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Champions Cup; and the other one if someone wants to comment

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Champions Cup; and the other one if someone wants to comment - Page 2 Empty Champions Cup; and the other one if someone wants to comment

Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 08 Dec 2023, 9:47 am

First topic message reminder :

Couldn't see another thread on a quick look so sorry if I've missed it.

This weeks fixtures as follows (lifted from the beeb):

Friday
POOL 1
Connacht v Bordeaux Bègles
20:00

POOL 3
Glasgow Warriors v Northampton Saints
20:00

EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
POOL 3
ASM Clermont Auvergne v Edinburgh
20:00

....Guernsey vs Bury St Edmonds as well which is a biggy

Saturday
POOL 1
Bulls v Saracens
17:30

Bristol v Lyon
20:00

POOL 2
Bath v Ulster
15:15

Toulouse v Cardiff Rugby
15:15

POOL 3
Toulon v Exeter Chiefs
13:00

Munster v Bayonne
17:30

EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
POOL 1
Zebre v Cheetahs
13:00

Sharks v Pau
15:15

Dragons v Oyonnax
20:00

POOL 2
Ospreys v Benetton
17:30

POOL 3
Black Lion v Gloucester
13:00

Castres v Scarlets
15:15

Sunday
POOL 2
Racing 92 v Harlequins
17:30

POOL 4
Sale v Stade Francais
13:00

La Rochelle v Leinster
15:15

Leicester Tigers v Stormers
15:15

EUROPEAN CHALLENGE CUP
POOL 2
Perpignan v Lions
13:00

Newcastle Falcons vMontpellier
15:15



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Post by Cumbrian Sun 10 Dec 2023, 4:14 pm

Dear me, Leicester really stunk up the place with that first half performance. They will need to be much better in the second, would help if they could keep hold of the ball. What is is now 7 or 8 handling errors?
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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 10 Dec 2023, 4:31 pm

Probably tipped forward if they check that.

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Post by carpet baboon Sun 10 Dec 2023, 4:49 pm

Both la Rochelle and Leinster getting away with pretty much anything at the breakdown

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Post by Cumbrian Sun 10 Dec 2023, 4:51 pm

carpet baboon wrote:Both la Rochelle and Leinster getting away with pretty much anything at the breakdown

Very scrappy game, could do without the football style carping at the referee by both sides too.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:05 pm

Great scrum that.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:09 pm

And again.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:10 pm

Nice final pass that.

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Post by mikey_dragon Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:24 pm

Wow, that’s a statement to make.

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Post by Heaf Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:47 pm

Was he really held there? Let off for Racing ...

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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:48 pm

Kolisi just paid off a few euros of his signing on fee there!

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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:48 pm

More than that - that’s a 14 point swing on an incredibly marginal decision. The tackler had a hand on Lamb’s back but no grip on him whatsoever.
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Post by Heaf Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:49 pm

And now they score - 14 point turnaround from a dubious call

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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:49 pm

Heaf wrote:Was he really held there?  Let off for Racing ...

I thought he was just held, but it was touch and go

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Post by Heaf Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:52 pm

I thought it was stretching the definition of held beyond breaking point TBH

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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:54 pm

One of those 50:50's

If it was given against your team, you be pi##ed

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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:55 pm

Well, we jolly nearly scored that one, sir.
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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:55 pm

Great try from Smith

Quins not going away

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Post by Heaf Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:56 pm

BigGee wrote:One of those 50:50's

If it was given against your team, you be pi##ed

If it was given against my team I'd be delighted as it would mean they hadn't gone bust (LI) Hug

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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:59 pm

Wow, and another!

Quins really not read the script today!

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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:59 pm

That felt rather karmic. I’d rather be 21 points up than 7, though.
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Post by Cumbrian Sun 10 Dec 2023, 5:59 pm

This is got the makings of a classic, Marcus Smith is terrorising them.
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:08 pm

Quins winning the breakdown at the moment. Murphy doesn’t seem that interested in checking high tackles
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:15 pm

We’re clearly going to have to score all our points as cleanly as possible, because the ref is not giving anything marginal in the 5m area. Pretty sure Arundell had hands on that before it was over the line.
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:16 pm

He really doesn’t like to ref in at the side, does he?
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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:19 pm

Some game this, completely in the vslance at HT

17-14 Quins

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Post by Cumbrian Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:22 pm

Poorfour wrote:We’re clearly going to have to score all our points as cleanly as possible, because the ref is not giving anything marginal in the 5m area. Pretty sure Arundell had hands on that before it was over the line.

Yeah, I thought that too. ]

Murphy has allowed the ruck to be very messy and it has both helped and hindered Quins. It was unfortunate that they conceded on the stroke of halftime, I thought they were worthy of the ten point lead.
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Post by Cumbrian Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:27 pm

I had to laugh, there was point there that Fickou pulled back from the ruck, let the Quins' player fall forward. Fickou then proceeded to really obviously run around the side of the ruck and scoop up the ball and Murphy just waved it on!
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:54 pm

How come Murphy has missed Racing leaping in to rucks from the side over and over again?
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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:57 pm

Racing have massively stepped it up this half

Quins hanging on by their fingernails atm

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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 6:58 pm

Ref seemed absolutely determined to give a try there.
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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:06 pm

What a comeback from Quins!

