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European Comps

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No 7&1/2
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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Oct 05, 2022 11:27 pm

First topic message reminder :

From the EPCR websites:

'Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup are set for a major viewership boost with the announcement that BT Sport, as well as ITV, RTÉ and S4C, have all agreed multi-year partnerships for the new broadcast cycle in the UK and Ireland.

BT Sport to continue as lead broadcaster in UK and Ireland
EPCR and BT Sport extend long-standing partnership, with BT Sport set to broadcast eighth season of both competitions
ITV, RTÉ and S4C to generate new viewers with extensive free-to-air coverage
BT Sport, who have delivered comprehensive and innovative coverage of the elite club competitions since 2015, have recommitted to the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup to extend their long-standing partnership with EPCR. As lead broadcaster in the UK and Ireland, BT Sport will continue to televise both tournaments until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.

In addition, ITV, RTÉ and S4C have come on board in the UK and Ireland to provide free-to-air coverage and the new agreements will expand access for rugby fans across two key markets to the Heineken Champions Cup – the world’s biggest and most celebrated international club rugby competition – which is entering its 28th year.

The agreements with ITV and RTÉ, which will see each broadcaster cover one Heineken Champions Cup match per round in the UK and Ireland – including the Final – on a free-to-air basis, also run until the end of the 2023/24 season.

S4C will focus on the Welsh regions with live coverage of all Ospreys’ pool stage fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup as well as one match featuring either Cardiff Rugby, Dragons RFC or the Scarlets in each pool stage round of the EPCR Challenge Cup also until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.

“Broadcast partnerships are a massively important part of our strategy to bring our world-class competitions to even wider audiences, and we are very pleased with our partners in the UK and Ireland for the new cycle,” said EPCR Chairman, Dominic McKay.

“Following on from what was a magnificent Finals weekend in Marseille last May, we are delighted to continue to work with BT Sport, who have delivered incredible coverage of, and audience growth for, our competitions. It is also significant that we welcome three free-to-air partners on board in ITV, RTÉ and S4C, who will boost our viewership and profile as South African clubs come into the EPCR fold.

“BT Sport, ITV, RTÉ and S4C represent four more exciting broadcast partnerships in the key markets of the UK and Ireland, and with beIN SPORTS and France Télévisions in France, SuperSport in South Africa and FloSports in the USA, we are looking forward to bringing the pinnacle of international club rugby to more audiences than ever before.”

This update follows previous announcements of broadcast partnership renewals by both beIN SPORTS and France Télévisions in France, as well as confirmation of SuperSport as the exclusive broadcaster of EPCR’s tournaments in South Africa, with the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup set to extend their global reach with the historic inclusion of the DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs from this season.

EPCR has also agreed a multi-year agreement with the streaming platform FloSports, the home of rugby in the USA, as the exclusive broadcaster of the tournaments to American rugby fans until the conclusion of the 2024/25 season.

The deal is part of a ground-breaking alliance which will see the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup bundled with key fixtures in the BKT United Rugby Championship and the TOP 14, ensuring viewers in America will have unprecedented access to all four competitions on one digital platform.

Rachel Knight, Sports Rights Director, BT Sport, said: “Today’s news means BT Sport remains the home of club rugby in the UK and Ireland, offering unrivalled coverage from the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup, plus multiple live matches every week from Gallagher Premiership Rugby.”

Last month, BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery completed their transaction to form a 50:50 Joint Venture (JV) that combines the assets of BT Sport and Eurosport UK. As the JV works to develop a new sports offering for the UK and Ireland, BT Sport and Eurosport UK will retain their separate product propositions and customers can continue to enjoy the sport offerings in all the same ways as they do currently.

Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “This new deal brings rugby fans live, free-to-air coverage of some of the biggest matches in club rugby, featuring the stars of the game and adds Heineken Champions Cup action to ITV’s range of top-class rugby alongside the domestic and international competitions we bring to viewers.”

Declan McBennett, RTÉ Group Head of Sport, said: “The Heineken Champions Cup is a tournament that is much loved and followed by fans throughout Ireland. We are delighted to partner with EPCR to bring this prestigious competition to audiences free-to-air and extend its reach to the widest possible audience in the Republic of Ireland.”

