Friday, May 13, 2016

Rugby's Champions and Challenge cups - French glory this weekend!

 Image result for champions cup rugby

 It’s England against France this weekend in Lyon in both matches. And hopefully a whole lot of fans without the Irish teams!

There are three big spenders in there, and Harlequins, who are probably mid table in the money stakes. So we’re getting to see some of the best players money can buy really, we are certainly getting to see one of the best fly halves of all time in Dan Carter.

In the Challenge Cup, 7th placed Quins take on 2nd placed Montpellier. The heavily South African influenced French team are making waves in the Top 14 this year. Physically Montpellier are absolutely huge, but they have the running players behind them as well, and their defence is epic. Quins would love to get this cup, as a farewell to Nick Easter, and as a thank you to Connor O’Shea. I’d say it’ll be test match intensity, brutal to watch, and Montpellier shading it.

Then on Saturday it’s a heavyweight heavy wallet clash of Racing 92 and Saracens. Again, expect Test match intensity! Saracens are used to using their massive forwards to soften up the opposition, then unleashing their massive backs when the gaps open up, with Owen Farrell to keep the scoreboard ticking. Don’t think there’ll be too much softening up of Racing though, it could be the opposite! How Saracens react to that will be interesting. Tactically, Dan Carter is streets ahead of Owen Farrell, but the Englishman probably has the edge in the kicking stakes these days. With a big chunk of the English team, Saracens will have the confidence from their recent successes, but I think French soil advantage will swing a close game to Racing. 

European Rugby Challenge Cup       
Harlequins v    Montpellier Hérault     8:00 PM
European Rugby Champions Cup       
Racing 92 v    Saracens     4:45 PM

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