Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

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Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 19 Apr 2016, 11:38 am

Saracens  v   Wasps
23/04/2016 15:00 Madejski Stadium Sky Sports / beIN Sports

Officials
Referee - Roman Poite
Touch Judge 1 - Jerome Garces (France)
Touch Judge 2 - Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO - Eric Gauzins (France)
Citing Commissioner - Stefano Marrama (Italy)


Form

9/4/16 Saracens 29 - 20 Saints 8,050
23/1/16 Toulouse 17 - 28 Saracens 12,498
16/1/16 Saracens 33 - 17 Ulster 9,642


9/4/16 Wasps 25 - 24 Chiefs 23,866
23/1/16 Wasps 51 - 10 Leinster 16,519
17/1/16 Toulon 15 - 11 Wasps 13,344


Teams

Saracens
15. Alex Goode; 14. Chris Ashton, 13. Duncan Taylor, 12. Brad Barritt, 11. Chris Wyles; 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Schalk Brits, 3. Petrus du Plessis, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. George Kruis, 6. Michael Rhodes, 7. Will Fraser, 8. Billy Vunipola
16. Jared Saunders , 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Titi Lamositele, 19. Jim Hamilton, 20. Jackson Wray, 21. Neil de Kock, 22. Charlie Hodgson, 23. Marcelo Bosch

Wasps
15. Charles Piutau; 14. Christian Wade, 13. Elliot Daly, 12. Siale Piutau, 11. Frank Halai; 10. Jimmy Gopperth, 9. Dan Robson; 1. Matt Mullan, 2. Carlo Festuccia, 3. Lorenzo Cittadini, 4. Joe Launchbury, 5. Bradley Davies, 6. James Haskell, 7. George Smith, 8. Nathan Hughes
16. Ashley Johnson, 17. Simon McIntyre, 18. Phil Swainston, 19. Sam Jones, 20. Thomas Young, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Ruaridh Jackson, 23. Rob Miller


Preview
The top two in the AP table meet at the Madj for the first all English semi-final since 2007, when Wasps beat Northampton. Since those heady days Wasps have made little impact on the top tier competition, while their opponents have been on the rise. This will be Sarries 4th semi-final in a row, and 5th in total (first in 2008). Sarries will be all too aware that they have lost all but one of those semi-finals so far and will be desperate to make their second final. To do so they know they have to play much better than they did in the 1/4 final, though it is fair to say that Wasps were not at their best in the 1/4s despite the thrilling come-back.
The last time these two teams met was during the 6Ns when Wasps visited Barnet and thrashed the reigning AP champs. While both teams were missing players, Sarries were worse affected and everything Wasps touched turned to gold that day. We should expect a much tighter game this weekend. Sarries will look to squeeze Wasps up front, then put massive pressure on their opponents back line. Wasps will need to execute their game plan with precision, fail to do so and Saracens will swamp them.





Leicester Tigers  v   Racing 92
24/04/2016 15:15  City Ground BT Sport / FR 2 / beIN Sports

Officials
Referee - Nigel Owens (Wales)
Touch - Judge 1 George Clancy (Ireland)
Touch - Judge 2 Leighton Hodges (Wales)
TMO - Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Citing Commissioner - Jeff Mark (Wales)


Form

10/4/16 Tigers 41 - 13 SF Paris 20,866
24/1/16 SF Paris 36 - 21 Tigers 12,073
16/1/16 Tigers 47 - 7 Treviso 19,076


10/4/16 Racing 92 19 - 16 Toulon 15,340
23/1/16 Glasgow 22 - 5 Racing 92 9,063
17/1/16 Racing 92 64 - 14 Scarlets 6,931


Teams

Leicester Tigers
15. Matthew Tait; 14. Telusa Veainu, 13. Peter Betham, 12. Manu Tuilagi, 11. Vereniki Goneva; 10. Freddie Burns, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Marcos Ayerza, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Dan Cole, 4. Dom Barrow, 5. Graham Kitchener, 6. Michael Fitzgerald, 7. Lachlan McCaffrey, 8. Opéti Fonua
16. Greg Bateman, 17. Logovii Mulipola, 18. Fraser Balmain, 19. Ed Slater, 20. Tom Croft, 21. Sam Harrison, 22. Owen Williams, 23. Adam Thompstone