Geraint Evans, S4C Director of Content and Publishing Strategy, said: “The Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup are two of the finest competitions that club rugby has to offer and we are pleased to renew our successful broadcast partnership with EPCR. S4C viewers will be able to follow the progress of all four Welsh regions across both tournaments and we look forward to some top-quality matches.”

With more than 50,000 tickets already sold for EPCR’s 2023 finals, the journey to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will get underway in early December, and the exact dates, kick-off times and TV coverage of the pool stage fixtures will be announced later this week.'

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 4:09 am

Not sure wiggling your ar*s constitutes moving towards the ball when kicking?

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 4:19 am

Glaws get there in the end after making hard work of it but there was some odd officiating ...

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 4:20 am

Big Al made a great contribution when he came on - miss him at Irish

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 4:23 am

Willis had a good game for Bordeaux too - did well at the base of a disintegrating scrum, probably stopped them getting pinged more

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 5:08 am

Saints having a hard time in France but it seems offside lines are optional ...

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 5:16 am

If a player jumps into a legal tackle and as a result goes over the top of the tackler how is that even a pen against the tackler?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun Dec 11, 2022 5:47 am

Heaf wrote:If a player jumps into a legal tackle and as a result goes over the top of the tackler how is that even a pen against the tackler?

Ref was already playing advantage closer to the line and so went back to that.

Miserable evening for Saints, they've been awful and La Rochelle have put them to the sword. 46-0 after 53 mins.

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 5:58 am

I thought they said it was "only a pen" as the tackled player had jumped though, so would have penalised it (wrongly IMO) if there wasn't already another pen?

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 6:04 am

Brace "next one goes to the bin" - 60 seconds later another pen in the red zone and nothing? Jeez the incompetence ...

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 6:08 am

And where was the separation to disallow that try?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun Dec 11, 2022 6:11 am

Heaf wrote:I thought they said it was "only a pen" as the tackled player had jumped though, so would have penalised it (wrongly IMO) if there wasn't already another pen?

He did say only a penalty and then awarded one for a breakdown advantage 10m in front making it somewhat immaterial.

I think Brace was looking for a way to get out of penalising it. It's really poor technique from Robbie Smith as he goes to his knees early and lifts up. He's lucky his opposite number was stepping and could be given as "jumping as the contact takes place". It's not like the La Rochelle hooker is jumping into it, it's evasion that hasn't worked.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun Dec 11, 2022 6:12 am

Heaf wrote:And where was the separation to disallow that try?

No idea what the TMO is doing there.

Saints do get their try, scrum goes well and Fin Smith throws a big pass out to the unmarked winger. Nice few bits from the young flyhalf.

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Post by Heaf Sun Dec 11, 2022 6:16 am

It's not going to affect the result here but TMOs making calls like that do change results in other matches and it's unacceptable given the tech available - I sometimes wonder WTF they are looking at ...

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Post by Heaf Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:57 am

So a player attempts an upright tackle and ends up with a head collision but that's not even a penalty? I'm now totally lost as to what's acceptable and what isn't ...

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Post by Cumbrian Mon Dec 12, 2022 2:12 am

Statement from Sale, they absolutely beefed Ulster. They are so hard to break down, must be a nightmare to play against. They probably don't that extra little percentage to go all the way in Europe, but they'll be a tough nut to crack from most teams.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 2:21 am

Cumbrian wrote:Statement from Sale, they absolutely beefed Ulster.  They are so hard to break down, must be a nightmare to play against.  They probably don't that extra little percentage to go all the way in Europe, but they'll be a tough nut to crack from most teams.

They did that with their first choice half back pairing out injured. There could be another gear or two from them with Quirke and Ford in tandem at 9 and 10. What impressed me was their variation in attack, previously they would just bully the opposition up front but recently they've started adding more to their game and they're more dangerous for it.

Do agree that I can't see them mixing it with Leinster or Toulouse at the business end though.

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Post by Poorfour Mon Dec 12, 2022 4:01 am

Great game between Saravens and Edinburgh but the ref has made a couple of breakdown calls recently that look overly lenient to Sarries.
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Post by Cumbrian Mon Dec 12, 2022 4:30 am

Whats with the Tigers' team? They not prioritising Europe this season?
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 4:44 am

Cumbrian wrote:Whats with the Tigers' team? They not prioritising Europe this season?

