Friday, March 22, 2019

Europe Weekend Preview: Gallgher Premiership, Guinness Pro14 and Orange 14

Europe Preview 3.22-24: Gallagher, Guinness and T14
All fit players have returned from International Test Work - European Professional Club Rugby, Champions and Challenge Cups Knockouts are next week which could affect the roster alignments... not like Six Nations did that or anything... ; }

Gallagher Premiership: Round 17; 6 rounds remain; 30 Table Points available; in the 60s or better should see extra time

Friday, 3.22:
               Leicester Tigers (34) v (37) Northampton Saints at Welford Road, Leicester: one of these clubs gets hot, like winning five-from-final six warmth, there’s extra time; currently #s 10 and 7 on the chart; #4 and up see playoff frame; 50, way outside shot at precipitation and a bit of wind for kickoff;

Saturday, 3.23
               Bristol Bears (35) v (28) Worcester Warriors at Ashton Gate, Bristol: visitors season will end last round, maybe so too homeboys; Queen, country, club and contract the inspiration for this one; overcast, breezy, 51⁰ for the drop;

               Gloucester (46) v (37) Wasps at Kingsholm, Gloucester: travelers aren’t mathematically eliminated... yet; another loss will do their campaign for the Stingers, though; Cherry-and-Whites must not look past this fixture;

               Saracens (58) v (48) Harlequins at Olympic Stadium, London: it’ll be a different Corsairs crew that suits up on RugbyDay, having seven back from the national XV; Quins could drop into the last playoff spot with a loss; visitors win streak was stopped peremptorily last time out and they’ll be striving to get back on the winning track; still, it’ll be a different Corsairs crew... low-50s for the match, overcast, outside shot at rain, but probably not;

               Newcastle Falcons (25) v (39) Sale Sharks at St. James Park, Newcastle upon Tyne: visitors lose this, it’s vacation time after Round 22 for certain; Sharks are 6th on the chart and 7 points off the playoff pace just now; Falcons are in the dropspot, trailing Warriors by 3 points; victory here for homeys could very well see them guarantee a slot in next season’s competition; breezy and clear, mid- 40s for the match;

Sunday, 3.24:
               Exeter Chiefs (66) v (39) Bath at Sandy Park, Exeter: last time out El Jefes allowed four, second stanza groundings; a win for the travelers would be the right thing to do should the current, 5th-placed club seek the playoffs; small breeze from the north and low-50s for the match under patchwork cloud;

Guinness Pro14: Round 18; 4 Rounds remaining; 20 Table Points available; low- to mid-60s or better gets a club in the playoff frame

Friday, 3.22:
               Cardiff Blues (47) v (45) Scarlets at Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff: loser probably out of the playoffs; winner will need a winning streak to close within the extra time frame; Welsh derbies are always lively; could be nice and sloppy-wet for kickoff, the stuff of pack prominence;

               Connacht (47) v (50) Treviso at the Sportsground, Galway:  each need to keep up their recent good work, as both are in the extra time frame just now, yet there are hunting dogs close at hind [sic]; windy, temps in the mid-40s and overcast; Match-of-Weekend;

               Edinburgh (42) v (72) Leinster at Murrayfield, Edinburgh: travelers are already innit and may sit a player or two if they’re twingey-hurt; ditto homeboys, as they’ve a stake in next week’s EPCR knockouts as well, but if Edinburgh lose, their GP14 campaign is burnt; it’s been raining in the stadium today, but it should have stopped by first boot; temps’ll drop through the 40s for the interval of the match;

 Saturday, 3.23:
               Ospreys (39) v (19) Dragons at Liberty Stadium, Swansea: both are all but out of it, with home XV having an unlikely probability of playoffs; still, a Welsh derby will be fine sport on the day; conditions could be sublime on this RugbyDay: 50⁰, cloud cover, but no real chance of rain;

               Ulster (49) v (20) Southern Kings in Kingspan at Ravenhill, Belfast: a XV looking at playoffs versus a XV on a formidable, 4-match trip above the equator that has seen them be outscored, 128-38, and might very well be looking past this for a return south of the equator; high-40s and overcast… good forwards climate;

               Glasgow Warriors (61) v (36) Cheetahs at Scotstoun, Glasgow: rain today could produce a slick surface tomorrow; Warriors should like the win to stay in front of the Munster mob, Fast Cats could surprise if, Warriors EPCR-bound XV lets that happen; no real chance of rain, but they'll be a bit of a breeze and temps in the 40s for kickoff;
               Munster (59) v (18) Zebre at Thomond Park, Limerick: high 40s for the match, little breeze, no rain; could be 5 for hosts; travelers could shock, but unlikely that occurrence;
Top 14 Orange: Round 20; 7 Rounds remaining; 35 Table Points available; 70 should get a club into le barrage;

 Saturday, 3.23:
               Lyon (52) v (38) Toulon at the Matmut, Lyon: travelers playing for Queen, country, club and contract and yes, Mourad Boudjellal; Lyon looking for the rebound from last week’s hiding by frontrunning Toulouse on the road; 60s, maybe a puff of breeze and clear for first kick today;

               Stade Français (46) v (54) Castres in Stade Jean-Bouin, Paris: home team will think they must win and they are correct, but against rocketing visitor squad that’s clipping along full-sailed, whooo-weee, gonna be a blinder and that is why this is M-o-W;

               Section Paloise (33) v (42) Montpellier at Stade du Hameau, Pau: home team is out of the playoff picture, but yet could fall face first their remaining competitions and drop into a relegatory position; travelers are 3 spots and 9 table points from extra time and now would be the time to begin their winning playoff streak should that be their targeted intent;

               Perpignan (8) v (20) Grenoble at the Aimé Giral: this is between those currently in the relegation station and there to remain unless travelers start to win; fond farewell to the Perps most likely; weather will be ideal;

               Agen (29) v (65) Clermont at Stade Armandie, Agen: could be a surprise for travelers as they’ve dropped their last two road contests; perfect weather in the 70s at the first drop;

Sunday, 3.24:
               Racing 92 (51) v (52) Bordeaux Bègles at La Défense Arena, Paris: #s 6 and 4 on the chart, resp. -with both Stade and La Rochelle trailing to overtake  should either falter, which one must on the day; criticality of this result cannot be overstated and that’s why this is the other, M-o-W; nevermind the weather as La Défense got a hat;

               La Rochelle (51) v (72) Toulouse  at Stade Marcel-Deflandre, La Rochelle; homeboys so need to win here as they’ve lost last three and are just off the playoff pace right now, but the largest XV in creation right now is visiting on the weekend; great conditions, which makes this the other, other, M-o-W;

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