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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:07 pm

Oh look, Racing 8 massively offside at the maul. Fortunately it doesn’t matter, but this is going to go down to the wire.
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:20 pm

So… that was adjudged off Black, and a Racinfg player then plays it from an offside position. Why is it only a scrum?
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:21 pm

Oh look, let’s compound one bad decision with a scrum pen the other way. Thank you sir.
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:22 pm

How many times are they going to be allowed to seal off?
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:24 pm

And he finally sees a side entry for the first time in the entire match.
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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:24 pm

But justice is served
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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:25 pm

Fantastic win from Quins

Did not see that coming at 60 mins!

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Post by Poorfour Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:26 pm

BigGee wrote:Fantastic win from Quins

Did not see that coming at 60 mins!

This is business as usual for Quins fans. If they’re in the game at all, it’s very hard to rule them out entirely.
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Post by Cumbrian Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:27 pm

What a weekend for the Premiership?! Seven out of eight wins and the only losers were Saracens. Very Happy
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Post by BigGee Sun 10 Dec 2023, 7:33 pm

The English clubs have definitely been impressive

Could be an interesting Champs Cup this year

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 11 Dec 2023, 8:40 am

We have had these weekends in the recent past before. Sometimes it's just how the games nicely fall, and lets face it some games could very much have gone either way. Heard the comment that the concentration of talent has helped the teams and that's certainly true to an extent. Still think that an English club will need a huge dollop of luck to win the comp though. My moneys on Leinster.

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 11 Dec 2023, 11:09 am

Cumbrian wrote:What a weekend for the Premiership?!  Seven out of eight wins and the only losers were Saracens.  Very Happy

Yeah that's a great result. The French were blowing away teams here and there, and I thought they would be entirely dominant this season so it's nice to see English teams do well. I literally haven't heard of many of the Northampton lineup. They got a good away win in Glasgow, who are high-flying in the URC and have a really good coach.

As a side note, Dillon Lewis seems to have become a regular for Quins. I thought he was really meh for Wales at the RWC. How's he doing?

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon 11 Dec 2023, 11:10 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:We have had these weekends in the recent past before. Sometimes it's just how the games nicely fall, and lets face it some games could very much have gone either way. Heard the comment that the concentration of talent has helped the teams and that's certainly true to an extent. Still think that an English club will need a huge dollop of luck to win the comp though. My moneys on Leinster.

Yeah, and even before LI went bust Bath were taking all their players Smile.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon 11 Dec 2023, 11:11 am

Collier is first choice but picked up an injury this week. Pretty solid prop though.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 11 Dec 2023, 2:12 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Collier is first choice but picked up an injury this week. Pretty solid prop though.

Quins have tended to have two tightheads who we'd be equally comfortable starting. Collier has been the constant, with Sinckler, Louw and now Lewis (and Kerrod very close when not injured).

Our recruiters did good business over the summer, Lewis, Launchbury, CCS, Porter and Joseph have all slotted into the squad really well. Injuries and RWC absences have given them a chance to get into the side, but we're now at a point where we're happy to see any of them on the teamsheet.

When it comes to props in particular, the best bit of business we've done since Marler came out of the academy was hiring and keeping Bomb. He's done a fantastic job getting the most out of our front row stocks, and I think all of the players in the squad have improved under him. My big fear is that some international side will notice and lure him away, but now Gatland is back in Wales the major risk has abated somewhat...
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Post by Heaf Mon 11 Dec 2023, 2:47 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:We have had these weekends in the recent past before. Sometimes it's just how the games nicely fall, and lets face it some games could very much have gone either way. Heard the comment that the concentration of talent has helped the teams and that's certainly true to an extent. Still think that an English club will need a huge dollop of luck to win the comp though. My moneys on Leinster.

Yeah, and even before LI went bust Bath were taking all their players Smile.

The frustrating thing is the Bath drain had pretty much stopped and LI had managed to retain a very decent stable squad with plenty of talent just before it all went wrong ...

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Post by king_carlos Mon 11 Dec 2023, 5:39 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:We have had these weekends in the recent past before. Sometimes it's just how the games nicely fall, and lets face it some games could very much have gone either way. Heard the comment that the concentration of talent has helped the teams and that's certainly true to an extent. Still think that an English club will need a huge dollop of luck to win the comp though. My moneys on Leinster.
Generally my view. The pool stage is so odd now as teams can realistically get through to the KOs with 2 wins. Ulster qualified with 1 win last season!

The Quins win away to a strong Racing team is very impressive though. Nothing taking away from that. It was one of the best performances I've seen from an English team in a few years. I was more impressed than any of Chiefs wins in their slightly strange run last season for instance.

