28 Mar 2005 10:02:38
John Williams
Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up


So here we go again, yet another twist in the focus of the European
rugby season as the HC goes into the knock-out stages. With just one
game since the end of the 6Ns for teams to re-integrate returning
internationals, Leinster and Leicester look to be the teams who'd most
want another week off. Leinster to get O'Driscoll and D'Arcy fit, and
Leicester to throw off their recent lethargy.

Friday
Toulouse v Northampton
Northampton have improved mightily since ejecting former coach
Solomons, winning again on Saturday to be in with a good chance of ZP
survival after holding up the league a few weeks ago. Toulouse look to
have far too much class not to have the game won by half time, but
Northampton have nothing to lose.

Saturday
Stade Francais v Newcastle
Newcastle are still suffering a little from altitude sickness in the
knockout stages. On Saturday they were reduced to uncontested scrums
whilst being outmuscled by Bath in poor weather. With players like
Charvis and Wilkinson less than certain to play, a home win looks
extremely likely despite S-F getting a 40 point thrashing at Biarritz
over the weekend.

Leinster v Leicester
Possibly wishful thinking, but this looks the most even game in
advance. Leinster have had a few troubles up front earlier in the
competition, and their internationals will presumably be wanting to
make amends after a disappointing 6Ns. They will be pleased that
Leicester had a dodgy time in the lineout last match, but perhaps that
will work against them if Leicester apply themselves during the week's
build-up. Just as with Ireland, the O'Driscoll/D'Arcy combination will
make a big difference if they are available.

At Leicester there is a powerful whiff of "end of era", with Johnson
and Back set to retire and coach Wells off to coach in the national
academy at the end of the season. A tough game on Sunday, where they
lost by a point to Leeds, looked to be about the best thing to get
prop White (injury) and the 6Ns players back into the club groove.

Sunday
Biarritz v Munster
Munster look to have peaked given their performances this season, but
if anyone can trouble Biarritz, they have the pack. O'Gara out with
injury won't help, but then he looked in poorish form during the 6Ns.
A rousing pack performance could always spring a surprise, but it
would be a bigger surprise than usual.

My challenge will be getting to see more than the Leinster game,
particularly on the Friday evening. I bet the missus wants to explore
Dublin or something girly like that. Still, the chances are wherever
we go there will be a bar.

--

Regards,
John Williams


28 Mar 2005 11:53:15
Martyn Winters
Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up


"John Williams" <tigerphileNOSPAM@THANKSntlworld.com > wrote in message
news:6oif41psl8rr9tc3vefrc9e7erqdco9569@4ax.com...
>
> So here we go again, yet another twist in the focus of the European
> rugby season as the HC goes into the knock-out stages. With just one
> game since the end of the 6Ns for teams to re-integrate returning
> internationals, Leinster and Leicester look to be the teams who'd most
> want another week off. Leinster to get O'Driscoll and D'Arcy fit, and
> Leicester to throw off their recent lethargy.
>
> Friday
> Toulouse v Northampton
> Northampton have improved mightily since ejecting former coach
> Solomons, winning again on Saturday to be in with a good chance of ZP
> survival after holding up the league a few weeks ago. Toulouse look to
> have far too much class not to have the game won by half time, but
> Northampton have nothing to lose.

Toulouse have too much in all departments to let Northampton to come within
a country mile. 48-11

> Saturday
> Stade Francais v Newcastle
> Newcastle are still suffering a little from altitude sickness in the
> knockout stages. On Saturday they were reduced to uncontested scrums
> whilst being outmuscled by Bath in poor weather. With players like
> Charvis and Wilkinson less than certain to play, a home win looks
> extremely likely despite S-F getting a 40 point thrashing at Biarritz
> over the weekend.

