Champions Cup Gameweek 4 – Round up
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An action packed weekend of Champions Cup Rugby comes to a close. We had electric encounters and other more static affairs. Home advantage told as only one away win was recorded in ten games. We take a look at all the action.
Saracens 28 – 15 Sale
Sarries knew a win would see them top the pool for 24hours at least. They dually obliged but failed to secure a bonus point victory.
Billy Vunipola performed impressively, scoring once and creating another. Sale however showed they weren’t going to roll over with Nathan Hines in particular fronting up and even getting over for a score.
Saracens will feel that this was a 5 pointer that got away from them.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19821
ASM Clermont 26 -19 Munster
Clermont attacked with ruthless efficiency in this one. Munster showed huge improvement from the reverse fixture in Thomond last week. JJ Hanrahan made an impact at 12 but their backline was no match for Rougerie et al.
A superb solo effort by Noa Nakaitaci was a knife to Munster heart as he crossed the line right before the break.The gulf in class was noticeable throughout however. Keatley did manage to salvage a losing bonus point for the men in red with a late penalty. Fritz Lee, the hero for ASM in Limerick, infringing at the breakdown to give the traveling contingent something from the match. It could prove crucial.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19832
How they stand:
Leinster 14 – 13 Harlequins
Leinster will feel they got away with this one. Leading 11-0 at the break Harlequins had more than enough opportunities after the break to make it back to back wins against the three times champions.
A dominant scrum and two questionable decisions by Referee Romain Poite and the TMO didn’t help the Londoners cause. The crowd at the Aviva stadium (disappointing attendance compared to previous years) will have walked away feeling hard done by from a game that failed to capture the imagination. Little quality in open field play and a real arm wrestle of a contest didn’t propel this game to classic status.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19824
Wasps 44 -17 Castres
Wasps ended their 12-year affiliation with Adams Park with a bang. A seven try thumping of the French outfit, with Varndell and Jacobs picking up a brace each.
A second string Castres side, the selection of which undermines the validity of the competition, seemed disinterested and Wasps had the bonus point wrapped up in the first half. They did offer slightly more in the second half and managed to make the score line a little less embarrassing.
Wasp’s fans will be happy the team was able to give Adams Park the send off it deserved as they now move to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19831
How they stand:
Toulon 23 – 8 Leicester
Revenge was sweet as Toulon took the game to Leicester and ran out comfortable winners in their own back yard. Ali Williams rolled back the years with an incredible performance that defied his 33 years and a try to boot.
The strength in depth Toulon boost is something to behold. Leicester never seemed like they would push Toulon close and even a losing bonus point looked like a step to far.
Toulon remains unbeaten at the Stade Félix Mayol and a home quarterfinal is in their sights, a scary proposition for any side.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19816
Scarlets 22 – 13 Ulster
Scarlets dominated the first half and went into the break with a 12-0 lead thanks too four penalties from the boot of Rhys Preistland. Ulster responded in the second half with Darren Cave crossing the line for an early try.
The comeback wasn’t to be as James Davies intercepted a gift of a pass for Roger Wilson late on to seal the win for Illaneli.
Ulsters dreams of a second European Cup have been dashed for another year. The Scarlets are still in with a shout but the chances are slim with better placed runners up in other pools.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19833
How they stand:
Bath 32 – 12 Montpellier
Matt Banahan stole the show with a hat-trick of tries as Bath bagged a bonus point against a mixed performance from Montpellier. Bath enjoyed a 17-0 at the half but had to work a lot harder in the second half. The bonus point clinching fourth try only come in the last three minutes. Horacio Agulla skated through to score under the posts.
Bath welcomed back influential backrower Francois Lowe to the starting team as well as giving Sam Burgees his first European start at inside center. Montpellier has been poor throughout the competition falling to their fourth defeat. Two wins from the last two sees Bath back in the hunt for best runners up spot.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19806
Glasgow 9 – 12 Toulouse
Toulouse fronted up and showed how to win ugly in this dire affair at Scotstun. Glasgow was suffocated at every turn by a dominant Toulouse pack led by Louis Picamoles. Young fly half Finn Russell had a game to forget with a couple unsuccessful kicks at goal.
Duncan Weir was drafted in on the 58th minute to try and see the Warriors over the line. A famous win wasn’t to be as Toulouse proved too difficult to break down. They now have control over the pool with Glasgow in a direct shootout with Bath for a place in the quarters.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19813
How they stand:
Northampton 67 – 0 Treviso
Was this a case of Northampton brilliance or a brutal showing by Treviso? I think more of the later. Samu Manoa and Ken Pisi became the hat-trick men as the Saints ran in eight tries at Franklins Gardens.
This was a game the Italian outfit will like to quickly forget with little positives from their performance. Northampton won’t be getting carried away with this one. They will face far sterner tests in rounds 5 and 6. They remain a real force at home with no team fancying a trip the Gardens in the quarter finals.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19817
Racing Metro 18 – 14 Ospreys
Another poor quality game saw Racing take the spoils. With a 15-0 lead after the first half the home side failed to close out the game. Ospreys applied more pressure and pushed the French side close. It was a case of close but no cigar, as Johan Goosen’s late penalty sealed the win and with it ending Ospreys hopes of making the knock out stages.
With Jonny Sexton to return for the next round of matches don’t be surprised to see Racing progress as a best runner up. They have a lot of work to do but with such a talented squad, maybe, just maybe they could do something this year.
Catch the Highlights here: http://www.epcrugby.com/matchdaytv/?play=media&id=19822
How they stand: