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Northern Hemisphere Rugby Season 14/15

Highlander35

Paul McLean (56)
No time like the present, given the draws for the European Rugby Champions and Challenge Cup have just taken place

European Rugby Champions Cup

Pool 1
Saracens
Munster
Clermont
Sale

Pool 2
Leinster
Castres
Harlequins
Wasps

Pool 3
Toulon
Leicester Tigers
Ulster
Scarlets

Pool 4
Glasgow Warriors
Montpellier
Bath
Toulouse

Pool 5
Northampton
Racing Metro
Ospreys
Treviso

European Rugby Challenge Cup

Pool 1:
Cardiff
London Irish
Grenoble
Fira-Aer 1

Pool 2
Exeter
Bayonne
Connacht
La Rochelle

Pool 3
Stade Francais
Newport
Newcastle Falcans
FIRA-AER 2

Pool 4
Edinburgh
Bourdeaux
London Welsh
Lyon

Pool 5
Glouvester
Brive
Zebre
Oyannax

Early Analysis: Pools 1 through 3 look to be very tough and exciting. 4 looks to be even, all the teams will fancy themselves. In 5, Northampton will be fairly confident of Progression.

In the Challenge, can't say a lot, but boy oh boy, Edinburgh have a good pool.
 

Melbourne Terrace

Darby Loudon (17)
They nearly got the new Champions Cup right, it will mostly only feature the strongest teams, shame the Pro 12 teams had to whinge about merit selection. It should be top six from each league getting automatic entry with no exceptions for nationality. The Italians getting in when they both finished bottom is just nonsense (they shouldn't even be playing in britain anyway). The revenue being divided between leagues rather than nations also is a good move.

There should certainly be more provision for teams from Russia, Georgia, Romania and Spain in the Challenge cup though. Two spots for them all to compete for along with the remaining italian teams is not good enough.

Toulon to hold onto their title with Halfpenny, Gorgodze, Evans and O'Connor coming in. They are going to romp teams at home.
 

KevinO

Greg Davis (50)
Not happy with the changes, got to love how they ranked sides that 3 out of 4 Heineken Cup semi finalist are in one group. English have destroyed the History of a great comp over money and TV rights.

Racing Metro should have Northampton covered, bit screwed having London Walsh there when they are not in the Premiership. Stade Francais must be loving there group.

Toulouse got lucky after a crap year to draw the easiest group.
 

Bardon

Peter Fenwicke (45)
Some very tough pools in the Champions Cup especially pool 1. Glasgow have to fancy themselves given the recent European record of Toulouse and Montpellier added to the fact that Bath aren't regular qualifiers.

Pool 5 offers the opportunity for at least 1 team who wouldn't have qualified for a HEC QF to make that step in the new competition.

Whoever makes it out of Pool 2 will be battle hardened and they'll have to be as they'll likely be on the road or at the very least face a very tough draw.

Ulster and Leicester have got to be sick of the sight of each other having been draw together in 3 of the last 4 seasons.

On the Challenge Cup there's seems to be a more even spread. Pool 2 looks a bit difficult with both Connacht and Exeter as improving sides in European competition.

Cardiff Blues should get out of their pool but will they play to their potential for once? If not it's a pretty even pool.

Stade are probably the biggest name in the competition but there's a reason they're not in the top tier competition. They might be just a big name for teams to target rather than a genuine contender for the competition. They were beaten home and away by Wasps in the play-offs and both Newcastle and the Dragons will fancy turning them over too.

Edinburgh should be targeting a top of the pool finish. But the way their seasons tend to disintegrate they might be left playing for pride as they so often did in the later rounds of their HEC pools. One would imagine that London Welsh's main focus will be on trying to avoid being relegated straight back to the championship; so maybe the Challenge Cup will be seen as a distraction rather than an opportunity.

Pool 5 I think that every team could take some points off each other. I wouldn't expect Zebre to be in contention to progress. I think an upset would mark a good campaign for them. OF Gloucester and Brive it will probably come down to who picks up the most points on the road.

With regard to Melbourne Terrace's point about their being less spots for Russia, Georgia, Romania, Spain etc. in the Challenge Cup; that was one of the main reasons behind the revamp of this second tier competition was to remove as many of those teams as possible.

The clubs that now hold the power in European Rugby aren't concerned with providing development opportunities for clubs from these countries. The only reason there are 2 spots for them is due to the fact that the Champions and Challenge Cups have a total for 40 places and there happens to be a total for 38 teams across the Premiership, Top 14 and Pro12. If there was or even happens to be 14 clubs in either the Premiership or the Pro then those 2 spots wouldn't be available.

This new format has nothing to do with development and everything to do with creating a Champions League style cabal that will see Europe's richest clubs get richer and more powerful. Then we'll end up with a situation where you'll have to be rich to qualify for the Champions Cup and the only way to get rich (without a sugar daddy) will be to be in the Champions Cup.
 