Racing 92
15. Brice Dulin; 14. Joe Rokocoko, 13. Johannes Goosen, 12. Alexandre Dumoulin, 11. Juan Imhoff; 10. Dan Carter, 9. Maxime Machenaud; 1. Eddy Ben Arous, 2. Virgile Lacombe, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Luke Charteris, 5. Francois van der Merwe, 6. Wenceslas Lauret, 7. Bernard Le Roux, 8. Chris Masoe
16. Camille Chat, 17. Khatchik Vartanov, 18. Luc Ducalcon, 19. Manuel Carizza, 20. Antonie Claassen, 21. Mike Phillips, 22. Remi Tales, 23. Louis Dupichot

Preview
It is over 90 years since Leicester last met Racing. Fair to say things have changed just a little since the 1920's, and it is extremely doubtful that either side will warm up with a visit to a strip club as Tigers did on their first visit to France. Jacky Lorenzetti has spent big money assembling the star-studded Racing team, with Dan Carter surely the jewel in the crown. Even on one leg his class was enough to guide the Parisians to a narrow win over three-time champs Toulon. However they are far from a one man team with stardust sprinkled throughout the side. Racing's T14 form has stuttered in recent weeks and a largely second string team went down to Toulouse last week. With the big names coming in though, they are - on paper at least - far stronger than their English rivals. It is hard to see weaknesses in the Racing pack with an excellent second row pairing sandwiched by very powerful back and front rows. Tigers will be hoping that they can exploit a possible lack of speed in the back row, but cannot assume that their opponents will tire - or be as poor as their city rivals Stade were. It is to be hoped that Castro can keep his cool in any post match interviews this time.
Leicester have been like the little girl, when they are good they are very, very good but when they are not they are awful. This will be a huge test physically. The front five cannot give an inch while the back row have to win the battle of the breakdown. Secure a decent amount of possession and they have the backs to score tries from anywhere. However they need to be clinical both in attack and defence. Racing will exploit any dropped passes or defensive dog-legs.
This is Leicester's first semi-final since the unforgetable game in Cardiff in 2009, and Racing's first ever semi.


Last edited by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 12:07 pm; edited 4 times in total

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 19 Apr 2016, 11:39 am

OP will be updated as I have time and info.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by beshocked on Tue 19 Apr 2016, 12:05 pm

Good job Londontiger. OK notworthy

Too tough to call.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by munkian on Tue 19 Apr 2016, 12:21 pm

Feel sorry for Racing, Nigel seems to have it in for French teams.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 19 Apr 2016, 1:14 pm

"It is over 90 years since Leicester last met Racing. Fair to say things have changed just a little since the 1920's, and it is extremely doubtful that either side will warm up with a visit to a strip club as Tigers did on their first visit to France."

Excellent. Those were the good old days.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Wed 20 Apr 2016, 12:25 pm

Mainly French officials for the first semi, Welsh and Irish for the second. Scottish officials relegated to the Challenge Cup it seems.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by beshocked on Wed 20 Apr 2016, 12:28 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Mainly French officials for the first semi, Welsh and Irish for the second. Scottish officials relegated to the Challenge Cup it seems.

No English officials either.... OK notworthy Run

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by king_carlos on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 7:04 pm

I accept that with line-ups due tomorrow this is a day premature but with both Sarries and Wasps selection fairly easy to predict (mainly due to settled standouts) I'd been thinking about just how many interesting match-ups this game will present across the pitch.

Predicted line-ups:

M Vunipola, Brits, Du Plessis, Itoje, Kruis, Rhodes/Wray, Fraser, B Vunipola
Wigglesworth, Farrell, Wyles, Barritt, Taylor, Ahston, Goode

Reps: Saunders, Barrington, Lamositele, Hargreaves/Hamilton, Wray/Rhodes, De Kock, Hodgson, Bosch

Mullan, Festuccia, Cittadini, Launchbury, Davies, Haskell, Smith, Hughes
Robson, Gopperth, Halai, S Piutua, Daly, Wade, C Piutau

Reps: Johnson, McIntyre, Cooper-Wooley, Myall, Youngs, Simpson, Jackson, Miller

The obvious standout straight away is Billy V vs Nathan Hughes at number 8.

Elsewhere though there is Mullan vs Du Plessis and Mako vs Cittadini in the scrum.

