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European Quarter Finals

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theslosty
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formerly known as Sam
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Post by neilthom7 Wed 04 May 2022, 3:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

It's straight knockout time in both European competitions with the Quarter finals this weekend starting with the all English Challenge Cup Quarter on Friday night. Plenty of rugby and some scintillating games to look forward to.

All Times UK and Ireland time and games on BT Sport in UK and beIN Sports in France.

Friday 6th May 2022

Gloucester v Saracens- Kingsholm, Gloucester- 20:00- Challenge Cup

Saturday 7th May 2022

Edinburgh v Wasps- DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh- 12:30- Challenge Cup
Munster v Toulouse- Aviva Stadium, Dublin- 15:00 KO- Champions Cup
La Rochelle v Montpellier- Stade Marcel Deflandre, La Rochelle- 17:30 KO- Champions Cup
Leicester Tigers v Leinster- Welford Road, Leicester- 17:30 KO- Champions Cup
Lyon v Glasgow Warriors- Malmut Stadium De Gerland, Lyon- 20:00- Challenge Cup

Sunday 8th May 2022

Toulon v London Irish- Stade Felix Mayol, Toulon- 12:30- Challenge Cup
Racing 92 v Sale Sharks- Paris La Defense Arena, Paris- 15:00- Champions Cup

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 16 May 2022, 1:17 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

I'm not sure how you get to that conclusion Mikey, even if they do win the EC this time round.

In reality, you could say they aren't even the best Leinster side ever with the one of 2009-12 returning 3 HC's in 4 years.....this side have a long way to go to get close to that level. That's before we even get into the fantastic Saracens and Toulon sides of the last 10 years.

Leinster look a great team, backed with an amazing squad and one of the biggest budgets in club rugby. They are probably the best team in the NH currently.......best team ever, they are not.

Before looking at their win ratio and points difference which is very much in their favour, you could take into account their No. of wins, finals, QF, semi's, etc. All of this whist scoring high on the entertainment spectacle.

When I said best ever, I was taking into consideration the last 10 years. Leinster have been on top that long, pretty much Sexton's whole career with them. The class of 2009 vs now, well that's up for much debate.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did, Sarries will come back within a year or 2 as well.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 17 May 2022, 5:05 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

I'm not sure how you get to that conclusion Mikey, even if they do win the EC this time round.

In reality, you could say they aren't even the best Leinster side ever with the one of 2009-12 returning 3 HC's in 4 years.....this side have a long way to go to get close to that level. That's before we even get into the fantastic Saracens and Toulon sides of the last 10 years.

Leinster look a great team, backed with an amazing squad and one of the biggest budgets in club rugby. They are probably the best team in the NH currently.......best team ever, they are not.

Before looking at their win ratio and points difference which is very much in their favour, you could take into account their No. of wins, finals, QF, semi's, etc. All of this whist scoring high on the entertainment spectacle.

When I said best ever, I was taking into consideration the last 10 years. Leinster have been on top that long, pretty much Sexton's whole career with them. The class of 2009 vs now, well that's up for much debate.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did, Sarries will come back within a year or 2 as well.

Fair point but I think you may be forgetting some of the great sides over the last 10 years. Lets look at EC stats alone for the last 10 years.....

Leinster have......................2 EC wins............................4 Finals
Saracens have....................3 EC wins.............................4 Finals
Toulon have........................3 EC wins.............................3 Finals
Clemont/Racing...................0 EC wins............................3 Finals

Leinster are certainly up there but are behind Toulon and Saracens currently for me.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did

Not really....Leinster had that amazing side at the turn of the decade (2010ish) and then went a little on the decline for a number a years. This is shown somewhat with no EC final appearance for 6 years in the middle.

Going on the stats and my terrible memory, Toulon were the best side 2010-15 and Saracens 2015-2020. What makes that Saracens side standout for me is even though they were cheating the Premiership salary cap, they weren't getting close to what Leinster and the French sides were spending at the same time.....it's quite something.

