Friday, May 12, 2017

Saracens and Stade Francaise for me this weekend!


This weekend sees the conclusion of the Champions and Challenge Cups, with the cream of Europe competing for the honours. Well, Leinster aren’t there so maybe it’s the full fat milk of Europe!
Saturday’s match is the big one, as Saracens and Clermont go head to head. Big clubs, big budgets, massive players, both in size and class. Public opinion is on Clermonts side, because they’ve never won it, and also because they can play that dashing style of French rugby that everyone loves. Is French rugby really cracked up to what it should be though? They have some of the best players in the world, but certainly not the fittest. Clermont seemed to be totally out of puff in the second half against Leinster, they are not really 80 minute team. Maybe there is a germ of truth that Bernard Jackman was fired from Grenoble for banning desserts at mealtime!

Saracens, meanwhile, are an 80 minute team, who normally put you away in the last ten minutes. They may not have featured as well as they could have in the English Premiership, but that’s probably down to their contribution to the England set up. But they deliver in the big games, with a mercilessly efficient style of play – wait for you to make a mistake, and then punish you every time. It’s often like a cat playing with a mouse- the mouse thinks it has a chance, but the cat delivers the coup d grace when it wants to.

Really, it’s Saracens all the way unless they have an off day.

On Friday night, Stade Francaise take on Gloucester in the challenge cup. They could be an enjoyably bonkers match, because even if Stade run out of steam in French style second half exhaustion, they could have done enough in the first half to grab it. And who knows which Gloucester will pitch up,  consistency is not their forte.

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