ulster halt la rochelle to lead european pool
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
Arab Today, arab today

Ulster halt La Rochelle to lead European pool

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Ulster halt La Rochelle to lead European pool

) French show their polish but English clubs fail to shine
Europe - Arab Today

) French show their polish but English clubs fail to shine

Have a side ever taken to Europe as well as La Rochelle? It is supposed to require years of failure and frustration – or experience, as it is known in self-help circles – before a team start to move with confidence in this competition, but there they are, all but qualified for the quarter-finals after 15 points from their first three games. They may yet stumble in the knockouts, but La Rochelle are cruising. Then again, it is proving a disappointing pool otherwise. If English clubs are flopping right, left and centre, Wasps and Quins are as dispiriting examples as any. The latter’s defeat to Ulster followed their heroics the previous week as night does day. Ulster look best placed to mount a case as best runners-up, with home games against Quins and La Rochelle still to come before the pool is decided. Michael Aylwin
2) Ospreys soar after Sarries are frozen out

In light of the postponement of Saracens against Clermont, the Pool 2 table makes for good viewing for the Ospreys. For an hour against Northampton they were excellent, having arrived at Franklin’s Gardens in a run of form every bit as bad as the Saints. Sam Davies did not get a look-in for Wales during the autumn but his was an eye-catching performance, although for all that the Ospreys impressed until the final quarter, Northampton were dreadful. Another bonus-point win for the Welsh side this weekend is within their capabilities considering how devoid of confidence Northampton are, and that would bring the Ospreys back into contention to reach the knockout stages. They do have to go to Clermont still but they should at least be bolstered by a number of international players who were absent on Saturday. Gerard Meagher
3) Away wins throw pool wide open

Away wins in Europe are supposed to be rarer than teetotal English cricketers but victories for Leinster and Montpellier have reshaped the landscape in Pool 3. In both cases the home teams were made to pay for not keeping 15 men on the field for the whole game and for making too many little errors under mounting pressure. Rob Baxter still believes his Chiefs side can go to Dublin this weekend and turn the tables on Leinster but it will require a special performance to outwit a defensively excellent home pack. Glasgow, with three successive defeats, are already out of the picture for qualification for the knockout stages, not what their highly rated new coach, Dave Rennie, might have anticipated when he arrived from New Zealand to take over from Gregor Townsend. Robert Kitson
4) Veainu’s broken jaw leaves Leicester reeling

To make matters worse for Leicester following their comprehensive defeat to Munster, Telusa Veainu suffered a broken jaw and is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The injury compounds a disappointing weekend for the Tigers, who suffered the familiar feeling of leaving Thomond Park empty-handed for the second consecutive season and it means Matt O’Connor’s side must exact revenge this weekend if they are to reach the knockout stages. To do so they will have to find a way to combat the excellent Munster back-row trio of Peter O’Mahony, Chris Cloete and CJ Stander. Spare a thought for Teddy Thomas, meanwhile, who made a superb break for the try line for Racing 92, only to make a monumental blunder in failing to get the ball down against Castres. Racing went on to lose the match 16-13. Gerard Meagher
5) Late shows make for unlikely pool of death

It was never anticipated this would be the pool of death with Treviso making up the quartet, but it has been the group where games have been won at the death. Toulon scored the winning try against Bath four minutes from time after the Scarlets had come from behind to overhaul Treviso in Llanelli with two tries in the final five minutes against a side who had played with 14 men from the 24th minute, following the sending off of the flanker Francesco Minto. The Scarlets won the Pro 12 last season but, like the current Pro 14 leaders Glasgow – who are unbeaten in the league – have found they need more than league form in Europe. Treviso may not be going through to the knockout stage and there may be no Italian side in the Champions Cup next season, but they could have won all three games so far, should perhaps, in a pool that is providing excitement rather than the likely winner. Paul Rees

Source: AFP

 

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