Friday, January 18, 2019

EPCR Champions Cup: Round Last

ed note: we'll build on this post as the matches conclude throughout the weekend

By the Numbers: Round 6

Group 5 - Friday, January 18, 2019

14           for Edinburgh 10, Jaco Van der Walt, on 4 penalties and conversion of the 60th  minute grounding by 21-years old flyer Darcy Graham, and 19-10 the record v Montpellier at Murrayfield; with victory, home team secured a 1st -round home playoff match as well as topspot in the group;

73          minutes for a try by Toulon hooker, Bastien Soury, put his side in front to stay and visitors recorded 27-24 victory in Kingston Park at Newcastle;

Group 3, Saturday

14          Saracens second stanza points unanswered by Glasgow and Warriors dropped the decision in Barnet Copthall, 19-38; 14 points in the account of Sarries 9, Ben Spencer, on 1 try, 1 penalty and 3 conversions, while Owen Farrell not on gameday roster; 

21          last 40 points on a trio of trys plus a brace for flyer, Aled Summerhill in the first forty made for Blues numbers at Cardiff Arms Park in  the 33-14 comeback, defeat of Lyon

Group 4: Saturday

10          the deficit for traveling Ulster after ‘40, 0-10, but a brace of converted second stanza groundings enabled the 14-13 pippage of Leicester at Welford Road and Ulster are into extra time come March, though they’ve placed second in their group because…

31           points in the final half by Racing 92 put the Parisians clear of Scarlets who led by a point at the break; a brace of trys by the home team 15, Simon Zebo, cancelled a brace by his oppo number, Johnny McNicholl and 46-33 the record

Group 2: Saturday

7             points on a try by Exeter openside, Zimbabwe-native Don Armand, and its conversion by 10, Joe Simmonds, in the 12th minute and Chiefs made that stand up into the last ’10, but 3 penalties by homeboys 10, Joey Carberry, the 3rd an hour after Armand’s dot, and Munster had the 9-7 securement of 1st in the group and a seat in the after hours frame come March;

2             groundings by Castres 13, Florian Vialelle, and a grounding by their 8man, Tongan international Ma’ama Vaipulu, way into extra time made for the 24-22 French victory at the Pierre-Fabre over Gloucester

Sunday, January 13, 2019

EPCR: Champions Cup - Round 5 By the Numbers

EPCR – Champions Cup Round 5: By the Numbers

Group 1
4             point halftime lead for Leinster without their injured Ireland 10, Jonnie Sexton, but the pivot well-filled by Ross Byrne and 5 table points the final haul; also 1st place in the pool after ’80 with a result of 29-13 over previously unbeaten headboy, Toulouse;
2             the measure of separation after ’40, and 2 after ’80 as Bath topped Wasps at the Rec, 18-16; 11 for travelers 10, Lima Sopoaga, on 3 penalties and the conversion of a 14th minute grounding by 8man, Nate Hughes; Sopoaga got 1 yellow assessment as well;

Round 6, Group 1
Sunday, January 20, 2019:
Toulouse (17) v (9) Bath at the Ernest Wallon: victory should ensure homeboys get to the post season, but whether they take the pool is out of French hands, because…
Wasps (4) v (20) Leinster at Ricoh Arena: Hornets will not be pleased with the way their tournament has gone and will be looking to spoil the reigning European champs bid for a first playoff round bye, while the quality-rich/deep travelers seek max points; it’ll be lively;

Group 2
26           for Munster 10, Joey Carbery, on 5 conversions, 2 penalties and 2 trys as the standoff lit up Kingsholm and his XV dotted 5 times in reducing Gloucester in Cherry-and-Whites home ground, 41-15;
5             try Exeter Chiefs saw off Castres at Sandy Park, 34-12, in a well-balanced, 2-pack and 3-back try effort for the fiver in front of their faithful;