A difficult call. Newcastle are suffering from a distinct lack of first
choice personnel, but Stade are well off form. I'm prepared to give the
French guys the benefit of home advantage. 21-10

>
> Leinster v Leicester
> Possibly wishful thinking, but this looks the most even game in
> advance. Leinster have had a few troubles up front earlier in the
> competition, and their internationals will presumably be wanting to
> make amends after a disappointing 6Ns. They will be pleased that
> Leicester had a dodgy time in the lineout last match, but perhaps that
> will work against them if Leicester apply themselves during the week's
> build-up. Just as with Ireland, the O'Driscoll/D'Arcy combination will
> make a big difference if they are available.
>

> At Leicester there is a powerful whiff of "end of era", with Johnson
> and Back set to retire and coach Wells off to coach in the national
> academy at the end of the season. A tough game on Sunday, where they
> lost by a point to Leeds, looked to be about the best thing to get
> prop White (injury) and the 6Ns players back into the club groove.

Match of the weekend and the only away win IMHO. Leicester have the look of
a team that wants one more glory day. I don't think Leinster have what it
takes to stop them. 15-28


> Sunday
> Biarritz v Munster
> Munster look to have peaked given their performances this season, but
> if anyone can trouble Biarritz, they have the pack. O'Gara out with
> injury won't help, but then he looked in poorish form during the 6Ns.
> A rousing pack performance could always spring a surprise, but it
> would be a bigger surprise than usual.
>
> My challenge will be getting to see more than the Leinster game,
> particularly on the Friday evening. I bet the missus wants to explore
> Dublin or something girly like that. Still, the chances are wherever
> we go there will be a bar.

Munster have an excellent pack, but Biarittz gave Stade a grilling on the
weekend and look like they are running into a rich vein of form. They will
win this at a canter. 41-12

If my predictions come true, then we will see three French and one English
side in the semi-finals. Given the buckets of money thrown at both the
English and French club games, this isn't altogether a surprise. I only hope
the Paddies can come up with something to stop this turning into a French
procession.




28 Mar 2005 21:55:34
John Williams
Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up

On Mon, 28 Mar 2005 11:53:15 GMT, "Martyn Winters"
<zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com > wrote:

>
>"John Williams" <tigerphileNOSPAM@THANKSntlworld.com> wrote in message
>news:6oif41psl8rr9tc3vefrc9e7erqdco9569@4ax.com...

>> Friday
>> Toulouse v Northampton

>Toulouse have too much in all departments to let Northampton to come within
>a country mile. 48-11

It's one of those where the win might be by 50 or 60 points, I think.
Still, a horse did win at 200-1 at Chepstow recently.

>> Saturday
>> Stade Francais v Newcastle

>A difficult call. Newcastle are suffering from a distinct lack of first
>choice personnel, but Stade are well off form. I'm prepared to give the
>French guys the benefit of home advantage. 21-10

And the rest. Stade's pack is pretty monstrous. Their backs might even
click some time, too.

>> Leinster v Leicester

>Match of the weekend and the only away win IMHO. Leicester have the look of
>a team that wants one more glory day. I don't think Leinster have what it
>takes to stop them. 15-28

I'd be very happy with that!

>> Sunday
>> Biarritz v Munster

>Munster have an excellent pack, but Biarittz gave Stade a grilling on the
>weekend and look like they are running into a rich vein of form. They will
>win this at a canter. 41-12

Biarritz probably, yes, but I don't think it will be nearly that big a
margin.

>If my predictions come true, then we will see three French and one English
>side in the semi-finals. Given the buckets of money thrown at both the
>English and French club games, this isn't altogether a surprise. I only hope
>the Paddies can come up with something to stop this turning into a French
>procession.

One of the semis will be the winner of Leinster v Leicester at "home"
(neutral ground though) against presumably Toulouse. So there's a
chance it won't be an all French final, but not a big one.

--

Regards,
John Williams


30 Mar 2005 19:03:30
Ian Harper
Re: Heineken Cup Quarterfinals build-up

"Martyn Winters" <zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com > wrote in message
news:LeS1e.20359$ME3.20288@newsfe1-gui.ntli.net...

> > Toulouse v Northampton

> Toulouse have too much in all departments to let Northampton to come
within
> a country mile. 48-11

Oooh. Those lacklustre performances with last minute wins in the
Premiership have all actually been to lull ST into a false sense of security
didn't you know ;-) Me and a few thousand others will be doing our best to
be heard above that air-raid siren at the footy ground on Friday evening and
get Northampton going. On recent performances, if Saints win, it's going to
be a very close-run thing!




