Heineken Cup: Best & Worst So Far

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Heineken Cup 2012 Champions Leinster

CLERMONT-FERRAND, FRANCE – With the first two rounds of the Heineken Cup in the books and the next two not scheduled until December, let’s take a brief look at the Best & Worst teams so far.

There are 7 teams that stand at 2-0 after the back-to-back weekends of pool play. However, of the Magnificent 7, a few truly stood out.

Brock James of Clermont Auvergne

Clermont Auvergne: Of all the current pool-toppers, Clermont are the only team to have the maximum points. Their 10 pts underlines their ability to score at least 4 tries each game. Their squad is deep, with the flexibility to rotate top class international level players in almost all positions. However, they also know how to play an expansive game and look to score at every opportunity. This ability will see them finish with the #1 seed for the Quarter Finals.

Ulster: The Ulstermen are the only undefeated team in Europe. They are 5-0 in the Rabodirect Pro 12 and are 2-0 in the Heineken Cup. The players have managed this victory while still struggling with the Nevin Spence tradegy. With that misfortune as motivation and top-drawer coach like Mark Anscombe steering young players like Paddy Jackson (20 yr. old), this squad has found its feet and understands the magnitude of the matches. They may be very good for a long time.

Saracens: Their defense first and and offense last game-plan has made the quite a few enemies from those that love free-flowing rugby. Considering the results, however, winning ugly is still and winning. They won’t change until someone proves that style ineffective. Right now, it’s trench warfare anytime the Sarries are on the pitch.

This list is of teams where much was/is expected, but have disappointed.

Leinster: This is what happens when you create a style of play called Leinstertainment. People have expectations of what they want to see. Leinster are also the defending Heineken Cup champions. They certainly didn’t look like champions against Exeter, where they lucky to walk away with a victory at home. They looked better on the road at Scarlets but didn’t set the house on fire. We are all waiting for them to shift up a couple of gears and the have their real class show.

Visser is one BIG back!

Edinburgh: Wow, would you believe that last year’s semifinalist just lost 22-0 to Munster?! They made some Munster veterans look like there were spring chickens. It was embarrassing and one of those where you kind of feel sorry for the other team.

Northhampton Saints: There were disappointing because they could and should be 2-0.  But they don’t know how to put teams to the sword. They faced a Castres team that lost to Ulster. The difference between them and Castres wasn’t huge, but the Saints just looked tired and ready to crumble as the game wore. They came on in the end but it was too little too late.

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About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at MeetTheMatts.com.