Round 6, Group 2
Saturday, January 19, 2019:
               Munster (17) v (13) Exeter Chiefs at Thomond Park: the English league’s leaders need to win and win big in order to remain in play, while the Munster XV have not been defeated at home since December 2017, and are on a run of three wins including a happy fracas v Jonnie Sexton and Leinster just prior to the new year;
               Castres (9) v (8) Gloucester at Pierre-Fabre: this should be a fine display; each are out of the playoffs and will be crying havoc and loosing the pups;

Group 3
5             try Glasgow Warriors got 5 table points in their bon voyage of Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun, 33-24; yet the Scots are adrift the group leaders because…
2             trys for 13, Nick Tomkins, and Saracens did the necessary for their 5er over Lyon atMatmut and now lead all groups in the competition;

Round 6, Group 3
Saturday, January 19, 2019:
Saracens (23) v  (19) Glasgow Warriors at Barnet Copthall: winner takes the pool, one might think, and if it’s travelers, then loser will make playoffs; if it’s hosts, Warriors still have a shot at making playoffs but it will require losses by other runnersup, never the best nor most secure strategy;
Cardiff Blues (4) v (0) Lyon at the Arms Park: for club and contract;

Group 4
6             point halftime lead reduced to 4 by ’80, yet still Ulster held off Racing 92  at Ravenhill, 26-22, to make the pool a two-team race;
2             groundings for Scarlets loosehead, Rob Evans, and a run of 33 points unanswered as Llanelli Scarlets  throttled Leicester Tigers at Parc y Scarlets, 33-10; Tigers scores came in the form of 2 dots, but not until after the hour mark;

Round 6: Group 4
Saturday, January 19, 2019:
Leicester Tigers (6) v (18) Ulster at Welford Road: travelers must win to apply for the post season, Big Cats say, “Wot?”
Racing 92 (21) v (7) Llanelli Scarlets at La Défense Arena: 92 can confirm home field throughout the playoffs with the bonus point win;

Group 5
2             trys for Montpellier flyer, Henry Immelman, who along with 7 teammates on the match roster hail from South Africa – and the French Giants put guests Newcastle Falcons to the sword and out of the running at the Altrad, 45-8;
13           for travelers 10, Jaco Vander Walt, on two conversions and three penalties as Edinburgh surprised Toulon at the Mayol, 28-17; Toulon had a 12-8 advantage heading into the sheds, but the visiting 15, Blair Kinghorn, crossed in the 43rd minute to pop Edinburgh in front at 13-12; Scots padded that lead until they’d 15 more just after the hour mark for the result; 5 points for returning flyer Julian Savea on a try in the last ’10 for Toulon’s record;

Friday, January 18, 2019:
Edinburgh (19) v (16) Montpellier at Murrayfield: for the group; each are coming off significant victories, but none, one might suppose, more important than the hosts win over Toulon at the Mayol; The Scots have arrived and with joy here, will take the pool; should Montpellier get the road happy, it’ll be upto the goings on in the other brackets, but Group 5 could see two teams in extra time;
               Newcastle Falcons (8) v (6) Toulon  at Kingston Park: hunh… hopefully the weather will play fair and the players can open up their tricks bags and work the pill as if this were the final match of the season, which it is;

Friday, January 11, 2019

European Professional Club Rugby: Champions Cup - preview Round 5

European Professional Club Rugby – Round 5, Champions Cup

It’ll be do or die for a number of XVs in Champions Cup action this weekend. With only a brace of fixtures remaining on the schedule before a break during which Six Nations and the competitors’ leagues (Gallagher, Guinness and Orange) take the stage. And when one says break one is talking more than two months until the first three-day, EPCR, knockouts on the weekend of March 29-31; if you’re thinking a lot can happen ‘twixt now and then… you’d be abso correct – such are the interwoven rats’ nests of competition fashioned by their principals… and not just interwoven, but adhesived [sic] with super glue as well. 
Though the Northern Hemisphere competitions are vital and vibrant, they’re a tad confusing to interpret given the reluctance of them what run the individual shows to arrive at agreement on the elusive “One Season” vaporous grail.  Figure pretty much 20 table points will assure a team of advancement to extra time.