I can't see any English side competing with the big spenders for a few years until the Premiership cap goes back up.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 17 May 2022, 8:10 am

Not sure that Saracens will ever get back to their previous levels given they won't be able to afford to if the checks are in place properly.

Leinster are properly class, would have been interesting to see them against Sarcens from 3 years back. That Clermont team were wonderful to watch.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 17 May 2022, 9:44 am

Leinster did dip a bit when Matt O'Connor took over. A man well out of his depth. Then Sexton went on his sabbatical, BOD retired etc. There was quite a bit of upheaval. The job Leo Cullen has done is quite fantastic, he doesn't get anywhere near the credit he deserves in my opinion. Rebuilt the team, brought through lots of talent, the backroom staff was sorted out and they are winning trophies with a really good brand of rugby.

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Post by Heaf Tue 17 May 2022, 11:42 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Heaf wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Heaf wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Decent try from Arundell

Yes indeed - another one of quite a few now in fact - just need to keep hold of him now.

Yeah, Wales are keeping a close eye on him Smile.


warning

They can join the queue, both England and Scotland are already there. Players as explosive as him are rare, won't just be at international level he'll have suitors either.

Sorted - phew Very Happy

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Post by geoff999rugby Tue 17 May 2022, 12:32 pm

He’s playing for London Irish, must have an Irish granny somewhere Very Happy

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 17 May 2022, 1:32 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

If they win the final well it will be a fair call. In that case they will be probably be the most convincing champions ever having so far trashed the top 14 league leaders by about 80 points, easily dispached the Gallagher premiership leaders away from home and thrashed the reigning champions.

It will be meaningless of course if they dont win the final. The below rugby predictor has the score at 26-30 which I feel is about right. They also predicted a 23 point win v Toulouse.

https://rugby4cast.com/rugby-predictions/la-rochelle-v-leinster-champions-cup-2021-22-round-9-prediction/

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Post by Heaf Tue 17 May 2022, 2:16 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:He’s playing for London Irish, must have an Irish granny somewhere Very Happy

He's been selected for the England training camp so hopefully that's him locked in now Hug

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 17 May 2022, 2:16 pm

Heaf wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:He’s playing for London Irish, must have an Irish granny somewhere Very Happy

He's been selected for the England training camp so hopefully that's him locked in now Hug

Like Redpath.

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Post by Heaf Tue 17 May 2022, 2:25 pm

I think he's less of a risk of loss than Redpath whose dad played for Scotland though ... just hope they cap him in July to seal the deal.

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Post by theslosty Tue 17 May 2022, 3:10 pm

It's all subjective really but for me the best side I've seen win the cup would be Joe Schmidt's Leinster who won it back to back in 2011 and 2012. They just seemed to take things to a new level with their accuracy and speed with their finest moment being the thrilling victory over a very strong Clermont away in Bordeaux in the 2012 semi.

Toulon assembled an amazing side but I had a slight feeling they had benefitted from that Leinster team reaching the end of their cycle and Saracens were still a couple of years away from reaching their peak. I didn't really get the impression they were unbeatable especially given pretty average Munster and Leinster sides nearly knocked them out in the 2014 and 2015 semis respectively.

Saracens themselves obviously very strong and made up the spine of England and Lions teams at the time plus heavy-duty additions in the likes of Koch and Skelton.

The current Leinster team under Cullen and Lancaster runs Schmidt's version very close, in fact man for man they're probably stronger and dominate the Ireland team even more so. They really ought to have added another crown since their 2018 triumph but have come unstuck against teams that are heavier in the tight 5. That would be the concern going in to the final vs La Rochelle given how that contest went last year but Leinster should be better equipped this time round given Porter now starts at LH, Kelleher and Sheehan have come on and Doris is available. The only type of player they really lack is a really heavy tighthead lock.

Not hard to notice that there's a bit of slightly resentful chatter regarding Leinster and their wage budget. However they haven't signed any overseas galacticos in years and the vast majority of their squad is produced by their own academy. I realise IRFU central contracts help them hang on to the likes of Furlong and Sexton but if it was simple as that then Ulster, Munster, Edinburgh, Glasgow, the Welsh regions would be right up there with them.
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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 17 May 2022, 3:11 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

I'm not sure how you get to that conclusion Mikey, even if they do win the EC this time round.

