Bacon saver (picture http://bit.ly/1qOh2BC)
Well 2 from 4 again in Europe, and the only consistency is from Connacht, who arguably have the best provincial coach in Ireland at the moment.
Connacht started the weekend in style, with a run on team featuring academy players. Caolin Blade scored two tries on his first start, as they came from behind to secure the best result for Ireland of the weekend.
Leinster smashed Harlequins at home with a one point victory. Yes the Leinsterman continue to tread water, with no particular pattern of play, and a creaky scrum. It took a few inspired breaks from Eoin Reddan to save our bacon and set up the match winning penalty. We won, playing with the umpteenth centre pairing, which actually could work well if it continues, so let’s be generous and say we can only get better. Quins scored a couple of good tries, and deserved the losing bonus point. If we just looked like everyone knew what the plan was, I’d be a lot happier.
Munster started red hot, and finished medium hot to get the losing bonus people, it was the bit in the middle that was the problem. That French running game is just dizzying to watch and defend against, they scored two tries as good as you’ll see, and butchered another. Like Leinster, the Munster scrum was dodgy, but they are even lower down on the prop stocks. Clermont have this group you’d think, but Munster can still at least can chase that runner up spot.
Finally, Ulster staggered through the first half of their match against the Scarlets, coughing up several soft penalties to give the Scarlets a good lead. Their scrum was at least as bad as Munster and Leinster. Cave and Marshall set up the most beautiful try, and when they went down to 14 they played really well, and got within 2 points. Then…an intercept try took it all away, a loss and no bonus pont. Time to concentrate on the league.
European Rugby Champions Cup
Clermont 26-19 Munster
Wasps 44-15 Castres
Scarlets 22-13 Ulster
Saturday , December 13
Glasgow Warriors 9 - 12 Toulouse
Toulon 23 - 8 Leicester Tigers
Northampton 67 - 0 Treviso
Leinster 14 - 13 Harlequins
Racing Metro Paris 18 - 14 Ospreys
Saracens 28 - 15 Sale Sharks
Bayonne 27 - 29 Connacht
Bath 32 - 12 Montpellier