Group 1:
               Saturday - Bath (5) v (3) Wasps at The Rec: this’ll be for pride and contract, significant motivators at times;
               Saturday - Leinster (15) v (17) Toulouse at the Royal Dublin Society, Lansdowne Road, Dublin: M-o-W; who wins, they’re into knockouts… pretty much;

Group 2:

               Friday – Gloucester (8) v (12) Munster at Kingsholm: travelers are 7-2-1 in their last 10, while their opponents are in an answer search, having lost three-from-five recently, two at home; this here be the pool of death with everyone yet in the mix, but that aspect will sort itself this round, one should think;
               Saturday – Exeter Chiefs (8) v  (9) Castres at Sandy Park: if visitors can find the form with which they schooled T14 headboy Clermont pre-Autumn Tests they’ve got a shot, but actually both have experienced issues in their last handful of outings; nevertheless winners innit still and losers will be left to count their toes at day’s end; other M-o-W;

Pool 3:

               Sunday – Glasgow Warriors (14) v (4) Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun: homeys hope to find their form in this one as they’ve dropped three straight and will be wondering where that form has gotten, while their guests have been on the struggle bus this season;
               Sunday – Lyon (0) v (18) Saracens at the Matmut: though undefeated in the new year and on two joys in a row, Lyon have only three happies from their last ten encounters; travelers, on the other hand, are a single win from three holiday season contests, an uncommon occurrence for those corsairs to say the minimum… they’ll be full strength and looking for someone to punch and punch hard; Jonnie Wisznewski and mates may be ready for a dull and dour surprise for their guests; sleeper of the weekend?

Pool 4:

               Saturday – Ulster (14) v (19) Racing 92 in Kingspan at Ravenhill: poorly-disciplined travelers were hammered just prior to the new year on the trot, but 92 had not Finn Russell at 10 in that, while homeboys have dropped their last two GPro14 comps; Ravenhill be fairly rockin’ with rugby this RugbyDay; M-o-W, M-o-W, boom;
               Saturday – Llanelli Scarlets (2) v (5) Leicester Tigers at Parc y Scarlets: a club with solo joy in its last half dozen outings versus their guests who’ve a brace of victories from their recent eleven games; wtf? one might think of these once vaunted giants; however, these boys are pros and this’n could be played with real abandon and might very well be worth a looksee;

Pool 5:

               Saturday – Toulon (6) v (15) Edinburgh at the Felix Mayol: if you’d have thought these clubs would be in their current positions in the group, you’d be nuevo Nostradamus; Edinburgh are deep and formidable this season, and are better than the sum of their parts, while the same cannot be said of their weekend hosts; still, one would have to go back before the time of last Autumn’s Tests to find loss at Felix Mayol; Rhys Webb was special last outing in the Mayol; Pilou-Pilou indeed;
               Saturday – Montpellier (11) v (8) Newcastle Falcons in GGL at the Altrad: home team will be looking for maximum points here; travelers have lost five in succession, though talisman, Toby Flood, is back at standoff and captain, and the Birds're not out of the Champions Cup just yet; homeboys, at times this campaign have looked almost Toulon-esque, laden with talent yet too many thumbs on the one hand every so often; hosts are hunting at minimum a barrage fixture, but may win the group pot with a win should Edinburgh stumble in the South of France and Montpellier find joy next Friday at Murrayfield; Johann Goosen will start at 10 with Aaron Cruden, perhaps the finest distributor in the game today, on the bench; service to the three-quarters will be provided by 21-years old Ben Paillaugue, whose act behind the pack will be definitive;

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Europe: Gallagher, Guinness and France, BtN 1.6.19

Gallagher Premiership - formerly called Aviva

14          for Sharks 10, Ruan du Preez, on 1 conversion and 4 penalties and Sale made a 5-point halftime lead standup with the home result over Saracens in AJ Bell at Salford City with a record of 24-18 after ’80; formerly an easy English mark, Sale have the best form in the league just now and are on the cusp of obtaining the playoffs; Sarries have now lost 2 from their last 3 and Mr. du Preez may be just what Sale’s medical staff prescribed… pair of yellow cards issued on either side of halftime for travelers enabled a brace of du Preez’ sticksplitters, the measure of separation at day’s end;

            the margin for Chiefs and Bears as Exeter opened up a 4-point lead over Saracens after their defeat of Bristol in Sandy Park, 14-9;