02 Apr 2005 18:02:03
Martyn Winters
Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up


"Martyn Winters" <zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com > wrote in message
news:LeS1e.20359
>> Friday
>> Toulouse v Northampton
> Toulouse have too much in all departments to let Northampton to come
> within a country mile. 48-11

Result: Toulouse 37-9 Northampton

>> Saturday
>> Stade Francais v Newcastle
I'm prepared to give the
> French guys the benefit of home advantage. 21-10

Result: Stade Francais 48-8 Newcastle

>> Leinster v Leicester
. I don't think Leinster have what it
> takes to stop them. 15-28

Result: Leinster 13-29 Leicester - how close was that!!!


>> Sunday
>> Biarritz v Munster
> Munster have an excellent pack, but Biarittz gave Stade a grilling on the
> weekend and look like they are running into a rich vein of form. They will
> win this at a canter. 41-12





03 Apr 2005 16:56:42
Martyn Winters
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up


"Martyn Winters" <zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com > wrote in message
news:v6B3e.1745$JO6.1035@newsfe6-win.ntli.net...
>
> "Martyn Winters" <zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com> wrote in message
> news:LeS1e.20359
>>> Friday
>>> Toulouse v Northampton
>> Toulouse have too much in all departments to let Northampton to come
>> within a country mile. 48-11
>
> Result: Toulouse 37-9 Northampton
>
>>> Saturday
>>> Stade Francais v Newcastle
> I'm prepared to give the
>> French guys the benefit of home advantage. 21-10
>
> Result: Stade Francais 48-8 Newcastle
>
>>> Leinster v Leicester
> . I don't think Leinster have what it
>> takes to stop them. 15-28
>
> Result: Leinster 13-29 Leicester - how close was that!!!
>
>
>>> Sunday
>>> Biarritz v Munster
>> Munster have an excellent pack, but Biarittz gave Stade a grilling on the
>> weekend and look like they are running into a rich vein of form. They
>> will win this at a canter. 41-12
>

Got this one wrong - well I got the result correct, but the score wildly
wrong. Munster took it to the French who defended superbly. 19-10 was a fair
reflection of the match, but either Biarritz aren't as good as I thought
they were or the Munstermen are a lot better.

Predictions? So, the semis now comprise three French sides and one English.
Stade Francais looked the pick, but I can't help thinking about the pasting
Biarritz served up to them recently - that could be a classic semi. I'd be
hard pushed to separate Toulouse and Leicester, especially with the Tigers
at "home". I'm prepared to stick my neck out and back the Tigers to march on
into the final with a narrow win over Toulouse: 15 - 12.

Stade Francais Paris v Biarritz Olympique will go the way of the capital
city side, who will avenge their recent mauling, by squeaking a win over
Olympique: 22-19.

The tickets for the Edinburgh final are on sale now at:
https://scottishrugby.eticketing.co.uk/cgi/index.asp - if I was a Tigers
fan, I'd be waving my credit card in the air now. I think they'll have a
glorious day in Edinburgh.





03 Apr 2005 17:44:52
John Williams
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up

On Sat, 02 Apr 2005 18:02:03 GMT, "Martyn Winters"
<zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com > wrote:


>>> Leinster v Leicester
>. I don't think Leinster have what it
>> takes to stop them. 15-28
>
>Result: Leinster 13-29 Leicester - how close was that!!!

Very impressive. Please don't predict Leicester v Toulouse for a
while, I wish to savour this moment a little longer.


--

Regards,
John Williams


03 Apr 2005 17:56:19
John Williams
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up

On Sun, 03 Apr 2005 16:56:42 GMT, "Martyn Winters"
<zebedee.groundstaff@ntlworld.com > wrote:

[...]

>Predictions? So, the semis now comprise three French sides and one English.
>Stade Francais looked the pick, but I can't help thinking about the pasting
>Biarritz served up to them recently - that could be a classic semi. I'd be
>hard pushed to separate Toulouse and Leicester, especially with the Tigers
>at "home". I'm prepared to stick my neck out and back the Tigers to march on
>into the final with a narrow win over Toulouse: 15 - 12.