Two strong international second row partnerships head to head - Kruis/Itoje vs Launchbury/Davies - Sarries will be looking to that as a key area to take an advantage from, especially pressuring Wasps in the line-out.

Fraser vs Smith is a massive chance for Fraser to put his hand up for the Aus tour.

Farrell vs Gopperth - 2 fly halves renowned for their kicking and composure. Farrell should come out on top but an interesting battle of very similar styles.

Daly vs Taylor - 2 centres who have been fantastic this season and will want to make a statement of international pedigree to their coaches.

Goode vs Charles Piutau - Piutau a simply exceptional player and All Black, Goode with a point to prove about his quality against the best. Goode's kicking and positioning will need to be spot on against that Wasps back three.

On top of that we also have Wade and Ashton on their respective right wings. Two English wingers with excellent try scoring records but questions about their defence. Both will be desperate to get on the plane to Australia for the summer.

It's shaping up to be a brilliant weekend of rugby! Very Happy

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by doctor_grey on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 7:20 pm

Great match-ups across the teams.  Should be a terrirfic day of Rugby.  

I admit I am hoping for a Wasps-Tigers final.  Just like the good old days.  Last time they met in the final, it was at Twickenham and I remember sitting on Britain's longest car park (aka M1) for hours on the way down to London. What year was that?

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 7:42 pm

2007 - It would have been the last leg of a treble for us, but we lost.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 8:09 pm

LondonTiger wrote:2007 - It would have been the last leg of a treble for us, but we lost.

I try to block that game out of my memory. Feckin short lineouts.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 8:30 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:2007 - It would have been the last leg of a treble for us, but we lost.

I try to block that game out of my memory. Feckin short lineouts.

So do I. The abuse we got from Wasps fans for leaving before the end was loud. But I curtseyed, waved and blew kisses.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by king_carlos on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 9:17 pm

My first game at Twickenham and one I remember more for the foul mouthed nonsense coming from the Tigers fans a couple of rows in front of me than for the rugby! I don't care how much of Simon Shaws gigantic boot was 'not five' screaming vitriol from the stands wasn't going to change the refs mind.

Not a fun one to watch for a Tiger though. From a LH who had spent most the season on loan taming Julian White in the scrum to a 19 year-old Cipriani at full back managing to stop a prime form Alesana down the left touchline. Then some pretender being subbed on for Dallagio with half an hour to go only to gallop most the pitch and almost score a third. It's easy to forget how quick Haskell once was thinking back to those days!

The less said about the attempts to defend the two short line-outs the better though.

A great tactical performance by Wasps though. There aren't many centre partnerships which players will have been less keen to run into than Waters and Lewsey.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by formerly known as Sam on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 9:58 pm

Wasps suffered once Walters retired, credit where it's due he was a defensive rock. Geech revealed later that Wasps had spotted the Tigers line out weakness during a regular season loss at WR but had kept it quiet and used it during the final instead.

Thankfully I wasn't at that game being a penniless student at the time. My first visit to Twickenham was for a regular season game vs Quins. My second visit some time later was considerably better thanks to Mr Hipkiss.

A Tigers vs Wasps final would be good. Though should we get through against Racing we are left facing teams that both gave us hidings away from Welford Rd.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by king_carlos on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 10:32 pm

I'd never heard that about Geech and planning ahead for the line-outs. That Wasps coaching set-up has a reputation as one of the best tactical think tanks ever though so it doesn't surprise me!

Tigers are looking better with each game but are still adept at mixing sublime play with moronic decisions. With Manu and Betham at centre the game plan for attack and defense seems to have become simple/direct though and it's suiting us well. Having Manu there as an easy out of poor ball is helping cut the brain farts down too.

Whether we have enough structure and decision making under pressure to beat Sarries in a final I'm unsure. Wasps vs Tigers would be a battle of fire against fire! There'd be plenty of opportunities for both sides.

http://www.epcrugby.com/europeanrugbychampionscup/news/32896.php#.VxlEeTArLIU

Racing are going to be missing Szarzewski, their skipper, and Nyanga for the semi. Bernard La Roux is struggling with a back knock but should make it.

Szarzewski is a big loss for leadership but replacement Camille Chat has a good reputation, not that I know much about him. He was picked ahead of Szarzewski for the 6 Nations for starters.