19           in the account of Leicester Tigers 10, George Ford, on 4 conversions, 2 penalties and 1 grounding and home team got the happy over Gloucester at Welford Road, 34-16; a brace of trys for home flyer, Jonnie May, in the 5 table- point win;

13           for Harlequins 10, Marcus Smith, on the conversion of all 5 Quins scores plus a late penalty and travelers got the road 5-pointer over their hosts, Newcastle Falcons, at Kingston Park, 38-17; Harlequins have climbed to 3rd now on the chart;

18           minutes of extra time before a resurgent Worcester were able to facilitate flyer Bryce Heem’s second dot and after its conversion by Warriors 10, Duncan Weir, a 21-19 comeback victory over Bath at Sixways was obtained;

12           for Wasps 10, Lima Sopoaga, on 3 conversions and 2 penalties and the hosts made a 17-16 midpoint margin a 27-16 victory over Northampton Saints at the Ricoh;

Upcomes the English League – off until 2.15.2019

Friday, February 15:
               Gloucester (32) v (51) Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm: Cherry-and-Whites have lost 2 running; Chiefs are top:
Saturday, February 16:
               Northampton Saints (26) v (29) Sale Sharks at Franklin’s Gardens: Saints having an off season, while their guests are the hottest team in the league right now; M-o-W M-o-W
               Bath (28) v (17) Newcastle Falcons at the Rec: home team looking to keep visitors in the cellar;
               Saracens (47) v (29) Leicester Tigers at Barnet Copthall: wotcher Sarries? one win from your last three;
               Harlequins (33) v (21) Worcester Warriors at Twickenham: could be five for homeys;
               Bristol Bears (24) v (29) Wasps at Ashton Gate: each have two wins from their last five;

Guinness Pro14

16           for Munster 10, Joey Carberry, on 4 conversions, 1 penalty and 1 try as travelers got the road 5-pointer at the Galway Sportsground, 31-24, over host Connacht; double for visitors 12, Danny Goggin;

6             try Edinburgh had the bonus-point by halftime and went on to throttle punchless and just-off-vacation Kings at Murrayfield, 38-nil; brace of groundings for flyer Darcy Graham in the win;

2             trys in the early goings by Leinster 2, Sean Cronin, set the stage for home team’s rout of Irish brethren, Ulster, at the RDS, and 40-7 the final as hosts proved last week’s loss a one-off thing;

            1st-40 penalties struck by Scarlets 10, Dan Jones, and Redmen made a 12-3 midpoint advantage stand up with a 22-13 final scoreline at Parc y Scarlets over Newport-Gwent Dragons;

10           by 10, Sam Davies on 2-and-2 from his toe - 1 a dropped goal - and Ospreys topped Cardiff Blues at Liberty Stadium, 20-11;

            trys for engine, Dean Budd, and Benetton Treviso got the nod past Glasgow Warriors, 20-17, at Stadio Communal; Scots have now lost 3 running, not the ideal transition from old year to new; 4 victories flush just now, the Italians are level on table points with second-placed Edinburgh and in the last playoff slot now-now;

12           for the house at the half in Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, before a well-rested Cheetahs put a trio of trys down in the second stanza for the Fast Cats 27-12, 5-point road victory over scoreless in the last ’40 Zebre; double for 21-years old, outside center Benhard Janse van Rensburg for the victors;

Upcomes Guinness Pro 14
while the European are after their EPCR schedules for the next month and readying up for SixNats, Cheetahs and Southern Kings will play their home-away fixtures
Saturday, January 15, 2019:
               Southern Kings (12) v (22) Cheetahs at Mytjalies-Mandela Bay: Kings could use the win;

Saturday, February 2, 2019:
               Cheetahs (22) v (12) Southern Kings in the Free State Stadium: see above

