Thursday, January 19, 2017

Crossing fingers for good wins for Leinster, Munster, and Connacht!

 Ross Molony

 Rank    Pool Leaders    Pts    Diff    TF
1    Leinster (Q)             21    140    28
2    Clermont (Q)           21    58    20
3    Saracens (q)            20    87    19
4    Munster (Q)             20    84    15
5    Connacht                 18    79    25
Rank    Pool Runners–up    Pts    Diff    TF
6    Wasps                     17    84    22
7    Toulon                    15    27    12
8    Glasgow Warriors 14    31    12
9    Exeter Chiefs         11    –14    9
10    Montpellier         11    –38    11

This weekend is the final round of the Champions cup group stage, and I'm girding my loins for a weekend marathon, buttering up my nearest and dearest for a two day absence.

Starting off on Friday where Leinster have the chance to top the whole log with a 5 point win. With their points difference, they won't be caught if they get that. Castres at home are a curious porposition - they won't want to lose, but they probably won't make it any further this year, so what's the point of risking injuries. We should win, but maybe not that bonus point! There's a bit of rotation going on for Leinster, and Molony coming in for suspended Triggs. Let's see

Potentially, Clermont could catch them, but while I think they'll beat Exeter, they probably won't do it with a bonus point either - I was seriously impressed with their defense against Ulster.

Ulster have Bordeaux, but that's a dead rubber. Maybe with the shackles of pressure off them, they'll turn a great performance.

Munster have Racing, where they will be favourites to get a BP win. Racing showed last weekend they haven't forgotten how to play rugby - so they may make Munster work really hard.

Finally, Connacht have to try and beat Toulouse away to top their group.. They have a lot of players back from injury, but still no Dillane or Aki. Mmmm, it's hard to see them doing it but let's cross fingers.

Friday 20th January
European Rugby Champions Cup
Castres 19:45 Leinster
Montpellier 19:45 Northampton
Saturday 21st January
European Rugby Champions Cup
Clermont Auvergne 13:00 Exeter
Ulster 13:00 Bordeaux-Begles
Sale Sharks 15:15 Scarlets
Saracens 15:15 Toulon
Leicester Tigers 17:30 Glasgow Warriors
Munster 17:30 Racing 92
Sunday 22nd January
European Rugby Champions Cup
Toulouse 15:15 Connacht
Zebre 15:15 Wasps

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