As for Carter, no news is probably good news from a Racing perspective. If he wasn't available I expect it would have been announced by now.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by broadlandboy on Thu 21 Apr 2016, 11:01 pm

Or they have been watching Cockers.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 8:14 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:Thankfully I wasn't at that game being a penniless student at the time. My first visit to Twickenham was for a regular season game vs Quins. My second visit some time later was considerably better thanks to Mr Hipkiss.

Was that first visit the draw with Ugo scoring in the corner? If so I almost gopt hypothermia that day as I gave my coat to my then young nephew who had not dressed for December in Twickenham.

As for the second trip do not forget Scotty's part.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 8:57 am

LondonTiger wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:Thankfully I wasn't at that game being a penniless student at the time. My first visit to Twickenham was for a regular season game vs Quins. My second visit some time later was considerably better thanks to Mr Hipkiss.

Was that first visit the draw with Ugo scoring in the corner? If so I almost gopt hypothermia that day as I gave my coat to my then young nephew who had not dressed for December in Twickenham.

As for the second trip do not forget Scotty's part.

It was the one where Ugo scored in the corner, Varndell getting nowhere near him with the tackle. We arrived slightly late having had a crash on the M1 just a few cars in front hold us up. Still better than watching Sarries kick us to death in the AP final the year after the dramatic win.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 9:08 am

Should be a couple of great games. Think Leicester will make it through but I'm really not sure on the other. Saracens look so strong but Wasps have been slick recently. A bit of beauty vs the beast in this, think I'm erring a little towards Wasps.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by rodders on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 9:25 am

Fancy 2 away wins here.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 9:31 am

Racing are favourites for the semi (only narrowly admittedly) for a reason. Their team is phenomenally strong, but they have been misfiring of late and even in the pool stages were half the team away from home compared to at home. If they are under par we can win, and while not as heavily as Montpelier did last month (60-7) certainly by a few. However if they deliver on potential we are in trouble.

The other semi is down to how well Wasps perform. When they get things right (Leinster twice, Toulon at home, Sarries in AP, Leicester at home) they are an irresistible force. However if they are forcing things rather than letting it flow they get dragged into an arm wrestle and seem to have little answer. They had the hardest pool of all the semi finalists and a tough semi. They should certainly be battle hardened. Sarries cannot afford to start as poorly as they did against Saints, and really need Fraser to control his discipline. He gave away so many needless penalties (and of course was binned) in the 1/4.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 11:06 am

Really tough to call either one. I can't write Tigers off either, can see Racing getting the lead for most of the game only for Leicester to score a try in the closing minutes, wouldn't be out of the ordinary either.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 11:10 am

Guscotts Preview


Does the man actually watch club rugby?

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by beshocked on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 11:19 am

Is it that Guscott thinks Wasps-Saracens will be fast and fluid compared to Leicester vs Racing that irks you?

I think he's wrong on that. If Saracens do triumph I expect it will be down to Sarries hurting Wasps at lineout time as king carlos mentioned in his own excellent preview. Good job. notworthy

Disrupting "attacking" sides like Quins and Wasps is of course the key to beating them. Kruis and Itoje as a combo have been deadly.

Sarries will need to up their performance from the displays they put on vs Quins and Saints. Particularly at the breakdown where Saracens have been surprisingly poor.

As for Leicester, I think they'll need to have Manu feature more, I personally thought he was invisible vs Saints, will need his input vs Racing. He's a talisman for Leicester. Carter will also be wary of Manu....

To be fair I've seen worse previews from Guscott.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by doctor_grey on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 12:05 pm

LondonTiger wrote:2007 - It would have been the last leg of a treble for us, but we lost.
Yeah, I remember. I also remember thinking the match was Tigers to lose and was was really surprised. especially since Wasps were going with a young untested Prop (can't remember his name). I had thought, but don't really know why, the short lineout suggestions and calls came from Ibanez.

I got to my seats right after kickoff and got some friendly abuse about not getting to my sets earlier. I had just spent 3 hours on that blasted M1 and now I was getting more stick. Everything was solved and happy after I bought a beer or two for the people in my area. I don't remember any problems with the supporters of either team. Weather was terrific (I think).

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 12:08 pm

OP amended with teams.

