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[2018/19 Heineken Cup] Round 1: Pool 3 (14/10/2018)

The Alpha Bro

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Lyon v Cardiff Blues
1300 (IST), Matmut Stadium de Gerland, BT Sports/BEIN

Glasgow Warriors v Saracens
1515, Scotstoun, BT Sport​
 

Hanley!

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It's rare that I cheer for Glasgow, but I would like to see them win this weekend against Saracens. They capitulated quite early in Europe last year, despite performing so well in the Pro14. If they're competitive in Europe this year, I feel like it will make both competitions more interesting.
 

Tooting Carmen

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It's rare that I cheer for Glasgow, but I would like to see them win this weekend against Saracens. They capitulated quite early in Europe last year, despite performing so well in the Pro14. If they're competitive in Europe this year, I feel like it will make both competitions more interesting.

This is exactly what people used to criticise the Ospreys for when they were a stronger side than now - dominating the Pro 14 but unconvincing in Europe. (Curiously, no one has a go at Exeter for doing well domestically but not at European level).
 

Amiga500

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This is exactly what people used to criticise the Ospreys for when they were a stronger side than now - dominating the Pro 14 but unconvincing in Europe. (Curiously, no one has a go at Exeter for doing well domestically but not at European level).

To be fair to Exeter, they pretty much came as close as anyone to beating Leinster in Europe last year.
 

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This is exactly what people used to criticise the Ospreys for when they were a stronger side than now - dominating the Pro 14 but unconvincing in Europe. (Curiously, no one has a go at Exeter for doing well domestically but not at European level).


Rob Baxter himself has done exactly that.
 

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Well after today Sarries are playing for English pride as the rest of the English clubs have let us down badly. Wasps absolutely spanked, Leicester with a defence that is as leaky as a bottomless bucket, Bath thinking they'd won it and Exeter holding on for a draw. At the moment English rugby is not inspiring confidence leading up to the world cup.
 

Tooting Carmen

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Well after today Sarries are playing for English pride as the rest of the English clubs have let us down badly. Wasps absolutely spanked, Leicester with a defence that is as leaky as a bottomless bucket, Bath thinking they'd won it and Exeter holding on for a draw. At the moment English rugby is not inspiring confidence leading up to the world cup.

If it is any consolation or relevance, the Welsh regions were not actually that impressive in Europe even when the national side dominated the Six Nations.
 

Reiser99

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If it is any consolation or relevance, the Welsh regions were not actually that impressive in Europe even when the national side dominated the Six Nations.

I won't say this is the whole issue, but when Wales spread their players across 4 clubs compared with 2 Scotland and 4 across the whole of Ireland, it does seem by comparison that Welsh players are spread thinly. Leinster and Ireland have got their setup spot on at the moment, but it is certainly helped by a lack of competition for younger players. However I will say that I don't think any of the reasons explains the gap between the pro 14 clubs and the English clubs in Europe. At the moment we are 0-1-3 in the Champions cup (with the draw being generous) and it's worrying how big the gap is. The only reason outside of coaching standards I can see is number of minutes played and that's where central contracts have worked wonders, with the likes of Sexton being rested for big games compared with English players who barely get any rest at all.
 

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How was the Exeter draw generous?
I thought they looked the better side, especially considering the missing players and injuries at the end.
 

Reiser99

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Fair enough, I only read the match report and highlights for that game. However I just checked the stats and they way it was written doesn't really reflect the game, my bad.
 

The Alpha Bro

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I won't say this is the whole issue, but when Wales spread their players across 4 clubs compared with 2 Scotland and 4 across the whole of Ireland, it does seem by comparison that Welsh players are spread thinly. Leinster and Ireland have got their setup spot on at the moment, but it is certainly helped by a lack of competition for younger players. However I will say that I don't think any of the reasons explains the gap between the pro 14 clubs and the English clubs in Europe. At the moment we are 0-1-3 in the Champions cup (with the draw being generous) and it's worrying how big the gap is. The only reason outside of coaching standards I can see is number of minutes played and that's where central contracts have worked wonders, with the likes of Sexton being rested for big games compared with English players who barely get any rest at all.
Central contracts doesn't really have that much to do with it. The provinces all rest their players who aren't on CCs and who aren't involved in Ireland squads, same with the other clubs in the league. There's the understanding in the Pro14 that your replacement is probably a better option than your starter if the starter has played three or four weeks in a row. You also won't see teams rest players arbitrarily, it's quite tactical to maximize points. The premiership hasn't grasped this, whether it's an away game where a loss is more or less certain or a home game where a side missing five starters will still win comfortably the same 23 will be thrown out, it's probably being forced by club owners because everything from common sense to the top sport science studies would tell you it's wrong but it's the biggest blight in English rugby right now.
 