French Top 14

10           points ahead at the half, Stade Français extended their 13-3 lead for  a 27-8, 4-try, 5-point joy over guests, Perpignan, at Stade Jean-Bouin;

            yellow cards applied in the 2nd stanza not a worry for Castres, who came to the Stade des Alpes on a 3-match skid; guests defense held and Grenoble’s own indiscipline was punished by a trio of flyhalf Ben Urdapilleta’s penalty strikes, and 16-6 the final in the French mountains;

18           struck by Lyon 10, Jonnie Wiszniewski, on 1 dropped goal and 5 penalties made for 25-14 happiness on the trot for travelers at the Altrad in Montpellier;

7             nil for visiting Bordeaux Bègles before a red card levied in the 11th minute followed by a second stanza yellow, and Bègles went down to 23-40 defeat against 6-try, 5-point Section Paliose in the Stade du Hameau; Pau ended its 7-match T14 losing streak with the win, putting a bit of distance between itself and relegation;

4             scores for Racing 92 against a single for guests, Perpignan, and 92 got the expected 5 at La Défense Arena by a final count of 27-8;

            the measure of separation between Agen and Toulouse at the end of the day despite 15 from Agen 10, Aussie Jake McIntyre, on 2-and-2 off his toe and 1 try, but Toulouse prevailed, 27-20 at Stade Armandie, and were briefly headboy before…

24           Clermont points during 3 La Rochelle yellow cards meant the big and bossy homeboys maintained the topspot in the league after 44-19 victory at the Michelin; 18 the first period points haul by 9, Grieg Laidlaw, on 2 conversions, 3 penalties and 1 try as the frontrunners sorted the number 3 XV;

Upcomes the French 14
Saturday,, January 26, 2019
               Castres Olympique (33) v (52) Clermont at the Pierre Fabre: homeboys tough this time of year;
               Bordeaux Bègles (39) v (17) Agen at Chaban-Delmas: Bègles will be looking to improve on last week’s undiscipline [sic];
               La Rochelle (42) v (32) Montpellier at Marcel Deflandre: both need;
               Perpignan (4) v (24) Section Paloise at Aimé Giral: Perps got nothing... to lose, while Pau hunting now;
               Lyon (40) v (40) Racing 92 at the Matmut: both coming off big wins and seek to continue that joyous path… one will; Match-of-Weekend;

Sunday, January 27, 2019:
               Toulouse (49) v (20) Grenoble at Ernest Wallon: home team is hungry and travelers have yet to win on trot;
               Toulon (24) v (41) Stade Français at Felix Mayol: hosts are struggling to keep relegation at bay, while guests are on three in a row;

Monday, December 31, 2018

Europe: Gallagher, Guinness and the French 14 BtN

English Premiership, formerly called Aviva, now Gallagher

3             the measure of separation after ’80 at Franklin’s Gardens and Saints held off Exeter Chiefs, 31-28, for joy; 16 for Northampton 10, Dan Biggar, on four conversions, a penalty strike and a try, and Saints were briefly in playoff position, before the conclusion of the weekend fixtures list; Exeter are one-up on their nemesis, because…
-6           at midpoint, 11-17, no worry for Sarries as a brace of converted second stanza scores against naught for their guests made for the comeback on Worcester and a final of 25-17 for Saracens at Barnet Copthall;
            points for Sale on the trot at Kingsholm and Big Fish are on a tear since adding Ruan Du Preez at 10 and one of the finest finishers playing today, Chris Ashton, in the three-quartersline; Sharks bounced Gloucester, 30-15; they’ve gone 3-1-1 in Gallagher matches after getting a losing bonus point at Saracens in mid-November, and Steve Diamond’s boys are now in the fat part of the chart and moving up, eye on a playoff spot;
19          years old Harlequins 10, Marcus Smith guided his XV to victory, 20-13, over Wasps, at Twickenham Stoop; travelers have now lost 4 from their last 5 and need answers;
            the margin at the half, made 7 by day’s end, still Bath triumphed over Leicester Tigers at the Rec, 23-16; losing bonus-point for the visitors, however;
28           for the house at Ashton Gate heading for the final 10 minutes before Bristol flyer, Tommie Pincus, dotted down and Callum Sheedy added the extras for a 35-28, Bears win over Newcastle Falcons; 13 for Falcons 10, Toby Flood, on 2-and-3 from the tee