Now you've done it. Nope, I refuse to consider this one for a week or
so (except to get a ticket, of course).

>Stade Francais Paris v Biarritz Olympique will go the way of the capital
>city side, who will avenge their recent mauling, by squeaking a win over
>Olympique: 22-19.

The packs are well matched, but I think Biarritz will sneak it,
myself.

>The tickets for the Edinburgh final are on sale now at:
>https://scottishrugby.eticketing.co.uk/cgi/index.asp - if I was a Tigers
>fan, I'd be waving my credit card in the air now. I think they'll have a
>glorious day in Edinburgh.

I'm not greedy - I'm still enjoying a glorious day in Dublin.

--

Regards,
John Williams


03 Apr 2005 21:04:33
Tim Jesson
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up

>>Predictions? So, the semis now comprise three French sides and one
>>English.

Or you could say, three French sides and the British and Irish Lions. :-)

Don't worry , I know there's still plenty of black stuff in the system. I'll
revise that down over the next day or two by removing Morris, Gibson and the
Tuilagis from the Lions test side! Let's keep it all-English. Staring with
Hinckley-grown talent...

I have to say I was impressed with the prediction for the Leinster
/Leicester game! I thought it would be more like 20-22.

I'll be interested to see how the Welsh clubs perform next year in the HC.
Hopefully they'll have a bit more confidence after the great 6N and field a
good few Lions heros in the 3-0 win.

>
> The packs are well matched, but I think Biarritz will sneak it,
> myself.

I'm with JW on this one. The packs are well matched overall but the back
rows are not. Biarritz will have a decent edge in possession.

>
>>The tickets for the Edinburgh final are on sale now at:
>>https://scottishrugby.eticketing.co.uk/cgi/index.asp - if I was a Tigers
>>fan, I'd be waving my credit card in the air now. I think they'll have a
>>glorious day in Edinburgh.
>
> I'm not greedy - I'm still enjoying a glorious day in Dublin.

Oh no. Take a punt now for reasonable tickets or wait 3 weeks to make sure
we get past Toulouse? The poor old credit card is getting dented this year.

Cheers,
TJ




05 Apr 2005 14:56:44
Martyn Winters
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up


"Tim Jesson" <tim@nospamthanksthejessons.co.uk > wrote in message
news:42504c52$0$94523$ed2619ec@ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net...

<snipped the nonsense about the British and Irish Lions > ;-)

> I'll be interested to see how the Welsh clubs perform next year in the HC.
> Hopefully they'll have a bit more confidence after the great 6N and field
> a good few Lions heros in the 3-0 win.

I have to say that Cardiff have given me a miserable season. I creep down to
the Arms Park with my colours hidden, just in case a soccer fan sees me -
not that they have anything to shout about, but shout they will. I've taken
my place in the terraces and suffered ever increasing indignties as the
season has worn on and the Blues have bumped and grinded between bad and
worse. I can only assume there is nothing that's going to lift the gloom
next season. It has been rumoured that a couple of All Blacks will be plying
their trade in Cardiff next season, well more than rumoured, Dai Young has
made a statement expressing an interest in Rueben Thorne and Xavier Rush.
Naturally, they'll improve the overall standard of forward play, but the
tactical ineptitude will remain. I can't see Cardiff frightening anyone next
season, even if they do manage a backdoor entrance into the HC.

The Dragons will have their third head coach in three seasons. A new broom
sweeping clean will mean a slow start, possibly a disasterous one if Tony
Brown goes with his instincts and appoints another foreigner to the helm.
I'll concede they made improvements this season, but appear to be falling
away again. I reckon they may win one or two of their home matches, but will
suffer away from home and not reach the knock-out stage.