JSRF10

Dick Tooth (41)
Seeding system was a joke, the previous one although not perfect was better. A combination of them would be best, but then again Globo Gym are top seeds so all is right with the world.

Right now I'd call qualifiers to be Saracens, Munster, Toulon, Ulster, Leinster, Glasgow, Northampton, Racing Metro

The only thing this new competition will bring is that the English club owners will soon realise that they should have been teaming up with the Celts to limit the spending power and number of non French qualified players available to the French instead of moaning about how it wasn't fair that the Irish kept beating their brave boys.

Melbourne Terrace is your map from the 1900s or did I miss Ireland joining Britain :rolleyes:
 

JSRF10

Dick Tooth (41)
IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Argentina, Estadio José Fierro, Tucumán, Summer Tour, Saturday, June 14, kick-off 3.40pm local time/7.40pm Irish time):

Player/Club/Province/Caps -

15. Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 54
14. Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster) 56
13. Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 27
12. Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) 6
11. Simon Zebo (Cork Constitution/Munster) 7
10. Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92) 44
9. Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster) 54
1. Dave Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster) 9
2. Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) 76
3. Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster) 40
4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 16
5. Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster) 93 (capt)
6. Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary's College/Leinster) 2
7. Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster) 15
8. Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) 66

Replacements:

16. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *
17. James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster) *
18. Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster) 9
19. Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 11
20. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 3
21. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 28
22. Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster) 9
23. Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster) *
 

boyo

Mark Ella (57)
WRU EGM

David Moffet attempted to be be on the board through widespread lack of confidence in the board.

Voting results:-

For 4
Abstentions 18
Against 462
 

JSRF10

Dick Tooth (41)
Not a great weekend for the 6Ns teams.

France defended well but scored 0 points, the longer PSA is in charge the worse they seem to get.

England started well against the Kiwis but when the darkness ramped it up the English had no answer with a couple of late tries putting a gloss on the scoreboard. If they had a decent 9,10,12 combination they would have scored a couple of extra tries when they were on top. Also Manu Tuilgai isn't a winger.

Ireland produced another error filled displayed against a team with a number of semi pros. Nothing really gained out of the tour and the guys who benefitted most were probably the blokes who for one reason or another didn't tour.

Wales yet again talked themselves up against SH opposition and failed miserably. Adam Jones, Mike Phillips and Jamie Roberts look increasingly ineffective at the top level and Gatlands tactics still haven't changed since 2008.

Italy failed to score against Samoa and Scotland got off the hook against Can-aid-ia thanks to a referring blunder.
 

waiopehu oldboy

Jason Little (69)

Bear in mind the vote was engineered by David Moffett who wants his old job back & is very capable of destroying the village in order to save it. Not saying the WRU isn't the most dysfunctional RU going around & GD is obviously a total legend who's views should carry some weight, but Moffett is JON-lite.
 

waiopehu oldboy

Jason Little (69)
Scotland have beaten Argentina 21-19 after being 10-19 with not long to go. 2 tries & 3 x 3-pointers each (Argies with the obligatory DG) but the Scots landed a conversion. Will likely get smoked by SA next week but still promising.
 

Highlander35

Paul McLean (56)
With a weaker squad, we were still a hell of a lot less pathetic than we were against Canada.

Don't know much about the argie squad, but missing our best 2 props, 2 locks, about 7 back rowers, 2 scrummies and center combination, I'll take the win.

Ross Ford probably played his best game at any level since the World Cup. Biggest issue remains our inability to convert both territory and turnover ball into points.

We're not going anywhere if Hart is rated ahead of Pyrgos. Changed the pace of the game when he came on.

Back row looks decimated for next week. Guys like Cross get to stay due to a technicality, but Low and Cowan go home. The injuries to Wilson and Denton hurt. Might need to call over Roddie Grant, or Richie Vernon, or find some Saffa boy with a Scottish Granny.
 

Sir Arthur Higgins

Colin Windon (37)
Japan beat Italy in japan for their 10 the straight win.
That's Wales USA Canada and Italy recently.
Eddie has playing well. Super rugby helping too. Would be great to see japan allowances applied to canadian players too
 

lpd

Larry Dwyer (12)
Italy are now just one place above Georgia in the world rankings, could there be a relegation element added to the six nations?
 

Highlander35

Paul McLean (56)
Georgia and Romania could easily pull one offs against Scotland and Italy, but if you think they got smashed by the other 4, well, you wouldn't be surprised if it was even worse.
 

JSRF10

Dick Tooth (41)
Italy are now just one place above Georgia in the world rankings, could there be a relegation element added to the six nations?

There probably should be but I don't think that the Scottish and Italian turkeys would vote for Christmas

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