspiderman I am sure you'll find that Toulouse have a higher salary base than most clubs in the competition - yes even Saracens and yet they look likely to not make the quarter finals.

Bath who are meant to be a high salary base are struggling in the AP and not doing particularly well in the ERCC.

Sadly you're always going to certain sides that make it easier for sides to get best runners up spot or qualification:

Treviso and Oyonnax in particular this time.


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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:48 am

Pot Hale wrote:The massive interest on this forum in the European Cup continues.....

Tumbleweed
I didn't answer because I genuinely don't know. I had low expectations for English sides (not related to the World Cup showing) so it's been a surprise to see they way they started. I still have a nagging feeling that they flatter to deceive, however, so I fear later pool results going against them.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by thebandwagonsociety on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:53 am

beshocked wrote:
VinceWLB wrote:Apples and oranges.

I will take this tournament seriously again once there is a Salary Cap and that all teams are on equal footing.

There isn't a salary cap in Ireland..... Irish teams  have had an unfair advantage for years.


One reason the Irish clubs are struggling is because now Irish clubs actually have to qualify for the top tier European competition instead of being handed qualifications spots on a platter. This means they have to put more resources into the Pro12. They can no longer treat the Pro12 with contempt.

Irish clubs are struggling because they haven't performed well enough.

When Leinster were winning the HC, they were also in the top 4 of the pro12 each year, reaching pro12 finals a number of times.
Equally Munster were regularly in the top 4 of the pro12 each year and progressing in the HC.
Their performances in HC and pro12 weren't mutually exclusive.

Performances are more down to aging key players, retirements, unfortunate coach appointments (pushing through inexperienced people to top positions too soon).
And more importantly other sides playing better than us (have to give them credit for stepping up and improving also, raising the bar the Irish teams have to meet).

If anything the change in qualification might help irish clubs this season. Munster might qualify in the 6th spot under the current rules, whereas only Connacht/Leinster/Ulster would make the top euro competition under the old rules if things finished as they currently lay.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by rodders on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 12:52 pm

beshocked wrote:
VinceWLB wrote:Apples and oranges.

I will take this tournament seriously again once there is a Salary Cap and that all teams are on equal footing.

There isn't a salary cap in Ireland..... Irish teams  have had an unfair advantage for years.


One reason the Irish clubs are struggling is because now Irish clubs actually have to qualify for the top tier European competition instead of being handed qualifications spots on a platter. This means they have to put more resources into the Pro12. They can no longer treat the Pro12 with contempt.

Utter rubbish beshocked.

Munster haven't been genuine contenders since 2008. When you factor in the loss of O'Connell, ROG, David Wallace, Leamy, Howlett etc. since then they are a long way from the team that made 5 finals.

Leinster are still finding their way post Schmidt and are also in a period of rebuilding or decline- depending if you see the glass half full or empty.

Ulster look set to reach the QF, despite a lot of injuries and loss of key players in the past couple of seasons - if so that is there or thereabouts where they have been in the previous competition.

All are finding it difficult to recruit top players/coaches with the IRFU tightening up on overseas signings and competing with the increasing spending power in France and England.

When you factor in the re structuring of the seeding's and a RWC hangover for a lot of players then its not a major surprise to see the Irish sides struggle.  

All these sides are probably performing worse in the pro12 than usual, not better.

Also the standard of the prem sides has been growing for a number of years - led by Saracens and now Wasps so well done for that.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Shifty on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 1:00 pm

Nothing has really changed between either tournament, and to be fair what the English and French wanted was a fair representation between 3 different leagues.

As for resting players, well the ospreys rested AWJ, Tipuric and a few others for last weeks game against Leinster, so they'd be fit for the make or break tie against Clermont next Friday. So yes were still resting players before HC games.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by rodders on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 1:20 pm

Shifty wrote:Nothing has really changed between either tournament, and to be fair what the English and French wanted was a fair representation between 3 different leagues.   

Actually quite a lot changed.

The ERC rankings used previous results and rewarded consistency in Europe over a number of seasons - so team who previously had done better received higher ranking and more favorable pools. Now this is based on league position - whereas the old rankings favoured teams like Munster, Leinster, Toulouse now the top league teams are benefiting, which tend to be those with big squads and financial resources.