The Glasgow 23 had some very good players in it but doesn't strike me as a strong Glasgow team. Dobie and Horne missing at 9. Tuipulotu. George Turner. Kyle Steyn. Dempsey. A lot of quality missing. Taken in context of winning away to Sarries last week and that is two really good results for a Saints side that are impressing me though. A few smart signings in their pack have helped a lot on top of the good Vesty built attack.

Tigers were awful against a B/C Stormers team. That first half is hopefully the worst I see them play this season. It was dirge. Liebenberg had possibly his worst game for Tigers. So uncharacteristic of such a consistent player. A few others weren't much better.

Sale were against a similarly rotated Stade side and also had a poor first half. Failing to get a try despite a lot of possession and territory against a weak Stade team. Ford had another poor game on the bounce following a good initial return to Sale.

Lyon also rotated heavily on the road. I haven't seen the game to comment beyond that but a lot of first XV players absent.

Toulon and Ulster were closer full strength but aren't sides I think many are expecting to challenge their respective domestic leagues this season. Good wins, particularly the nature of Slade's last minute kick in such a young Chiefs side. Bath are certainly a Prem side who have strengthened in a tough time for the league as a whole.

I'd be similarly astonished if an English side did much in the KOs when teams start putting full strength out though.

One interesting aspect is that reduced number of Prem games might arguably allow the English teams to rotate less on the road. It will be interesting to see if that results in more Prem sides in the last 16. I'm struggling to see beyond Leinster, La Rochelle or Toulouse as title contenders though.

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Post by thebandwagonsociety Mon 11 Dec 2023, 6:24 pm

king_carlos wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:We have had these weekends in the recent past before. Sometimes it's just how the games nicely fall, and lets face it some games could very much have gone either way. Heard the comment that the concentration of talent has helped the teams and that's certainly true to an extent. Still think that an English club will need a huge dollop of luck to win the comp though. My moneys on Leinster.
Generally my view. The pool stage is so odd now as teams can realistically get through to the KOs with 2 wins. Ulster qualified with 1 win last season!

The Quins win away to a strong Racing team is very impressive though. Nothing taking away from that. It was one of the best performances I've seen from an English team in a few years. I was more impressed than any of Chiefs wins in their slightly strange run last season for instance.

The Glasgow 23 had some very good players in it but doesn't strike me as a strong Glasgow team. Dobie and Horne missing at 9. Tuipulotu. George Turner. Kyle Steyn. Dempsey. A lot of quality missing. Taken in context of winning away to Sarries last week and that is two really good results for a Saints side that are impressing me though. A few smart signings in their pack have helped a lot on top of the good Vesty built attack.

Tigers were awful against a B/C Stormers team. That first half is hopefully the worst I see them play this season. It was dirge. Liebenberg had possibly his worst game for Tigers. So uncharacteristic of such a consistent player. A few others weren't much better.

Sale were against a similarly rotated Stade side and also had a poor first half. Failing to get a try despite a lot of possession and territory against a weak Stade team. Ford had another poor game on the bounce following a good initial return to Sale.

Lyon also rotated heavily on the road. I haven't seen the game to comment beyond that but a lot of first XV players absent.

Toulon and Ulster were closer full strength but aren't sides I think many are expecting to challenge their respective domestic leagues this season. Good wins, particularly the nature of Slade's last minute kick in such a young Chiefs side. Bath are certainly a Prem side who have strengthened in a tough time for the league as a whole.

I'd be similarly astonished if an English side did much in the KOs when teams start putting full strength out though.

One interesting aspect is that reduced number of Prem games might arguably allow the English teams to rotate less on the road. It will be interesting to see if that results in more Prem sides in the last 16. I'm struggling to see beyond Leinster, La Rochelle or Toulouse as title contenders though.

I'd agree with your list, and I'd add Bulls and Saracens to it also. Bulls will want to be be first SARU side to crack the champions cup. Saracens were very poor however they always improve over the course of the season and you never write them off until they are mathematically eliminated.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 11 Dec 2023, 10:43 pm

Even through rose tinted spectacles, the Quins result was a hugely positive surprise. Away, against a strong side from the Top 14 leaders, I was hoping for s couple of bonus points but didn’t expect more. The win was unexpected but shows a pattern that’s been building since the Saracens game. Quins have varied their attacking play with a lot more kicking, which can look random and ill-judged at times but serves to unsettle defences and create space. Their defensive system seems happy to concede yards and then fight it out on the 5m line - they’ve stopped a lot of tries in the red zone this season. The fitness to outlast teams is still there, and the bench is much stronger than in previous seasons.

They can still be undone - Saracens’ victory stemmed from nullifying the maul defence and a very fast (and frequently offside) defensive line, and I am not sure they have an answer to that - and we need to see if they can put a run together. But they are at their strongest when they pull their opponents into playing a high tempo game and if other teams fall into that trap they could spring a surprise. I don’t believe they’ve ever got beyond the QF in the Champions Cup, though.
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