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Tight at the top in European Rugby

Gilbert Rugby News — Published on December 13 , 2016

The Champions Cup is hotting up! With three rounds played (for most teams), each group is starting to take shape.

In fact, it is a team that has played only two games that currently sit pretty at the top of Pool 1. Munster, whose game against Racing Metro 92 was called off after the shockingly sad death of Anthony Foley, sit on a maximum of 10 points following their impressive 38-0 win over Leicester Tigers.

 

A Kurtley Beale-inspired Wasps top Pool 2 with two wins and a draw from their first three games. Sunday’s 32-17 win over Connacht at the Ricoh Arena was the Australian’s debut for the side, some four months after his move to Coventry. It was worth the wait for Wasps fans, with Beale adding yet more star power to an already impressive back line.

Pool 3 was expected to be a tight contest between Toulon and Saracens for top spot, and so it is proving, with the English club currently winning the battle courtesy of their win in round 1. Saturday’s comprehensive victory over Sale Sharks consolidated their lead heading into the second half of fixtures.

Leinster and Montpellier are leading the way in Pool 4, but with side having at least one victory, both Castres and Northampton Saints will be hopeful of making a late charge for qualification.  Saints will need to win in the Aviva Stadium for that to happen, while Castres host Montpellier.

The tightest Pool of all may well be Pool 5. Three teams with two wins and three points separating them. Clermont lead the way with 12, with Bordeaux and Ulster on nine.  Exeter Chiefs will need a second half revival having only picked up two losing bonus points so far. That mission begins at Bordeaux on Saturday –the hosts having won at Sandy Park 13-7 this weekend.

Round Four should make the situation much clearer as we begin to work out who the quarter-finalists will be.  Visit epcrugby.com for a full rundown of both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.


The Challenge Cup is no less tight at the top.

Pool 3 in particular is very congested indeed. Brive and Enisei-STM lead the way on nine points each, with Glasgow Warriors just behind on eight and Newport Gwent Dragons on five. The Dragons will be hoping to turn the pool on its head this weekend as they host Warriors at Rodney Parade.

2015 Champions Gloucester lead the way in Pool 1 with three wins from three so far after beating La Rochelle 35-14. Pool 2 sees Ospreys on top with a perfect record, ahead of Lyon and Newcastle Falcons.

Bristol claimed a much-needed victory by putting 41 points past Pau. That result leaves them third in Pool 4, still behind leaders Cardiff Blues and Bath Rugby. The top two meet on Thursday at the Recreation Ground.

Pool 5 is currently led by Edinburgh, with Harlequins two points behind in second. The leaders travel to Paris to take on Stade Francais on Friday in a match that will shape the course of the group.

 

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