 Upcomes Gallagher:

               Friday, 1.4.2019
                              Sale Sharks (25) v (46) Saracens at Salford City Stadium: home team rising, visitors stumbling?
               Saturday, 1.5.2019
                              Exeter Chiefs (47) v (23) Bristol Bears at Sandy Park: Chiefs shooting for five here;
                              Leicester Tigers (24) v (32) Gloucester at Welford Road: time for Cats to feed?
                              Newcastle Falcons (17) v (28) Harlequins at Kingston Park: guests looking to remain in a playoff slot;
                              Worcester Warriors (17) v (27) Bath at Sixways: crucial win for visitors would keep homeboys in Gallagher Premiership basement;                                                              
               Sunday, 1.6.2019

                              Wasps (25) v (26) Northampton Saints at Ricoh Arena: homeys lost last three, guests won last two...                                                  something will give... Match of Weekend

Guiness Pro14

            the halftime advantage for Treviso made 18 by ’80 at Stadio Communal and Benetton did the “Azzurri Double” over Zebre, closing out the winning brace with 28-10 victory; head coach Kieran Crowley’s crew are now in the playoff frame in Group B;
14           for Munster 10, Joey Carberry, on 1 conversion and 4 penalties at Casino Night in Thomond Park as guest Leinster got a brace of yellow assessments and a righteous red in the first 40 and went down to 17-26 ultimate defeat; Munster are now snap-snap-snapping at the Glasgow hindquarter as…
11           for Edinburgh 10, Jaco Van der Walt, sufficient for the “Scots Double” and Glasgow were defeated in a dour display at Scotstoun, 8-16;
19           for Cardiff 10, Garo Anscombe, on 4 conversions, 2 penalties and a try as visitors got the bonus point over Scarlets, 34-5, at Parc y Scarlets; brace of dots for Blues 13, Rey Lee-Lo, the last for the extra table point at ’76;  
            points up at the half at 14-7, Connacht made for a 21-12 record and the win at the Galway Sportsground over Ulster;
17           for Ospreys 10, Sam Davies, on 1 conversion and 5 penalty strikes not quite enough to overcome Dragons, and 23-22 the joy for Newport-Gwent’s home XV at Rodney Parade

 Upcomes GPro14:

               Saturday, 1.5.2019
                              Benetton Treviso (31) v (41) Glasgow Warriors  at Stadio Communal: how real is Treviso?
                              Ospreys (33) v (32) Cardiff Blues at Liberty Stadium: for 4th place, maybe 3rd;
                              Leinster (49) v (33) Ulster at the Royal Dublin Society, Lansdowne Road: homeys looking to shake off last week’s loss;                                          
                               Scarlets (30) v  (18) Dragons at Parc y Scarlets: home team is 1 from 4 in their last handful of GPro14 matches as are their opponents; something will give:
                              Connacht (36) v (39) Munster at Galway Sportsground: for second in the group; Match-of-Weekend;
                              Edinburgh (30) v (12) Southern Kings at Murrayfield: hosts are on a run of 2 joys in succession and would look to continue that happiness, while their guests are coming off a 2-week holiday hiatus, which could be a good thing, or…                                                   
               Sunday, 1.6.2019
                              Zebre (16) v (17) Cheetahs at Sergio Lanfranchi: this is for Group A cellar, which home side seeks to exit;