The money previously was distributed evenly among the unions - now the pro12 are getting proportionally a lot less of the pot, which is stretching the financial gap between the AP/Top 14 and pro12.

There are issues specific to the Irish provinces but as a general this new competition certainly is more weighted towards teams with more money than the previous one, and as the rewards are also bigger and proportionally distributed to such teams too then a vicious circle has been created - similar to soccer in the 1990s, that won't be stopped now but will accelerate in coming seasons.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 1:26 pm

So the Pro 12 got more money and that suited them fair enough. Not really fair on the other 2 leagues though.

At the end of the day clubs form goes round in cycles. The irish teams have lost a lot of very very good players whereas you're starting to see some of the players involved in Englands U20s squads get established into club teams and gel well. Always going to be a bit of a switch.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 1:45 pm

For me the European cup has been ruined. Ruined by greedy and corrupt businessmen who do not give two frigs about the rugby only ££££'s. This was brought to bare when the salary cap fiasco reared it's ugly head and the PRL swept it under the carpet.

The European competition has lost it's glean. It is no longer exciting, and the promises that were given have been broken, and lets not get started with the second tier competition, that thing is a farce.

Where are all these pound notes we are all supposed to be swimming in ? Where are all these new sponsors ?

It all started with Peter Wheeler grizzling after Ospreys knocked Leicester out of Europe in the group stages years ago, he did not like it, and the next thing we know the PRL are formed, and we have started to go away from rugby and more into money.

For me the European competitions have been poisoned, never again will they fill me with the excitement that the old HC used to. I used to look forward to mini internationals, teams of different styles pitting their wits against each other,now all I see are rich clubs monopolising the cash cow for their own greedy ends.

It's a travesty. European rugby is dying on it's feet. The leagues are starting to take more and more priority over it. It will not be long before the European club competitions are gone. The will dwindle the same as the EDF cup has, and it will be a shame.

Too many French V French games, too many English V English games, too many French V English games, it's more like a franglo cup rather than an European cup.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 1:49 pm

It's been confirmed that moneys gone up LD. It'll come back round to Pro 12 teams dominating for a few years again, no one stays on top forever.

I counted through the fixtures the last few years there are no more same league vs same league games than before the change.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 2:00 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I counted through the fixtures the last few years there are no more same league vs same league games than before the change.

Well in Ospreys group there are Clermont and Bordeaux for a start. Then in another group you have Toulouse and Oyonnax, then in another group you have Wasps and Bath. Never before did we have this, so you cannot be right.

The money has only gone up because of the silly amount BT have paid for it, the sponsorship money has gone down, and down significantly, BT sport will not keep ploughing in this money, it would not make sense for them to do it.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 2:03 pm

Yes I am, there were loads. Go back and count it up yourself if you don't believe me.

Money wise at present it's better then. Future is the future I don't know who they'll get but you're right there's a lot of focus on money in the French and English leagues so I wouldn't bet against a lot more money coming in.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 2:18 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Money wise at present it's better then. Future is the future I don't know who they'll get but you're right there's a lot of focus on money in the French and English leagues so I wouldn't bet against a lot more money coming in.

They already had that deal with BT in place, a deal that should never have been signed. The PRL promised further riches with 5 major sponsors coming on board and a more competitive second tier with better games and more money for that as well.

NONE of that has been delivered, it was all built on lies and false promises. I bet I will next be told, that we need to give them a chance, but we were promised this from the outset, we were not told that these sponsors will eventually come, we were told they were lined up ready to plough their money into this new bright and shiney CC, all everyone needed to do was to agree and sign up and there will be so much money we will not know what to do with it, ALL LIES.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 2:21 pm

No I'm sure you're right and there'll be less money involved. Sounds like the Franglos that.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Cyril on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 2:24 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I counted through the fixtures the last few years there are no more same league vs same league games than before the change.

Well in Ospreys group there are Clermont and Bordeaux for a start. Then in another group you have Toulouse and Oyonnax, then in another group you have Wasps and Bath. Never before did we have this, so you cannot be right.
I'm sure it was shown in another thread that this hasn't increased much (if at all) based on previous tournaments.

