NEW YORK, NY – The Champions Cup has completed its fourth round of action. There were a few games that rattled our Expert Panel in Connacht, in Leicester and in LLanelli (home of the Scarlets) and others that were entertaining in their own way. Aside from analyzing said Panel’s Picks, we’ve got a review of the action. With that, here’s your European Champions Cup Recap.
Glasgow Warriors 23-7 Racing 92 – After upsetting Racing in Paris last weekend, the idea of Racing backlash in Glasgow seemed realistic. However, when the game kicked off in Glasgow, it was the Warriors that started like a house on fire. By the time the half-time whistle blew, Glasgow were up 18-0. Racing won the second the half but that was the best they could do.
Leicester Tigers 18-16 Munster – After the shellacking in Limerick that Munster handed to Leicester last weekend, the big question was how would Leicester bounce back. In their home confines the Tigers but up a much better fight. Up until the dying minutes, Munster were up by two. It took a last-minute penalty kick by Tigers fly-half Owen Williams to win the game and give the Tigers hope in still making the quarters.
Toulouse 54-15 Zebre – As many expected, we got a glorifies scrimmage as Toulouse tore up and completely outclassed Zebre side. The match was over before it hit 20 minutes.
Connacht 20-18 Wasps – MATCH OF THE FROGGIN ROUND!!! Get on youtube or whatever sports provider you have and go watch this game. If your short on time, watch the final 10 minutes. The highlight and big talking point was when Wasps tried to close out the match but ended up giving a penalty to Connacht at the death. Connacht captain, John Muldoon, talked the ref into believing the law allowing a team to kick to touch for a line-out. The actual law doesn’t go into effect until next year. Connacht took the resulting line-out, formed a maul and drove it in for the score, then fly-half Jack Carty showed nerves of steel as he made the winning kick 5 meters in from the touchline. Instant classic!!
Scarlets 22-21 Toulon – This is why we play the game. In the biggest upset of the weekend Scarlets knocked off Toulon. The visitors from France struggled at the start of the match and that struggle benefitted Scarlets as the hosts took an early lead. As Toulon grew into the game, Scarlets kept doing enough to hold the lead and fight them off. And Scarlets were able to hold on to win the match.
Sale Sharks 10-24 Saracens – Do not be followed by that scoreline. It looks like dominating performance from Saracens and it was. However, Sale were very pesky and fought very hard. The Sharks struggled with their handling and finishing along with some hard luck on penalties. It was simple things like that, that were the difference.
Castres 29-23 Montpellier – Castres were another team that lost the previous week but bounced back to win this weekend. This time it was the Castres attack that proved to be better than the formidable Montipol defense. The attack continued to get points with their forays into the Montpellier half and eventually Montipellier couldn’t keep pace.
Leinster 60-13 Northampton Saints – The future of Northampton head coach Jim Mallinder must now be in serious doubt. The pathetic performance by the Saints as Leinster absolutely destroyed them was sad. It was tough to tell how good Leisnter was as Northampton were that poor.
Clermont Auvergne 38-19 Ulster – Clermont are slowly turning Stade Michelin back into a fortress. The Yellow and Blues came out and domianted the first 50 minutes taking a 28-0 lead before Ulster fired back and it was 28-19. And just as it looked liked it was gonna be a nail biter, Clermont pulled ahead and sealed the match.
Bordeaux-Bègles 12-20 Exeter Chiefs – There was some accidental pre-game trash talk, as Bordeaux was publicizing its huge ticket sales for a match against non-top tier competition. Apparently, it was something lost in translation. However, Exeter didn’t give a damn and with a stifling performance on defense, they imposed their will on the match and walked away with the win.
Okay… Now on to our Expert Panel and the results of their European Champions Cup Picks!
Just to review, the Panel is comprised of Le Wolfman Ronan Nelson, contrived Kiwi Johnathan Wicklow Barberie, RWU’s French connection James Harrington of Jamesonrugby, West Ghana’s Rugby Rain Man Junoir Blaber, Paul Bains of DrivingMaul.com, the infamous Ireland National, Declan Yeats, Film expert and Wales Rugby connoisseur Jonny Lewis, and Jeff Pagano of Harpinonrugby.net . They all must pick the winners of each match and a Pick Of The Week, for which they must also provide the margin of victory.
Surprisingly, Yeats is in the lead with Harrington and Blaber in hot pursuit. Unfortunately Bains is still bringing up the rear. There is also a four-way tie for second place in the Pick of the Week stakes with the lead.
That’s all for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: @RugbyWrapUp, @Junoir Blaber, @Ronan Nelson, @JamesOnRugby, @JonnyLewisFilms, @HarpinOnRugby, @DrivingMaul, @MeetTheMatts, @Luke Bienstock, @Ronan Nelson, @Brian C Cole and @Declan Yeats.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.