Heineken Cup – Weekend 1

Fascinating weekend – results below:Leicester 32-32 Ospreys
Toulouse 36-17 Sale
Cardiff Blues 20-6 Harlequins
Clermont Auvergne 36-18 Viadana
Glasgow 18-22 Biarritz
Northampton 31-27 Munster
Scarlets 24-12 Brive
Stade Francais 31-7 Edinburgh
Treviso 9-8 Perpignan
Gloucester 19-17 Newport-Gwent D’gons
Leinster 9-12 London Irish
Ulster 26-12 Bath

A home loss for Leinster stands out – didn’t see it myself but watched heartbreak for Dragons at Gloucester, a dismal victory for Cardiff Blues at home, a convincing Scarlets victory and the astonishing free for all at Leicester v Ospreys. Good start for Ulster – anyone see it?

A general point about the first Heineken weekend is that we can usually see some differences between Magners and English patterns. I think they have got a better turnover game than us.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Yes, a really interesting weekend with some cracking games. Only watched the Munster and Edinburgh games and was at Ravenhill on Friday night to watch Ulster put away Bath.
    Good starts for Stade and Toulouse but I expect their focus will move more onto their own league as the season progresses. On that note, it was a bit worrying that that some of the english sides rested players for europe. Kind of shows where their priorities lie and takes a bit away from the competition.
    Really surprised by the leinster result after watching them take apart munster last week. As for munster, they’re suffering from a lack of playering together at the minute – no cohesion in their backline whatsoever. But they’ll improve very quickly and should still make the quarters. Perhaps the biggest shock of the weekend was little treviso beating Perpignon!!! Indeed, perhaps the biggest shock of the competition ever!
    As for ulster, we have a huge away game next weekend to a good but beatable edinburgh side. A win there and we have 2 massive games against Stade to look forward to.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ps ulster tries:

  • pith

    Yes, good on Treviso and best of luck to them when they deservedly join the Magners/Celtic League next year. Good start for Ulster. Disappointing to read that English clubs are not selecting their best 15s. Is Heineken less lucrative than Guinness?

  • Dewi

    Yeah – Treviso eh. That’s in Munster’s group – cculd be handy.

    There’s the groups and tables

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re. the resting of English players – I think only Sale, Bath and Harlequins rested players which indicates they dont thing they are good enough and are concentrating on the league – the HC still remains the BIG competion for everyone – with possibe exception of some French clubs e.g. Perpignan.

    Interesting odds from PP (papal predictor) – Munster are now 5/1 favourites (out from 4/1) and Northampton are now 16/1 (I think they were 12/1 before the game but would not swear to it) as the assumption is that Munster will beat them by a greater margin in the last game.

  • Dewi

    Toulose for me Sammy…what did me and thee bet in the end??

  • Dewi

    …Or even Toulouse…

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Dewi,

    I (genuinely) dont remember – but I’ll take Munster for a £10 – if Toulouse get further than Munster I owe Slugger a tenner and vice versa?

    Of the French teams Clermont Auvergne, arguably the strongest team in the competition for the last few years, would be my tip. In previous years because of the seedings they have ended up in very difficult groups and this year is not an easy one either.

  • Dewi

    Deal.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Have to argue with the resting of players – the french and english championships are the priorities of those nations. Especially when relegation is at stake. Europe is a bonus. In contrast, the likes of Munster, Leinster and the Ospreys will rest their players coming up to european ties, which is a bit of a joke really. The fact is these sides build their entire seasons around the heinekin cup. A luxery the french and english can ill afford.

    really hard to predict a winner at this stage. I’d probably shade leinster over munster at the minute, although leinster without conteponi and rocky, perhaps arn’t as strong as last year. And with an away game to london irish to come, they may not even make the QF! actually, i change my mind, munster to go further than leinster…

    Stade, toulouse and clermont will all be very tough opposition and one of these I reckon will make the final. English clubs have too many matches and don’t rest their international players enough to compete I reckon. Hairsprays have a chance if they can get everyone fit and get some form going.

    Looking like a good competition this year, with 6 or 7 very strong and well-matched sides. Wouldn’t even try to pick a winner.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Orangey,

    “10.Have to argue with the resting of players – the french and english championships are the priorities of those nations. Especially when relegation is at stake”

    But that was my point – those English clubs who are struggling e.g. the 3 I mentioned are struggling in the league – the top teams will take it seriously e.g. Leicester, Northamton, London Irish and thats why Leicester thought last season was a disapointment becuase they won the league but did not win the HC.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    my point is all the magners sides will take it seriously… So seriously that they will rest players for league games. Will any english or french sides rest players for league games?

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    nice to see a couple of ulster players made the team of the week:
    http://www.planetrugby.com/story/0,25883,16024_5625359,00.html