Borthwick tends to rotate away from home. Did it last season as well.

Is Nicky Smith going to be allowed to bore in all game or will he have to scrum straight at any point?

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:12 am

Serious question, can you be pinged for numbers on your own lineout?

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Post by Heaf Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:16 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:Whats with the Tigers' team? They not prioritising Europe this season?

Borthwick tends to rotate away from home. Did it last season as well.

Is Nicky Smith going to be allowed to bore in all game or will he have to scrum straight at any point?


Apparently yes and no ...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:22 am

Heaf wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:Whats with the Tigers' team? They not prioritising Europe this season?

Borthwick tends to rotate away from home. Did it last season as well.

Is Nicky Smith going to be allowed to bore in all game or will he have to scrum straight at any point?

Apparently yes and no ...

He's stayed straight on two and the Ospreys scrum has gone nowhere. He makes a big hit and if he can take a step forward then he goes straight in and down. Clever because the ref just gives the pen to whomever has taken a step forward he has no idea about what's actually going on. It's the only reason Ospreys are in the game, to be fair to Smith if you're getting away with it you aren't going to stop.

The officials have been disappointing across this weekend and this game seems no difference.

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Post by Heaf Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:34 am

'Disappointing' is being very charitable ...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:38 am

Heaf wrote:'Disappointing' is being very charitable ...

Well everyone can make mistakes they are only human but the continual poor communication and decision making is a shame when some many good players are coming against each other.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:45 am

It's just not great when the hooker has to berate the opposition and both officials for the closing the gap at the lineout before the balls even gone in.

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Post by Geordie Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:52 am

That's what a fit and firing Anthony Watson can do

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Post by Heaf Mon Dec 12, 2022 5:56 am

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Heaf wrote:'Disappointing' is being very charitable ...

Well everyone can make mistakes they are only human but the continual poor communication and decision making is a shame when some many good players are coming against each other.

It's some of the TMO calls that get me, especially when they have time and all the angles to get it right and still manage to make some clearly wrong decisions that aren't down to 'interpretation'.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 6:04 am

Heaf wrote:
formerly known as Sam wrote:
Heaf wrote:'Disappointing' is being very charitable ...

Well everyone can make mistakes they are only human but the continual poor communication and decision making is a shame when some many good players are coming against each other.

It's some of the TMO calls that get me, especially when they have time and all the angles to get it right and still manage to make some clearly wrong decisions that aren't down to 'interpretation'.

Don't think there is one at the Tigers game. He's certainly not helping out the officials in the field with their multiple obvious missed knock ons.

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Post by Cumbrian Mon Dec 12, 2022 6:21 am

Fair play Tigers, that was a gritty win.

On reflection, been a decent weekend for English clubs in the Champions Cup, four try bonus point wins and a couple of away wins. Could have been even better if Quins had held their nerve.

Poor old Saints though!
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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Dec 12, 2022 6:38 am

Rubbish Ospreys strike again. Just watch their fans try and find a way to gloat about being the only Welsh team in the Heineken cup again…

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Post by Cumbrian Mon Dec 12, 2022 6:46 am

mikey_dragon wrote:Rubbish Ospreys strike again. Just watch their fans try and find a way to gloat about being the only Welsh team in the Heineken cup again…

Disappointing how empty the stadium was, if I had to guess I'd say that there was barely 5000 there...
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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Dec 12, 2022 7:03 am

Well they do mostly serve up dross on the field. Time to merge Scarlets and Ospreys I think, 3 wins between both this season! Wink

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Post by Heaf Mon Dec 12, 2022 7:29 am

Cumbrian wrote:Fair play Tigers, that was a gritty win.

On reflection, been a decent weekend for English clubs in the Champions Cup, four try bonus point wins and a couple of away wins.   Could have been even better if Quins had held their nerve.

Poor old Saints though!

or if LI had beaten the French champs but for a couple of brain farts and/or a suspect try ...

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Dec 12, 2022 8:12 am

Cumbrian wrote:Fair play Tigers, that was a gritty win!

Wasn't it just. Everytime it looked like a game would break out the referee got involved.