Leicester unchanged from last week, so BOC not over his illness. Real shame as though powerful the Racing back row still looks short on pace to me.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by sensisball on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 12:36 pm

From a Racing point of view a huge amount will depend on the fitness of many of their first choice players.

In recent weeks Szarzewski, Nyanga, Carter, Dumoulin, Chavancy and Laulala have picked up knocks.

If Carter, Szarzewski and at least one of the centres are actually fit I fancy a French win, otherwise Tigers would be slight favourites for me.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 12:45 pm

sensisball wrote:From a Racing point of view a huge amount will depend on the fitness of many of their first choice players.

In recent weeks Szarzewski, Nyanga, Carter, Dumoulin, Chavancy and Laulala have picked up knocks.

If Carter, Szarzewski and at least one of the centres are actually fit I fancy a French win, otherwise Tigers would be slight favourites for me.

Just the two in bold are in the matchday squad.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:01 pm

LondonTiger wrote:OP amended with teams.

Leicester unchanged from last week, so BOC not over his illness. Real shame as though powerful the Racing back row still looks short on pace to me.

No BOC is a massive blow. Croft is very lucky to be in the squad after his calamitous performance last week. Lucky for him he has some credit from the rest of the season. I'd prefer Bateman at 2 and Thacker in the backrow so we could use Fonua as impact and have Gilrildini as an experienced option for late on.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Sin é on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:04 pm

Very poor ticket sales - 36K for both semis.

76K last season in the semis when hosted in France.


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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by GunsGerms on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:10 pm

Sin é wrote:Very poor ticket sales - 36K for both semis.

76K last season in the semis when hosted in France.


The PRL ruined European rugby. The Heineken cup was infinitely more interesting that the soulless Anglo-French auction. No one really cares about it anymore.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:17 pm

Would be more interesting if the Pro 12 teams were better but they all seem to be going through a rough patch. Ironic the ticket sales seem to match the normal venues!

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by GunsGerms on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:21 pm

Pro 12 teams don't care about it any more. The league is where it at. Much more interesting.

Champions cup is bought by the highest bidder every year. It has become a pointless tournament

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:22 pm

laughing

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:23 pm

.


Last edited by LondonTiger on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Post was perhaps inflammatory, and this should be about teh semis and not history)

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Welly on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:25 pm

Tigers would be a near sellout IMO IF it wasn't for the fact that LCFC where playing at home on the same day in what could a be a huge historic game.




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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by mikey_dragon on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:35 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:laughing

What's funny? What Guns is saying now is exactly what we were told when the Irish teams were dominant in a fairer format.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Welly on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:37 pm

The current Irish teams are no where near standard of the Irish teams back then.

and how was it that much fairer?

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 1:40 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:laughing

What's funny? What Guns is saying now is exactly what we were told when the Irish teams were dominant in a fairer format.

Ha. It's the way you tell them.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Sin é on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 2:41 pm

Welly wrote: Tigers would be a near sellout IMO IF it wasn't for the fact that LCFC where playing at home on the same day in what could a be a huge historic game.




What poor scheduling then from the organisers. Surely they could have arranged the game so that they were not on the same day?


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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by thebandwagonsociety on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 2:44 pm

Welly wrote: Tigers would be a near sellout IMO IF it wasn't for the fact that LCFC where playing at home on the same day in what could a be a huge historic game.




Great times for the area in both sports.
Gut says Saracens strong arm Wasps over 80 minutes and Leicester ease through against a Racing side that won't quite perform on the pitch as well as the names read on the teamsheet.
Best of luck to all four teams though and hoping for some flowing rugby, stable scrums, straight lineouts, a proper offside line and a good few tries.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 3:11 pm

The scheduling is not good. Mid to late afternoon kick off on a Sunday with just under a fortnight to sell the tickets. Tigers are trying to put on an event and make a day of it but this game has come round too quickly.

Ah Guns chin up. The group stage games were entertaining and next year should be more so when more than just the Ospreys bother to show up. What did we lose by ditching one of the Italian teams?

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by nathan on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 5:31 pm

Sin é wrote:
Welly wrote: Tigers would be a near sellout IMO IF it wasn't for the fact that LCFC where playing at home on the same day in what could a be a huge historic game.




What poor scheduling then from the organisers. Surely they could have arranged the game so that they were not on the same day?