French 14 - Top 14

17           for Clermont 9, Grieg Laidlaw, on 4 conversions and 3 penalties struck as the league leaders got the bonus-point win over Perpignan at the Michelin, 37-14;
16           for La Rochelle 10, Ihaia West, on 5 conversions and 2 penalties in comprehensive, 5-point and 53-27 victory over reigning champs, Castres, at Stade Marcel-Deflandre; brace of dots for homeboys flyer, Marc Andreu, and also one, 2-fer by La Rochellais 13, Pierre Aguillon;
11          for Stade Français 10, Nic Sanchez, on 1 conversion and 3 penalties, while opposing 15, Gaetan Germain, got 10 from his toe on 2-and-2 struck and the record of 23-20 as Grenoble lost on the road at the Jean-Bouin;
2             groundings for Lyon wing, Alexis Pallison, and home team got the five-pointer, 52-20, over Agen at the Matmut;
14           from the toe of home 9, Ben Paillaugue, and a brace of groundings by 8man, Jannie du Plessis, and Montpellier topped punchless Pau, 41-13, at the Altrad;
            trys for Bordeaux fullback, Nans Ducuing, and 13 from 9, Baptiste Serin, on 2-and-3 from his tee made for big Bègles joy over Racing 92 at the Chaban-Delmas, 40-7;
39           for Toulouse and nil for Toulon at Ernest Wallon and home team torqued their guests;

Upcomes the Top14:
               Saturday, 1.5.2019
                              Montpellier (32) v (36) Lyon at the Altrad Stadium: each had big outings last time; M-o-W;
                              Agen (17) v (45) Toulouse at Stade Armandie: should be a happy time for visitors;
                              Stade Français (36) v (4) Perpignan at Stade Jean-Bouin: five for homeys?
                              Grenoble (20) v (29) Castres at Stade des Alpes: all home team’s joys have come in des Alpes;
                              Section Paliose (19) v (39) Bordeaux Bègles  at Stade du Hameau: travelers beware:
                              Racing 92  (36) v (24) Toulon at La Défense Arena: 92n lost 2 of last 3, guests need win desperately;
               Sunday, 1.6.2019
                              Clermont (48) v (42) La Rochelle at the Marcel Michelin: hosts will be looking to knock back their guests;

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Europe: Aviva, GPro14, T14: By the Numbers

5             the points haul for new headboy, Exeter Chiefs, after El Jefes significant win over previously unbeaten Saracens in the battle for 1st in the English League as home team topped the former number 1, 31-13, at Sandy Park;

15           for Tigers 10, George Ford, on 3-and-3 from the tee and Leicester topped Harlequins at Welford Road, 35-24; brace of scores for the Cats flyer Jonah Holmes;              

17           by Sale Sharks 10, Robbie Du Preez, on 1 conversion and a handful of penalties in the 27-10 victory over Bristol Bears at Salford City;

20           by Saints 10, Dan Biggar, on 1 conversion and six penalties struck and Northampton got just what was needed on the road at Sixways in the 32-10 win over Worcester;

3             the measure of separation after ‘80 as Gloucester got the road win over Newcastle at Kingston Park, 20-17;

19          for Bath 10, Freddie Burns, on 1 try, its conversion and 4 penalties as Bath found road joy over Wasps at the Ricoh,  24-14

 Upcomes Aviva:
               Friday, 12.28
                              Northampton Saints (21) v (44) Exeter Chiefs at Franklin’s Gardens: homeboys do not have a winning home record this season at 2-3-0, while newly-minted frontrunner (for now!), Jefes, have only lost one on the trot:
                      Saturday, 12.29
                              Gloucester (32) v (20) Sale Sharks at Kingsholm: could be the bonus-point for homeys;
                              Saracens (42) v (17) Worcester Warriors at Barnet Copthall: Sarries will not like last week’s beating suffered and are looking for someone to punch... why, hello Warriors!
                              Harlequins (24) v (24) Wasps at Twickers: visitors have lost four from their last five, while home team is inconsistent at the Stoop:
                              Bath (23) v (23) Leicester Tigers at the Rec: Bath are less than stellar at home (2-2-1), while Cats have only a single road win;
                              Bristol Bears (18) v (17) Newcastle Falcons at Ashton Gate: numbers 10 and 11 resp. on the chart; could be an opportunity for Bears put some distance between themselves and relegation;

21           in the final ’10 had Leinster comeback for joy over Connacht at the RDS, 32-29; it was 11-29 heading into the last 10 minutes and travelers must have thought it was all over but the unwrapping of the Christmas gifts          before homeboys return for the bonus point;