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Saracens do seem to rotate their squad a bit more, but not really the other English clubs. When Bath fielded a weakened side at Saracens the other week, it caused uproar. It should also need not be pointed out that the Pro 14 does not have relegation, which means that fewer matches carry a genuine danger factor. With that said, the changes to the rules regarding European qualification a few years ago have certainly made the league more competitive - lots of commentators were pleasantly surprised when Leinster sent a near-full strength team to the Scarlets (bar Sexton) in round two, which would have been almost inconceivable pre-2014.
 

ragerancher

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I think proper resting is only part of it, all English clubs still employ the rugby league defence and still pay little attention to the ruck, Pro 14 teams actively challenge at the ruck and we are getting left behind. Also Pro 14 teams just seem faster. Leinster are running onto the ball at speed every time with the 9 whipping the ball out of the ruck quickly, we seem to do everything at a slow, plodding pace in comparison.

I think English rugby is too stuck in the past of slow, set piece style games. Only Sarries really try to play free flowing rugby offloading the ball out of contact. The attack from the rest of the teams is quite predictable.
 

The Alpha Bro

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I think proper resting is only part of it, all English clubs still employ the rugby league defence and still pay little attention to the ruck, Pro 14 teams actively challenge at the ruck and we are getting left behind. Also Pro 14 teams just seem faster. Leinster are running onto the ball at speed every time with the 9 whipping the ball out of the ruck quickly, we seem to do everything at a slow, plodding pace in comparison.

I think English rugby is too stuck in the past of slow, set piece style games. Only Sarries really try to play free flowing rugby offloading the ball out of contact. The attack from the rest of the teams is quite predictable.
Yeah, that's a very good point. Leinster could be mistaken for a super rugby side at times while everyone should have expected Munster be able to stick with Exeter simply because they'd be able to stop the going phase after phase after phase.
The French sides are an example of a middle ground, slightly more rested from throwing away games here and there and they attack rucks in defence but are a bit limited in attack. They've been contenders.
 

Tooting Carmen

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I think proper resting is only part of it, all English clubs still employ the rugby league defence and still pay little attention to the ruck, Pro 14 teams actively challenge at the ruck and we are getting left behind. Also Pro 14 teams just seem faster. Leinster are running onto the ball at speed every time with the 9 whipping the ball out of the ruck quickly, we seem to do everything at a slow, plodding pace in comparison.

I think English rugby is too stuck in the past of slow, set piece style games. Only Sarries really try to play free flowing rugby offloading the ball out of contact. The attack from the rest of the teams is quite predictable.

I am certainly no Pro 14 basher but, with all due respect, Leinster =/= Pro 14 overall. The Italian teams (or at least Zebre, at any rate), Kings and Dragons would not survive whatsoever in the English Premiership, while I would also question whether any team in it apart from Leinster and Munster would have any real chance of winning the Premiership either.
 

munstermuffin

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How was the Exeter draw generous?
I thought they looked the better side, especially considering the missing players and injuries at the end.
Not sure if you noticed but Munster were missing few vital players too

And had most of the territory. It wasn't genorous but I'd argue Exeter nowhere near looked the better side. Either did Munster. But again as I said in past when you do put it like that it is a good sign of repect for us.
 

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Not sure if you noticed but Munster were missing few vital players too.
lol, just take the D and move on

Exeter lost two of their best carriers in the last few mins after they headbutted each other
 
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ragerancher

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I am certainly no Pro 14 basher but, with all due respect, Leinster =/= Pro 14 overall. The Italian teams (or at least Zebre, at any rate), Kings and Dragons would not survive whatsoever in the English Premiership, while I would also question whether any team in it apart from Leinster and Munster would have any real chance of winning the Premiership either.

Leinster, Muster, Glasgow Warriors and Scarlets have all beaten prem clubs in the last 2 years, in some cases very convincingly. Leinster are at the top but middle table Pro 14 clubs are also beating top Prem clubs. Exeter can go out and pummel most prem clubs yet I haven't seen them do the same to European clubs. This is because they are the masters of the slower set piece games with league defences but against sides that compete at the ruck and play faster, they struggle. You look at how Exeter struggled with the wind against Munster yet they barely capitalised on it in the first half.

English rugby needs a shake up and the longer we leave it, the worse it will get. Do we really want to be in a position where we basically abandon the European games and the international squad because all that matters is bloated clubs playing in a financially unsustainable way beating each other in our own league to the detriment of everything outside it?
 

Tooting Carmen

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Leinster, Muster, Glasgow Warriors and Scarlets have all beaten prem clubs in the last 2 years, in some cases very convincingly. Leinster are at the top but middle table Pro 14 clubs are also beating top Prem clubs. Exeter can go out and pummel most prem clubs yet I haven't seen them do the same to European clubs. This is because they are the masters of the slower set piece games with league defences but against sides that compete at the ruck and play faster, they struggle. You look at how Exeter struggled with the wind against Munster yet they barely capitalised on it in the first half.

OK you have a point there. Further, Ospreys also beat Exeter three years ago (it was, in fact, the first-ever Ospreys match I ever attended). In addition, even when they were really out-of-form last season, they still thrashed Northampton both home and away and came remarkably close to beating Saracens both home and away. Just imagine if they had actually been on form...
 

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