Champions Cup 2019/2020: Pool 1

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Leinster v Benneton
Northampton v Lyon

Probably a bit early but I'm bored and had nothing better to do so thought I might as well set these up. Leinster should probably win this pool realistically (genius analysis I know), don't have much else to add really, the biggest mystery about this pool is whether or not Lyon will be bothered to try.
 

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Team selection for Leinster here will be interesting, a lot of guys really after putting their hand up over the last few weeks.

I'd start Healy, Kelleher (deserves it even if Cronin wasn't injured), Porter, Toner, Ryan, Ruddock, Van der Flier, Deegan, McGrath, Ross Byrne, Lowe, Tomane, Ringrose, Larmour, Keenan with Tracy, Ed Byrne, Furlong, Fardy, Connors, JGP, Harry Byrne, O'Loughlin on the bench.

Henshaw didn't look fit during the world cup, if he'd played against Connacht last week I'd have him in but too much of a risk here, Tomane is in great form. Seems like Sexton is being held back until Lyon which I'm fine with, Harry Byrne getting a European debut is good news.

Furlong played a lot in Japan and Porter was great against Connacht, would probably swap them back against Lyon but this is a good choice here I think. Reckon we could use a change in the back three from last year and Keenan has been the standout there for me over the last few weeks. Could probably mess around a lot in the back row if you wanted, could bring Murphy or Doris in easily but someone has to miss out. Fardy probably deserves a start but if we're starting an inexperienced hooker it's common sense to have Toner in there.

Unless we s*** the bed big time this should be a routine win ahead of a tricky game away to Lyon (really hope that comment doesn't come back to bite me). If things don't click here we have options to switch things up in France, either of the Kearneys could come in especially.
 

The Alpha Bro

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I'd start Healy, Kelleher (deserves it even if Cronin wasn't injured), Porter, Toner, Ryan, Ruddock, Van der Flier, Deegan, McGrath, Ross Byrne, Lowe, Tomane, Ringrose, Larmour, Keenan with Tracy, Ed Byrne, Furlong, Fardy, Connors, JGP, Harry Byrne, O'Loughlin on the bench.
Wouldn't put Keenan near a Heineken Cup 23 to be honest. I'd probably stick Larmour at 15, bring DK or Byrne onto the wing and I'd switch ROL out for RK or Henshaw. If Sexton is cleared I'd probably have him in for Harry, probably start him too. It's a weird selection dilemma though, if Lyon away was up first it'd definitely be all guns blazing but Benetton does invite the opportunity to rotate.

As an aside I wish Fetish had started the season better, him and McGrath pushing each other at 9 would be ideal, both got sloppy at the business end of last season and it cost us.
 

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Wouldn't put Keenan near a Heineken Cup 23 to be honest. I'd probably stick Larmour at 15, bring DK or Byrne onto the wing and I'd switch ROL out for RK or Henshaw. If Sexton is cleared I'd probably have him in for Harry, probably start him too. It's a weird selection dilemma though, if Lyon away was up first it'd definitely be all guns blazing but Benetton does invite the opportunity to rotate.

As an aside I wish Fetish had started the season better, him and McGrath pushing each other at 9 would be ideal, both got sloppy at the business end of last season and it cost us.
It's definitely a weird selection, a lot will come down to how the internationals do in training. I do think it wouldn't necessarily be great for squad morale do get 29 points out of 30 and then being catapulted out en masse for a bunch of guys who didn't distinguish themselves over the last few months (not that their performances in green are relevant at all). But equally at the same time it's unfair to get rid of guys because they were away at a competition they got picked for by being better than the other players. I think Keenan has been better than the guys you mentioned, I think Byrne has let this window pass him by to an extent and while Dave has been good he is Dave I'd rather take a chance on a young guy for this game. If it works it works, if it doesn't there are plenty of other options for next week. Think O'Loughlin has been really good so far which is why I had him in, he'll probably miss out which is the reality, there are more than 23 guys who deserve to be involved at the end of the day. Contepomi mentioned Sexton maybe not being back until Lyon which is what I'm working with, would definitely start him this week though if that's considered an option.
 

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Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):

15. Jordan Larmour (39)
14. Dave Kearney (139)
13. Garry Ringrose (65)
12. Joe Tomane (18)
11. James Lowe (34)
10. Johhny Sexton (160) CAPTAIN
9. Luke McGrath (114)
1. Cian Healy (209)
2. Rónan Kelleher (7)
3. Andrew Porter (54)
4. Devin Toner (236)
5. James Ryan (31)
6. Rhys Ruddock (162)
7. Josh van der Flier (73)
8. Caelan Doris (21)

16. James Tracy (98)
17. Peter Dooley (66)
18. Michael Bent (130)
19. Scott Fardy (48)
20. Max Deegan (52)
21. Jamison Gibson-Park (76)
22. Ross Byrne (76)
23. Rory O’Loughlin (66)


That's a sexy side.
 

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Nice looking team. Big chance for Kelleher up front, could well grab hold of the jersey over the next few weeks.

Doris over Deegan is probably a fair call on the basis of the season so far, although you'd be super frustrated if you were in Deegan's shoes to miss out the instant a starting chance finally shows up. Let his chance pass him by a bit though when it came, he was given a chance to start in his preferred position against Zebre and didn't take it. Doris has been building nicely for a while now by comparison and he's definitely going to explode onto the scene at some point. That might not be for another few years but who knows, if he plays well and keeps his spot over the coming months he could just as easily end up in the Six Nations squad. With Conan out there's a spot for another 8 and both Deegan and Doris should have their eye on it (especially given that O'Donoghue didn't make the Munster 23 this week).
 

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Tomane out, O'Loughlin starting with Henshaw on the bench.
 

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Thank God Ringrose is world class again
 

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Hope Doris is okay, he was looking good. Frustrating for him.
 

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Decent first half, could be better, could be worse. Benetton have made a decent game of it.
 

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Fitzgerald's been on the pies since he retired
 

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Don't think this ref has been great for either team.

If Benneton had the sense to kick their kickable penalties I'd be seriously worried.

Edit: what the f*** was that for? Genuinely curious cause I don't have a clue what the deal is with scrums
 

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Jack Ringrose scored a hat trick as well yesterday, for UCD in 1A.
 

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Strong team out for Saints know little about Lyon.
With favourites Leinster in group going to need points v Lyon and Benetton for any chance to get out of group as our bogey team will no doubt beat us twice but maybe pick a point or 2 in each game.
Not going today as family Birthday but doing the Leinster home and away and the Benetton home game which maybe a dead rubber.
 

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Not watching Saints-Lyon, can someone enlighten me as to whether Northamptom are good or Lyon or bad (or both?)
 

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Hard to believe Lyon are top of TOP14, they seem very disjointed and uninterested.
Strange game.
 

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Hard to believe Lyon are top of TOP14, they seem very disjointed and uninterested.
Strange game.
Some French have the attitude that the European games play second fiddle to the Top 14 as compared to everyone else.
 
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