The Scarlets are in complete disarray by their standards. The perenial
quarterfinalists, failed miserably this year, although they have started
playing with their old verve in the latter stages of the season, they don't
look half the side of previous seasons. Is all that down to Quinnell's
broken body suddenly catching up with him? Obviously, his loss has impacted,
but as they say, it's a team game. Young Gavin (yes another one) Quinnell
came on the other day, against Cardiff Blues. He picked up a few slaps on
the back of the head from his big brother, Craig, for his efforts, and he
doesn't half look like Scott - but he's still young. I don't see the
Scarlets getting out of their group next season, although they'll run a few
teams close.

Then we have the Ospreys. They have played some wonderful rugby this season,
but they have too many vulnerabilities to go all the way. I can see them
booking a QF spot and then it's down to who they play.

All in all, I wouldn't plan on any problems from the Welsh contingent,
although you never know....

MW




05 Apr 2005 21:42:38
The Green Phantom
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up

Martyn Winters wrote:

>
> "Tim Jesson" <tim@nospamthanksthejessons.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:42504c52$0$94523$ed2619ec@ptn-nntp-reader01.plus.net...
>
> <snipped the nonsense about the British and Irish Lions> ;-)
>
>> I'll be interested to see how the Welsh clubs perform next year in the
>> HC. Hopefully they'll have a bit more confidence after the great 6N and
>> field a good few Lions heros in the 3-0 win.
>
> I have to say that Cardiff have given me a miserable season.

You're not the only one. John Williams has been kind enough to refrain from
mentioning them this season, he knows how much it would depress me.

> I creep down
> to the Arms Park with my colours hidden, just in case a soccer fan sees me
> - not that they have anything to shout about, but shout they will. I've
> taken my place in the terraces and suffered ever increasing indignties as
> the season has worn on and the Blues have bumped and grinded between bad
> and worse.

'Bumped and grinded' this isn't like you Martyn? The indignities are
accurate however. You could be forgiven for thinking that 'The Return Of
The Seven' would have made a difference yet they lost to Glasgow. Sheesh.

> I can only assume there is nothing that's going to lift the
> gloom next season.

Change of coach and chairman - or at least a decision over who is in charge
of the team.

> It has been rumoured that a couple of All Blacks will
> be plying their trade in Cardiff next season, well more than rumoured, Dai
> Young has made a statement expressing an interest in Rueben Thorne and
> Xavier Rush.

I think Rush is poised to sign up here - I'm sure I saw something to that
effect in the Scotsman.

> Naturally, they'll improve the overall standard of forward
> play,

You think? The invisible man?

> but the tactical ineptitude will remain. I can't see Cardiff
> frightening anyone next season, even if they do manage a backdoor entrance
> into the HC.
>
> The Dragons will have their third head coach in three seasons. A new broom
> sweeping clean will mean a slow start, possibly a disasterous one if Tony
> Brown goes with his instincts and appoints another foreigner to the helm.
> I'll concede they made improvements this season, but appear to be falling
> away again. I reckon they may win one or two of their home matches, but
> will suffer away from home and not reach the knock-out stage.

You're probably right. I'd have been inclined to give their coach a second
season before sacking him mind. Didn't Newport have a good season the one
before last?

> The Scarlets are in complete disarray by their standards.

Probably a function of their arrogance. No other team in Wales, even Cardiff
in their pomp have so much basic 'we're better than anyone else' than
Llanelli. Makes it hard for them to take steps to put things right.

[...]

> Then we have the Ospreys. They have played some wonderful rugby this
> season, but they have too many vulnerabilities to go all the way. I can
> see them booking a QF spot and then it's down to who they play.

Maybe they do and maybe they don't, they've had a good season so it's time
to see if they can develop that next season, I think they can.

> All in all, I wouldn't plan on any problems from the Welsh contingent,
> although you never know....

Werlllll guv' it's the Celtic League innit?

Regards

The Green Phantom

--
Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.



06 Apr 2005 21:13:25
Martyn Winters
Re: Spoiler!!!!!! Re: Heneken Cup Quarterfinals build-up


"The Green Phantom" <ask@the.right.time > wrote in message
news:4252f825$0$63437$ed2e19e4@ptn-nntp-reader04.plus.net...

>
>> Naturally, they'll improve the overall standard of forward
>> play,
>
> You think? The invisible man?
>

Mrs Bucket would improve the standard of forward play.