In reality, you could say they aren't even the best Leinster side ever with the one of 2009-12 returning 3 HC's in 4 years.....this side have a long way to go to get close to that level. That's before we even get into the fantastic Saracens and Toulon sides of the last 10 years.

Leinster look a great team, backed with an amazing squad and one of the biggest budgets in club rugby. They are probably the best team in the NH currently.......best team ever, they are not.

Before looking at their win ratio and points difference which is very much in their favour, you could take into account their No. of wins, finals, QF, semi's, etc. All of this whist scoring high on the entertainment spectacle.

When I said best ever, I was taking into consideration the last 10 years. Leinster have been on top that long, pretty much Sexton's whole career with them. The class of 2009 vs now, well that's up for much debate.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did, Sarries will come back within a year or 2 as well.

Fair point but I think you may be forgetting some of the great sides over the last 10 years. Lets look at EC stats alone for the last 10 years.....

Leinster have......................2 EC wins............................4 Finals
Saracens have....................3 EC wins.............................4 Finals
Toulon have........................3 EC wins.............................3 Finals
Clemont/Racing...................0 EC wins............................3 Finals

Leinster are certainly up there but are behind Toulon and Saracens currently for me.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did

Not really....Leinster had that amazing side at the turn of the decade (2010ish) and then went a little on the decline for a number a years. This is shown somewhat with no EC final appearance for 6 years in the middle.

Going on the stats and my terrible memory, Toulon were the best side 2010-15 and Saracens 2015-2020. What makes that Saracens side standout for me is even though they were cheating the Premiership salary cap, they weren't getting close to what Leinster and the French sides were spending at the same time.....it's quite something.

I can't see any English side competing with the big spenders for a few years until the Premiership cap goes back up.

I wouldn't discount Sarries or Toulon, I'm well aware of how good they both were over the last decade. Clermont are chokers that go hot and cold, I've never seen anything quite like it. Racing probably worth a mention I bet.

Leinster might not have been the best during that few years where MOC came in, Sexton and BOD moved on, but I thought they were still consistently good - saying they weren't good over no final appearances is quite harsh to be fair - if we were talking about any other team we'd be saying they had a good year. There was one year, 2015-16 I believe, where nobody was great bar the English teams who dominated the competition that season. It wasn't until Lancaster joined that Leinster became a great team again, Leo got off the hook easily there. For me they are a great team, I'll put my neck out and say it Smile. Who else has a 2nd team capable of beating most others in both competitions?

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 17 May 2022, 3:11 pm

Heaf wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Heaf wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Heaf wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:Decent try from Arundell

Yes indeed - another one of quite a few now in fact - just need to keep hold of him now.

Yeah, Wales are keeping a close eye on him Smile.


warning

They can join the queue, both England and Scotland are already there. Players as explosive as him are rare, won't just be at international level he'll have suitors either.

Sorted - phew Very Happy

Is he coming to Dragons as Jonah Holmes' replacement?

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Post by Heaf Tue 17 May 2022, 4:04 pm

Just read up about Holmes - bit of an odd history - seems to have dropped from being on the verge of playing for Wales to ending up in the English Championship - quite a fall.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 17 May 2022, 4:43 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:
Sgt_Pooly wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

I'm not sure how you get to that conclusion Mikey, even if they do win the EC this time round.

In reality, you could say they aren't even the best Leinster side ever with the one of 2009-12 returning 3 HC's in 4 years.....this side have a long way to go to get close to that level. That's before we even get into the fantastic Saracens and Toulon sides of the last 10 years.

Leinster look a great team, backed with an amazing squad and one of the biggest budgets in club rugby. They are probably the best team in the NH currently.......best team ever, they are not.

Before looking at their win ratio and points difference which is very much in their favour, you could take into account their No. of wins, finals, QF, semi's, etc. All of this whist scoring high on the entertainment spectacle.