If they could of predicted Leicester city were just about to win the premier league they would be very rich indeed.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by theslosty on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 5:52 pm

European competition does need strong Irish provinces. The buzz for the Heineken Cup here was undoubtedly higher here than anywhere else. Consider the fact that in last year's final Twickenham was barely half-full, and compare that with the 2009 semi between Leinster and Munster which sold out over 80,000 seats in less than an hour.

Of course there have been some great rugby played in this year's tournament but it feels to me that some of the passion has been lost. This is entirely subjective so please don't shoot me down.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by formerly known as Sam on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 6:23 pm

nathan wrote:
Sin é wrote:
Welly wrote: Tigers would be a near sellout IMO IF it wasn't for the fact that LCFC where playing at home on the same day in what could a be a huge historic game.




What poor scheduling then from the organisers. Surely they could have arranged the game so that they were not on the same day?

If they could of predicted Leicester city were just about to win the premier league they would be very rich indeed.

Quite. However, City had all of their games in April rescheduled to Sundays at the tail end of February.

Also, what numpty decided a 3.15 kick off on a Sunday afternoon would facilitate travel to and from Paris? At short notice as well!

Theslosty I think the passion for it is still there but one third of the competition's fans lost interest early doors due to RWC hangovers. Despite some quality rugby there was always the axe to grind in some quarters over the change in qualification etc. We all want to see the Pro 12 teams bounce back next season.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 22 Apr 2016, 11:44 pm

Looking forward to both these games. Most have Saracens and Racing as favourites but there doesn't seem such an air of inevitability about the eventual winner as when Toulon were in their pomp.


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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Pot Hale on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 12:07 am

U
formerly known as Sam wrote:
nathan wrote:
Sin é wrote:
Welly wrote: Tigers would be a near sellout IMO IF it wasn't for the fact that LCFC where playing at home on the same day in what could a be a huge historic game.




What poor scheduling then from the organisers. Surely they could have arranged the game so that they were not on the same day?

If they could of predicted Leicester city were just about to win the premier league they would be very rich indeed.

Quite. However, City had all of their games in April rescheduled to Sundays at the tail end of February.

Also, what numpty decided a 3.15 kick off on a Sunday afternoon would facilitate travel to and from Paris? At short notice as well!

Theslosty I think the passion for it is still there but one third of the competition's fans lost interest early doors due to RWC hangovers. Despite some quality rugby there was always the axe to grind in some quarters over the change in qualification etc. We all want to see the Pro 12 teams bounce back next season.
English fans have deluded themselves with this notion of tougher qualification in the Pro12 and ignores the other more important financial factors involved. 

Unfortunately, it will take another 2-3 seasons for the truth to sink home.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by theslosty on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 1:15 am

To be fair, I don't think the provinces' decline is much to do with the new format, not yet anyway. They would have struggled regardless of the reforms. Success is cyclical.
However it does frustrate me that some like to belittle the likes of Munster and Leinster's achievements by claiming their success was all down to Pro12 qualification. They both had world class players, world class coaches and world class support.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by Rugby Fan on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 2:30 am

theslosty wrote:... it does frustrate me that some like to belittle the likes of Munster and Leinster's achievements by claiming their success was all down to Pro12 qualification. They both had world class players, world class coaches and world class support.
A lot of that is down to the response in Ireland itself.

A number of Pro 12 supporters regularly denied that guaranteed Heineken spots enabled their sides to manage players more effectively for European competition. Now, we often hear claims that changes to the cup format has instantly hurt the chances of the Pro 12 sides, and favoured the French and English. And yet the only change which could impact this year is the removal of guaranteed qualification.

Both cannot be true.

I think Pot Hale is more likely correct. If European competition has been undermined in any way by the changes, then it will take more seasons to show. By claiming, as some here do, that competition results already show chickens coming home to roost, it forces the conclusion that Pro 12 teams did have important advantages after all.

I think the Irish sides were well-worth their past victories, If they had shown the same form this season, they might well have been competing again in the final stages. They didn't, so they aren't.


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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

Post by theslosty on Sat 23 Apr 2016, 2:40 am

Rugby Fan
That's exactly what I am saying. The provinces' previous success or current lack of has little to do with the different qualification rules. All 4 provinces should qualify for Europe this year despite only Connacht having a positive season.

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Re: Champions Cup Semi-Finals - 23/24 April

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