Another big weekend of rugby with the added intrigue of the new laws and punishments for contact with the head. Here’s my round-up of all the action.
European Rugby Champions Cup
Racing Metro 92 7 – 32 Munster
1 from 1, it was predictable.
Munster were dominant with a disciplined attacking game, they only gave up 4 penalties all game. It was the first half where they really took control adding 3 tries with Murray & CJ Stander looking like Lions. Racing didn’t get on to the score sheet until after the hour mark when the game was all but over. Having lost their opening 3 games did Racing really not want to be here? They now have 0 points along with Zebra & Sale, not the company the big spending owner will have expected.
Newcastle Falcons 24 – 22 Bath
Gloucester Rugby 55 – 19 Worcester Warriors
Saracens 13 – 13 Exeter Chiefs
Harlequins 29 – 26 Sale Sharks
Northampton Saints 32 – 26 Bristol
Wasps 22 – 16 Leicester Tigers
4 from 6, not bad with the draw in there.
Falcons have been in a rich vein of form recently and have capped it off with a win over Bath. They got an early lead but Bath really should have come back sooner than they did but Ford had a shocker with the boot. That meant they only picked up their first points just before halftime. Bath got themselves into the lead but Falcons kept playing to the end and managed to come back in the last 10 minutes to win it narrowly.
Worcester were never in this game as Gloucester rushed out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter of the game. The Warriors did get the next score but were unable to get closer than 2 scores at any point in the game. They will be worried as Bristol have been picking up points and the gap has narrowed. Gloucester still have hopes of a top 6 finish and they are only 3 points behind Leicester and Northampton.
Saracens lost a man after only 10 minutes to a red card and were perhaps lucky that 2 players weren’t punished for the high tackle. Saracen splayed exceptionally well to have parity through this game and not allow Exeter to take advantage of having an extra man. A late pushover try meant that they came from behind to register a draw that will feel like a win.
Quins maintained their superb home record with a win over Sale. For all the negativity around Saints they managed 3 wins over the festive period and stopped Bristols good run. Wasps made sue the post Cockerill era at Tigers started with a loss. (sorry the last 3 games are brief but I ran out of time to write)
Newport Gwent Dragons 26 – 8 Benetton Treviso
Leinster 70 – 6 Zebre
Scarlets 16 – 13 Ulster
Ospreys 29 – 7 Connacht Rugby
Glasgow Warriors 29 – 15 Cardiff Blues
5 from 5, a perfect weekend when there are no upsets.
With Munster not playing they now trail Ospreys by 5 points and are on the same points as Leinster. Glasgow are just 1 point ahead of Scarlets to claim the last play-off position. The Italian teams still fill the bottom 2 places but Dragons climbed above Edinburgh who had a week off and so a game in hand.
Montpellier 31 – 26 Bordeaux Begles
Brive 23 – 22 Grenoble
La Rochelle 22 – 8 Castres
Stade Francais 15 – 18 Toulouse
Clermont Auvergne 30 – 6 Toulon
4 from 5, Toulouse bucked the home winning trend.
Clermont remain top but they are only 1 point clear of La Rochelle. Montpellier are the best of the rest with a small lead over the chasing Toulouse and Toulon. At the bottom Bayonne & Grenoble are still 9 points behind Lyon and safety.
Join the #RugbyChat on twitter for an hour of discussion about the action this weekend. If you can’t make the hour then you can still give your view as the conversation keeps going over the following day.
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