When I said best ever, I was taking into consideration the last 10 years. Leinster have been on top that long, pretty much Sexton's whole career with them. The class of 2009 vs now, well that's up for much debate.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did, Sarries will come back within a year or 2 as well.

Fair point but I think you may be forgetting some of the great sides over the last 10 years. Lets look at EC stats alone for the last 10 years.....

Leinster have......................2 EC wins............................4 Finals
Saracens have....................3 EC wins.............................4 Finals
Toulon have........................3 EC wins.............................3 Finals
Clemont/Racing...................0 EC wins............................3 Finals

Leinster are certainly up there but are behind Toulon and Saracens currently for me.

That Toulon team was probably the best ever assembled, they couldn't sustain it. Leinster can and did

Not really....Leinster had that amazing side at the turn of the decade (2010ish) and then went a little on the decline for a number a years. This is shown somewhat with no EC final appearance for 6 years in the middle.

Going on the stats and my terrible memory, Toulon were the best side 2010-15 and Saracens 2015-2020. What makes that Saracens side standout for me is even though they were cheating the Premiership salary cap, they weren't getting close to what Leinster and the French sides were spending at the same time.....it's quite something.

I can't see any English side competing with the big spenders for a few years until the Premiership cap goes back up.

I wouldn't discount Sarries or Toulon, I'm well aware of how good they both were over the last decade. Clermont are chokers that go hot and cold, I've never seen anything quite like it. Racing probably worth a mention I bet.

Leinster might not have been the best during that few years where MOC came in, Sexton and BOD moved on, but I thought they were still consistently good - saying they weren't good over no final appearances is quite harsh to be fair - if we were talking about any other team we'd be saying they had a good year. There was one year, 2015-16 I believe, where nobody was great bar the English teams who dominated the competition that season. It wasn't until Lancaster joined that Leinster became a great team again, Leo got off the hook easily there. For me they are  a great team, I'll put my neck out and say it Smile. Who else has a 2nd team capable of beating most others in both competitions?

Lancaster joined, Sexton came back and two years later they did the double I think. A lot of the credit for the success seems to be put at the feet of Lancaster but the stories that came out after his reign as England head coach were not positive and his tenure was pretty awful (thankfully the USA have a world cup soon). He's clearly a talented coach but seems to flourish working underneath someone like Cullen rather than be the main man. MOC milked the Schmidt regime originally but slowly eroded Leinster's abilities and took them backwards, Cullen rebuilt that side.

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Post by Collapse2005 Tue 17 May 2022, 5:37 pm

Lancaster deserves all the praise he gets however, Leo Cullen doesn't get the praise nor recognition he deserves. I know Felipe Contepomi for example really looks up to Leo. Leo also seems to be a really excellent organiser and good at getting the best out of his team of coaches.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Tue 17 May 2022, 6:24 pm

Fair play to Leinster, they look excellent this season.

I tend to feel Lancaster gets overrated somewhat somewhat bearing in mind he basically has the Ireland squad to play with. Leinster play a pretty basic style....just with great execution that you would expect of a side that play together all year.

I understand that a lot of these players were produced by Leinster (which is incredible really) but there's not a chance you could keep such a side together without immense funding.

It's a bit of an odd year really....no side bar Leinster look that great. Toulouse have not really clicked and the English are struggling with budget constraints. The French seem to be turning each other over....Toulon and La Rochelle look the only sides that could compete with Leinster really.

For this Leinster side to be mentioned in the same breath as Toulon/Saracens.....they need back to back wins this year and next imo. I certainly wouldn't write that off.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Tue 17 May 2022, 6:42 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:Fair play to Leinster, they look excellent this season.

I tend to feel Lancaster gets overrated somewhat somewhat bearing in mind he basically has the Ireland squad to play with. Leinster play a pretty basic style....just with great execution that you would expect of a side that play together all year.

I understand that a lot of these players were produced by Leinster (which is incredible really) but there's not a chance you could keep such a side together without immense funding.

It's a bit of an odd year really....no side bar Leinster look that great. Toulouse have not really clicked and the English are struggling with budget constraints. The French seem to be turning each other over....Toulon and La Rochelle look the only sides that could compete with Leinster really.

For this Leinster side to be mentioned in the same breath as Toulon/Saracens.....they need back to back wins this year and next imo. I certainly wouldn't write that off.
Well that goes without saying, but of course Leinster are very well run and in a prime location, so it would be a bit sketchy if they didn't have access to hefty funds. In saying that our squad players are clearly quite happy to stay with Leinster despite surely being able to get a better off abroad in terms of both game time and wages. I remember seeing an interview with Bryan Byrne after he was released and he spoke about how desperate he was to stay despite being 3rd choice hooker at the time. The combination of being apart of a successful side who so happen to be also where you grew up is obviously a huge attraction to the local lads.

I don't think this Leinster side is near those Toulon or Saracens sides. Leinster's 2011,12' and 18' sides are better imo.

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Post by mikey_dragon Tue 17 May 2022, 8:33 pm

Heaf wrote:Just read up about Holmes - bit of an odd history - seems to have dropped from being on the verge of playing for Wales to ending up in the English Championship - quite a fall.

Poor people-management by Pivac is mostly to blame. Holmes when having a run of games always played consistently well, even when Dragons would lose. He did well when Gatland first capped him, he did well when he was last capped by Wales (up to that point he was overlooked somewhat). He was dropped unceremoniously for the average Tom Rogers, who I will note had a a slight stinker in both games that he played in (previously he had only looked good against the weaker teams in the URC), despite playing well enough to keep his place. Tom Rogers is a Scarlet though, he will always be ahead in the pecking order despite form.

Holmes didn't get picked for the 6N either, even though Pivac publically stated that he wants a back-3 player with pace, which sums up Jonah very well. I think he's seen the writing on the wall and is now looking for money. Pivac is a chump and the sooner he goes, the better.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sat 28 May 2022, 7:44 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

If they win the final well it will be a fair call. In that case they will be probably be the most convincing champions ever having so far trashed the top 14 league leaders by about 80 points, easily dispached the Gallagher premiership leaders away from home and thrashed the reigning champions.

It will be meaningless of course if they dont win the final. The below rugby predictor has the score at 26-30 which I feel is about right. They also predicted a 23 point win v Toulouse.

https://rugby4cast.com/rugby-predictions/la-rochelle-v-leinster-champions-cup-2021-22-round-9-prediction/

Ah well.....perhaps not then.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 29 May 2022, 1:31 pm

Sgt_Pooly wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:Well this might trigger a few, but I think Leinster are one of best teams ever.

If they win the final well it will be a fair call. In that case they will be probably be the most convincing champions ever having so far trashed the top 14 league leaders by about 80 points, easily dispached the Gallagher premiership leaders away from home and thrashed the reigning champions.

It will be meaningless of course if they dont win the final. The below rugby predictor has the score at 26-30 which I feel is about right. They also predicted a 23 point win v Toulouse.

https://rugby4cast.com/rugby-predictions/la-rochelle-v-leinster-champions-cup-2021-22-round-9-prediction/

Ah well.....perhaps not then.

Leinster spend the season with their 2nd team putting 50 on others and then lose a one-off game. I haven’t watched it yet but I’m informed La Rochelle were good for the win. There’s usually a group of vicious Welsh posters who come back and knock Leinster if they lose a final, didn’t expect it from you though!

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 29 May 2022, 4:14 pm

To me, there is nothing to knock between Leinster and La Rochelle. Very good match with two teams going at it hammer and tongs and going down to the wire. Ultimate difference was La Rochelle's ability to spend virtually the last 10 minutes of the match camped on Leinster's line and maintaining their discipline until they got over.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon 30 May 2022, 5:41 am

Far from a knock Mikey, I don't have anything against Leinster.

Just a note that this has certainly knocked them in their pursuit for greatness. History will remember the winner, not that the game was very close.

They have a great chance to make amends next year but I fancy the English sides to be back much stronger in 2024 when the salary cap goes back up, it will make it much more interesting.

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