What about all the Pro12 v Pro12 games?

Cyril

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 2:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:So the Pro 12 got more money and that suited them fair enough. Not really fair on the other 2 leagues though.

At the end of the day clubs form goes round in cycles. The irish teams have lost a lot of very very good players whereas you're starting to see some of the players involved in Englands U20s squads get established into club teams and gel well. Always going to be a bit of a switch.

What you're saying is that the Pro12 got more money that was 'unfair', but that they also happened to have better players that they don't have now. Do you not think the two are related?

Most fans would accept that the TOP14 players get the most money, and the AP are striving to match them - the Pro12 is a distant third. Generally those differentials are reflected by the ever increasing gulf in results. The teams with the highest quality players in the most numbers will statistically win their competitions more often than not. There is no cyclical pattern but rather one that shows success in proportion to investment.

Once Toulon bought their success, every other French team were on catch-up to spend more heavily. The AP teams now realise they need to spend more just to hang on to their coat-tails, and it is no coincidence that the AP salary cap misdemeanors have been quietly brushed under the carpet. The PRL know they have to have at least one or two teams truly competitive in Europe to retain their collective market value aspirations. The Pro12 teams have no such funding nor the numbers to generate it so in this decade they will gradually become more and more marginalised as they fall farther behind.

In business if someone can't pay their way they go into liquidation. The EPCR now operates as a business rather than a sporting organisation, so in that sense it is probably fair that those teams who can invest the most, get the biggest returns.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:00 pm

Maybe to some extent Auk but also they've lost some of the 'home grown' Irish legends as well. it's always going to hit short term to every team when you lose quality players. The money could come into ie to replace POC go out and throw money at a Launchbury etc. Would Ireland want that though?

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by lostinwales on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:11 pm

Yet another thread about Europe that began sensibly starts to spin out of control.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:19 pm

Anyway I reckon if Ospreys win one game out of their remaining two they should be through.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by Cyril on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:22 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Maybe to some extent Auk but also they've lost some of the 'home grown' Irish legends as well. it's always going to hit short term to every team when you lose quality players. The money could come into ie to replace POC go out and throw money at a Launchbury etc. Would Ireland want that though?
The quality of the NIQ players in the provinces is definitely lower than it was a few years ago when players like Elsom, Howlett, Nacewa (back when he was good) were playing. Ulster have lost some of their SA leadership too.

Welsh regions and the Scottish sides are about the same as they were before ie not particularly good.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by ScarletSpiderman on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:26 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I counted through the fixtures the last few years there are no more same league vs same league games than before the change.

Well in Ospreys group there are Clermont and Bordeaux for a start. Then in another group you have Toulouse and Oyonnax, then in another group you have Wasps and Bath. Never before did we have this, so you cannot be right.

I believe there used to be 2 pro12 teams in each group in the old HEC days.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:27 pm

ScarletSpiderman wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:I counted through the fixtures the last few years there are no more same league vs same league games than before the change.

Well in Ospreys group there are Clermont and Bordeaux for a start. Then in another group you have Toulouse and Oyonnax, then in another group you have Wasps and Bath. Never before did we have this, so you cannot be right.

I believe there used to be 2 pro12 teams in each group in the old HEC days
.

At least they would be from different countries. OK

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:30 pm

And?

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:And?

That means more variety. More interesting.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by wayne on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:32 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Anyway I reckon if Ospreys win one game out of their remaining two they should be through.
I think you need to rethink that comment Lord, we have 12 points if we win and lose one we will probably get 16 or 17 points, that will unlikely get us in as a best 3 runner up,either  Exeter or Clermont will beat that, it will need Bordeux to beat Exeter this weekend, us to beat Clermont and if Exeter beat us we should be above them, and then Bordeux to beat Clermont, all those results need to fall that way for a win and a loss to get us through, the only sure way is for us to win both, which is very unlikely. With the injury news coming out of our camp I expect us to lose both I'm sorry to say.

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

Post by LordDowlais on Tue 12 Jan 2016, 3:35 pm

wayne wrote:With the injury news coming out of our camp I expect us to lose both I'm sorry to say.

That would be the most likely outcome wayne. Are you going Friday night ?

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Re: European Knockout stages - who's going through?

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