Tigers just turned up the physicality after the break, George Martin was my man of the match. I think he probably bettered his metres made ball in hand by the metres he made smashing Ospreys back over the gain line. There was a couple of hits on AWJ where he easily made 5m+. No idea which bright spark at Ospreys decided they should keep running at the nutter in the blue scrum cap, the lad hits like a train.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Dec 12, 2022 7:34 pm

What with life getting in the way only saw snippets of most matches this weekend. Didn't look to be a big crowd at the Ospreys match. Know it was late ish Sunday but you'd expect something more impressive as I've read these Welsh English matches are a big deal? Follow a few Welsh commentators on twitter and they were saying this was the match, guess it didn't help it was on tv.

What on earth is happening with head collision decisions as well. Saw the Tuilagi incident and I'm still mystified on the decision. Though personally I still think force should be judged on the impact rather than if the tackler falls backwards after being hit by a Manu at full speed, I get that that is classed as mitigation so down to a yellow....but the overall decision is surprising to say the least.

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Post by Cumbrian Mon Dec 12, 2022 8:14 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:What with life getting in the way only saw snippets of most matches this weekend. Didn't look to be a big crowd at the Ospreys match. Know it was late ish Sunday but you'd expect something more impressive as I've read these Welsh English matches are a big deal? Follow a few Welsh commentators on twitter and they were saying this was the match, guess it didn't help it was on tv.

What on earth is happening with head collision decisions as well. Saw the Tuilagi incident and I'm still mystified on the decision. Though personally I still think force should be judged on the impact rather than if the tackler falls backwards after being hit by a Manu at full speed, I get that that is classed as mitigation so down to a yellow....but the overall decision is surprising to say the least.

What got me about the Tuilagi incident was that the defender was on the end of a very long run up, it's not like Tuilagi changed direction suddenly or dipped into it. The defender had a long time to make up his mind about his body position and chose to take on Tuilagi upright. I was convinced it was going to be a red.

I don't really get the passivity argument either, he was biffed back by Tuilagi, that doesn't change the fact that he was too upright in the first place. What are we saying? If Tuilagi had been a less powerful carrier and crumpled when he hit the defender, it would then have been a red card?

It didn't matter in the end, but I found it a curious decision.
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Post by Poorfour Mon Dec 12, 2022 10:45 pm

Heaf wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:Fair play Tigers, that was a gritty win.

On reflection, been a decent weekend for English clubs in the Champions Cup, four try bonus point wins and a couple of away wins.   Could have been even better if Quins had held their nerve.

Poor old Saints though!

or if LI had beaten the French champs but for a couple of brain farts and/or a suspect try ...

That's the story of LI's season, though. And many seasons before that...

I thought Quins were a little unlucky with some late penalties that could have gone either way, but there's no faulting the class of that last try. Overall, it was probably a fair result for an away game against opposition with that level of quality in the squad.
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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Dec 12, 2022 11:13 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Cumbrian wrote:Fair play Tigers, that was a gritty win!

Wasn't it just. Everytime it looked like a game would break out the referee got involved.

Tigers just turned up the physicality after the break, George Martin was my man of the match. I think he probably bettered his metres made ball in hand by the metres he made smashing Ospreys back over the gain line. There was a couple of hits on AWJ where he easily made 5m+. No idea which bright spark at Ospreys decided they should keep running at the nutter in the blue scrum cap, the lad hits like a train.

Tigers defence was noticably excellent in the second half. I think Booth will move on at the end of the season if not sooner. Ospreys stagnated under him and have now gone backwards at an alarming rate. They aren't as bad as previously but when considering their squad they are very poor.

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Post by RiscaGame Tue Dec 13, 2022 4:38 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:What with life getting in the way only saw snippets of most matches this weekend. Didn't look to be a big crowd at the Ospreys match. Know it was late ish Sunday but you'd expect something more impressive as I've read these Welsh English matches are a big deal? Follow a few Welsh commentators on twitter and they were saying this was the match, guess it didn't help it was on tv.

What on earth is happening with head collision decisions as well. Saw the Tuilagi incident and I'm still mystified on the decision. Though personally I still think force should be judged on the impact rather than if the tackler falls backwards after being hit by a Manu at full speed, I get that that is classed as mitigation so down to a yellow....but the overall decision is surprising to say the least.

I think a combination of Ospreys being pretty poor this season, the fact it wasn’t that fan friendly a time (plus on FTA TV) and conditions were a bit grim probably didn’t help, but yeah the attendance wasn’t great admittedly.

