Was Leinster's 2017-18 season, the greatest European campaign ever?

Discussion in 'European Champions & Challenge Cup' started by Lancashire Nick, May 25, 2018.

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Was this the greatest European campaign ever?

Poll closed Jun 1, 2018.
  1. Yes

    12 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. No

    8 vote(s)
    40.0%
  1. Lancashire Nick

    Lancashire Nick Member

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    This season, Leinster became only the fourth team to win the European Cup with a 100% record.

    Toulon in 1995-96 only had to play 4 games, Brive the following year just 7 games. The Pool stages weren't played on a home and away basis, and arguably, there were some poor teams that could be used as cannon fodder. Saracens went through the 2015-16 campaign with a 100% record, but they didn't have to face the level of competition that Leinster did this year.

    Leinster had to beat:

    Exeter (finished top of the Aviva Premiership table, and in the final)
    Montpellier (finished top of the Top 14 table, and in the semi-final)
    Glasgow (finished top of their Pro 14 Conference table)
    Saracens (back-to-back European champions, and in this year's Aviva Premiership final)
    Scarlets (joint top of their Pro 14 Conference table, and in the final)
    Racing 92 (finished 2nd of the Top 14 table, and in the semi-final)

    So my question is, is this the greatest European/Heineken Cup season that any team have ever had?
     
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  3. noah_jo

    noah_jo Senior Member

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    If they had blown racing away then maybe, but they still looked like they could (should?) have lost
     
  4. Tigs Man

    Tigs Man Senior Member

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    Nah Leicester Tigers 2001/02 was IMO.

    Leinster can rest all their players for Europe so it really isn't that impressive when you think about it.
    The fact that they went unbeaten in the pool stages shows just how weak that pool really was.
     
  5. RedruthRFC

    RedruthRFC Senior Member

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    Good post OP. It's not something I'd given consideration to, but their case as you state it is very strong. One thing that I would add is that not only did Leinster come through their pool of death (I assume that the comment above about it was tongue in cheek) unscathed, but they did so in such emphatic fashion as to be the number one seeds for the quarter finals. I do agree with the other post above that the style of their victory in the final takes a little bit of the gloss off though. On that basis, I'm tempted to side with the 1997 Brive side. Their path to the final was certainly easier, but they made easy work of it (bizarrely other than an away trip to Caledonia Reds). The way that they dismantled a decent Leicester side in the final is the real reason I would throw their name into the ring - they were brutal.
     
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  6. Lancashire Nick

    Lancashire Nick Member

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    Fair point, as you say, they beat a very good Leicester team in the final. My knock on them would be the quality of the sides they faced on the way there, although that's not their fault.

    I don't think there's a definitive answer, but I thought it a good discussion point.
     
  7. Chief Pete

    Chief Pete Senior Member

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    I voted yes because as you put it the quality of opposition has been top notch, apart from the Worcester 6-5 loss, Chiefs hadn't been beat at Sandy Park since 2016 and even then Steenson missed a conversion and Warriors will never defend that well again, so very much a one off but Leinster winning there, hate to say it but never really in doubt.

    The only doubts I'd have are Montpellier and Glasgow disappointed but the main one would be they played Sarries at the right time, if they were to play tomorrow, who knows...
     
  8. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur Senior Member

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    I hadn't thought about it, but i think you make a fair point.
     
  9. duncanb

    duncanb Senior Member

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    I voted No.
    Mainly find it so hard to compare different teams at different times.
    Were the 2003 England team best ever or 2015 all blacks et al.
    Each team was best at that moment in time ;impossible to say best ever as never in reality can you compare between teams at their peak as they didn't play each other.
    My thoughts only.
     
  10. Cruz_del_Sur

    Cruz_del_Sur Senior Member

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    Well, you can compare how dominant they were at their time.
     
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  11. snoopy snoopy dog dog

    snoopy snoopy dog dog Senior Member

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    Had they beaten Racing 92 as convincingly as they accounted for Saracens and Scarlets in the knockouts, I think this would be in contention for the best campaign in European rugby history.

    I'd say the 2011/12 Leinster campaign was slightly better. They went through the pool unbeaten and obliterated the Blues and Ulster in the knockouts. Winning against an outstanding Clermont side in the semi final in France was an outstanding result. They only conceded one try in the knockouts, a consolation score for Ulster when the game was as good as over, scoring 10 tries along the way.

    The Wasps 2003/4 team were a brilliant side. Their semi final win against Munster in Lansdowne Road was the highest quality club game I'd ever seen to that point.
     
  12. FrenchFan

    FrenchFan Senior Member

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    Not really a fair comparison. Cotter had just started at Montpellier with a new staff and a host of new signings. The Montpellier that finished top is a different beast from the team that played Leinster in the early season. The players were still learning each other's name during the pool games.
     
  13. FrenchFan

    FrenchFan Senior Member

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    They were dominated by Racing. Dominating isn't winning though. But Racing showed the way on how to beat Leinster.
     
  14. big ginger 8

    big ginger 8 Senior Member

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    Pretty sure Montpellier were top when we played them first...

    Certainly they had won 5/7 games for the first meeting and 10/15 for the second one. Sounds like they knew each other.
     
  15. FrenchFan

    FrenchFan Senior Member

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    for the 1st pool game in October Cotter was less than 3 mths in charge. The team couldn't have gelled in such a short time.

    They were bigged up by everyone. Wonder what people will they say next season.
     
  16. The Alpha Bro

    The Alpha Bro Senior Member

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  17. RedruthRFC

    RedruthRFC Senior Member

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    It wasn't a comparison, it was a statement of fact. By the time Leinster faced Montpellier in the final pool game, Montpellier were 10 & 5 - a slightly better winning percentage than the 17 & 9 that saw them top the final table.
     
  18. Amiga500

    Amiga500 Senior Member

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    After reading this, I had to vote yes.

    Not that I like to antagonize or anything :D
     
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