13           for Edinburgh 10, Jaco Van der Walt on 2-and-3 off his tee and a brace of groundings by flyer Duhan Van der Merwe as home XV earned 23-7 honors at Murrayfield over Glasgow;

14           from the talented toe of Ospreys 10, Sam Davies, on 1 conversion and 4 penalties in the birds 19-12 win over Scarlets at Liberty;

14          too, off the boot of Blues 10, Gareth Anscombe, on 1-and-4 as Cardiff bested Dragons, 19-16, at the Arms Park;

19           points on 3 Ulster trys and two conversions enough to defeat Munster at Ravenhill, 19-12;

10          points by the 43rd minute all for Treviso and sufficient for the 10-8 road joy at Sergio Lanfranchi over Zebre;

*     South African sides are off for the holidays and will makeup their 11th and 12th Rounds against one another during the 3rd EPCR fortnight in January;

Upcomes GP14:
               Friday, 12.28
                              Connacht (32) v (33) Ulster at Galway Sportsground: Match-of-Weekend;

               Saturday, 12.29
                              Munster (35) v (49) Leinster at Thomond Park: big chance for homeys here;
                              Scarlets (30) v (27) Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets: ditto Reds:
                              Glasgow Warriors (41) v (26) Edinburgh at Scotstoun: Warriors revenge?
                              Benetton Treviso (27) v  (16) Zebre at Stadio Communal: homeys would like to do the double on their Italian brethren this season; here it is!

               Sunday, 12.30
                              Dragons (14) v (32) Ospreys at Rodney Parade: could be much needed road joy for travelers

1             3-pointer by Grenoble 15, Gaetan Germain, in the 66th minute put the home team ahead by 1 and mountaineers shut down Montpellier to gain the 17-16 victory;

92          points in all as 10-try Racing 92 hammered Perpignan at La Défense, 64-28, on the day; a brace of scores for Fijian second row, Leone Nakawara in the win;

13           for La Rochelle 10, Ihaia West, on 2 conversions and 3 penalties, and the Rochellais were able to hold off Pau at Stade du Hameau, for the 28-23 road happy;

3             trys for Toulon flyer, Filipo Nakosi, 2 walk-ins due to outside center JP Pietersen’s precise passes, and homeboys got a much needed 5-point victory at the Mayol, 42-7, over an error-prone Lyon; Adrienne Belleau at 10 for Toulon and the return of Rhys Webb at 9 made for slick communication between the halves that Toulonnais have not seen yet this year; travelers had advantage of possession, but hosts made far better use of theirs for half dozen touch downs;

14           for 10, Nico Sanchez, on 2-and-3 from his tee and Stade Français got the road win over Agen at the Stade Armandie, 19-6;

22           for Bordeaux 9, Baptiste Serin, on 2 conversions and 6 penalties and Bègles got the 32-13 away win over Castres despite a 28th minute red card for blindside, Mahamadou Dialby;  

10          points in the last 10 minutes enabled visiting Toulouse to draw level with 1st-placed Clermont at 20-all at the Michelin and numbers 1&2 maintained their distance at the top of the Top14;

Upcomes the Top14:
               Saturday, 12.29
                              Lyon (31) v (17) Agen at Matmut: home side have only lost once at the Matmut, while travelers have only won one on the road;                                                     Stade Français (32) v (19) Grenoble at Stade Jean-Bouin: travelers haven’t won on the road this season;
                              La Rochelle (37) v (29) Castres at Stade Marcel-Deflandre: Rochellais have yet to lose at home;
                              Perpignan (4) v (43) Clermont at Aimé Giral: visitors looking to bounce back from last weekend’s loss; not good news for winless Perpignan;
               Sunday, 12.30
                              Montpellier (27) v (19) Pau at the Altrad: homeys need as many points as they can get here;
                              Bordeaux Bègles (34) v (36) Racing 92 at Chaban-Delmas: Match-of-Weekend;
                              Toulouse (40) v ((24) Toulon at Ernest Wallon: time for travelers to make their move; we’ll see if they                                                can here and now;