Maybe all the Ospreys supporters are coming back to the fleet footed Dragons Wink

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Dec 13, 2022 10:48 pm

Warwick has been cited for the Tuilagi tackle. Still think it just borders on yellow under the current laws/interpretations of mitigation however it does reinforce that there are some rather large gaps between different leagues.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue Dec 13, 2022 11:28 pm

Seen this from the Pau coach....

https://twitter.com/DjRossouw87/status/1602613924955824128?t=22AH0r56pEEwbR6nfuzfQQ&s=19

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Post by Heaf Wed Dec 14, 2022 12:48 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Warwick has been cited for the Tuilagi tackle. Still think it just borders on yellow under the current laws/interpretations of mitigation however it does reinforce that there are some rather large gaps between different leagues.

Shows the ref, or maybe all French refs, need some retraining - at best mitigated down to yellow but he didn't even give a pen.

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Post by Heaf Wed Dec 14, 2022 12:51 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Seen this from the Pau coach....

https://twitter.com/DjRossouw87/status/1602613924955824128?t=22AH0r56pEEwbR6nfuzfQQ&s=19

I'm the first to point out ref errors (as you probably all know) and we don't know what led to this however it's completely unacceptable - needs a severe punishment to nip it in the bud, I'd even consider ejecting Pau from the competition to make the point but at the very least the coach should be banned from the tournament.

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Post by neilthom7 Wed Dec 14, 2022 1:18 am

100% agree Heaf, doesn't matter what a coach/player thinks of a decision you can never put your hands on an official, that is a line that must not be crossed and as you say they should go unbelievably harsh for it because you can't have that filtering down to amateur games.


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Post by formerly known as Sam Wed Dec 14, 2022 4:03 am

Apparently he's been cited and the low end punishment is 24 months so even with 50% for bringing nice biscuits to the hearing and being good previously then Pau could be without a head coach at games until nearly Easter. Unless he's made a public apology or contacted the referee direct to make amends I hope they throw the book at him (even if he's apologised it should be the 50% reduction if no apology the full 24 months).

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed Dec 14, 2022 6:35 pm

All seems to be kicking off in France with coach's suspensions and now Laporte. I'm old enough to remember Saracens being protected before the WC in England in case it damaged our image!

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Post by Oakdene Wed Dec 14, 2022 7:31 pm

Really hoping we can kick on & get a result against the Cheetahs in Italy this weekend. A good result against Bayonne, albeit a mainly reserve Bayonne, hopefully an kick start what has been a woeful season for us so far!!

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Wed Dec 14, 2022 8:19 pm

Heaf wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Seen this from the Pau coach....

https://twitter.com/DjRossouw87/status/1602613924955824128?t=22AH0r56pEEwbR6nfuzfQQ&s=19

I'm the first to point out ref errors (as you probably all know) and we don't know what led to this however it's completely unacceptable - needs a severe punishment to nip it in the bud, I'd even consider ejecting Pau from the competition to make the point but at the very least the coach should be banned from the tournament.

They were shaking hands after the final whistle and the coach decided he was going to have an extra couple of words, ref wanted nothing to do with it. Only going on the twitter video link. I wouldn't necessarily put that in the throwing punches end/assault end of the spectrum. If we're going on the no contact approach then every player on both teams and most management staff for both teams should be also cited for making contact through the form of initiating a handshake with an official.

Now that's me being a bit of an arse and devils advocate but I could see the argument being made at the hearing. Hell if they wanted to go whole hog on the incident then it could be claimed a calm handshake turned sour when the ref tried to violently yank the coach's arm out of it's socket.

I still want respectful handshakes after the match though, it only takes a minor balls up in applying a punishment on this severe beating to bring that aspect of the game to a close. If the defeated don't have to shake the hand of the victor, look them in the eye and realise they've been beaten, then they stroll into the dressing room and believe they won only for [insert excuse here].. things would only get worse.

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Post by Oakdene Thu Dec 15, 2022 9:39 pm

Ulster trying everything to stop a frozen pitch.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/63972235

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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu Dec 15, 2022 9:55 pm

Oakdene wrote:Ulster trying everything to stop a frozen pitch.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/63972235

Hope so. Ulster are normally a good watch and La Rochelle entertaining. Should be a fun watch (for a neutral).

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