European Cup Rugby

BobP

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Yes, superb game. Got a bit sphincter clenching towards the end but Exeter held their nerve and were deserved winners. I wonder if Racing make a bit of a c*ck-up by taking Zebo off when they did?

There are lessons to be learned by the England set-up. You get to the opposition's red zone you make sure you come away with points as Exeter almost always do, and if the opposition get to yours you make sure they don't come away with points more times than not. That 19 phase defence by Exeter must have had an enormous moral effect on Racing.
 

delray

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Zebo was having a great game and did look a little p'd off. The other change I felt was significant was replacing Chat at hooker; he was possibly the best carrier on the park, but perhaps he had emptied his tank.

Russel? Lions number 10 or a liability? The pass that led to the try on the right was sublime, the one picked off by Nowell not so much. Love watching him play though.
 

Mies

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Yep, nice to see some new blood picking up the cup but Racing must be kicking themselves. That flakey first twenty minutes cost them the game. They appeared to be nervous from the kick off and especially Ibaren. Don't know why he wasn't substituted for Machenaud earlier in the game. He obviously wasn't 100% starting the game. As Del said, taking Zebo off at a crucial stage of the game was also an odd decision. It's going to be tough for Racing to pick themselves after that result especially with three cup defeats in five years. Still, a great game to watch and hats off to Exeter.
 

Mr Notherone

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Russel? Lions number 10 or a liability? The pass that led to the try on the right was sublime, the one picked off by Nowell not so much. Love watching him play though.

Just an opinion, but I don't think the Lions can beat SA with Russel at 10. He makes too many errors and Gatland won't tolerate it for a few flat passes.
 

billy fish

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Great win for my local team . Cowan Dickie was my man of the match and Sam Simmonds a close second . Joe Simmonds , an excellent kicker, but needs to work on his game management. He should have put in the odd chip or grubber to slow up the Racing defence . Russell’s chip kicks always looked dangerous and caused problems . He will get there but is not a Lions player yet . Would I take a chance on Russell for the Lions ? I’m a fan of Biggar and I’m English . I don’t think you can leave Farrell out of the mix but definitely not at centre . Ford is only good with “go forward “ ball and I think Sexton is past his best . There you have it . Lions no 10’s , Biggar and Farrell.
 

Mies

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Well done to Leinster yesterday. Clawing their way back from a disastrous start to beat the current champions is no mean feat.
 

boisker

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I thought Leinster were pretty comfortable winners, apart from 2x 10 min spells Exeter were never really in it... for some reason Exeter have been nowhere near last seasons form
 

Mr Notherone

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I thought Leinster were pretty comfortable winners, apart from 2x 10 min spells Exeter were never really in it... for some reason Exeter have been nowhere near last seasons form

I don't know if it's the disrupted season or training constraints etc, but I don't think any of the premiership teams is showing consistent form this season. All the better teams have blown hot and cold. As you say, Leinster were comfortable winners in the end.
 

Gdog

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Leinster were saying Exeter were favourites as there were only a few members of their squad involved in the 6 Nations. Leinster had 18 of their squad involved in the Six Nations, 4 of those, Ryan, Doris, Connors and Ringrose are now unavailable having been injured in the 6 Nations, Gibson Parks got injured in training 2 weeks ago, on top of this Leinster have another 7 squad members injured, 11 in total

If you look at Leinsters starting 15 yesterday 12 of these players started a game in the 6 Nations. Leinster had 1 week to integrate these players back in their squad after the England international before playing Munster in the Pro 14 final. Having all of the best players (excluding Luke McGrath and Scott Fardy) back 2 weeks before the first Heineken cup trying to get these players up to speed again with all the squad training, line outs, etc. is a huge challenge when coming up against the best French or English club sides that have lost a handful of players to the Six Nations, and not suffered the same problems of reintegrating most of their best players.

Leinster are used to this, but many thought the cancellation of the Leinster V Toulon game last weekend, would mean Leinster were under prepared yesterday, but it might have allowed them to rest and train?

Leinster started slowly in both haves but finished the match very strongly. If we get a home semi final and avoid Toulouse, we have a decent chance of reaching a final.
A Leinster V Toulouse final with each side going for a 5th win would be a dream final, but let's win the semi first.
 

original cormorant

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If you look at Leinsters starting 15 yesterday 12 of these players started a game in the 6 Nations. Leinster had 1 week to integrate these players back in their squad after the England international before playing Munster in the Pro 14 final. Having all of the best players (excluding Luke McGrath and Scott Fardy) back 2 weeks before the first Heineken cup trying to get these players up to speed again with all the squad training, line outs, etc. is a huge challenge when coming up against the best French or English club sides that have lost a handful of players to the Six Nations, and not suffered the same problems of reintegrating most of their best players.
My heart bleeds - only 18 current internationals in the squad.

I assume this is a wind up
 
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Gdog

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No wind up - fact. Leinster academy is fed by several rugby playing schools in Dublin and Kildare that keep producing excellent players. Leinster are serious about bringing these players through the system rather than signing talent from elsewhere as with French or English clubs.

Regarding international players, there are also two former internationals in the squad too that didn't make the 23, that's not to mention the current or former Irish internationals, three at Munster, four at Ulster and one at London Irish.
 

original cormorant

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No wind up - fact. Leinster academy is fed by several rugby playing schools in Dublin and Kildare that keep producing excellent players. Leinster are serious about bringing these players through the system rather than signing talent from elsewhere as with French or English clubs.

Regarding international players, there are also two former internationals in the squad too that didn't make the 23, that's not to mention the current or former Irish internationals, three at Munster, four at Ulster and one at London Irish.
You said that Leinster had battled against the disadvantage of having to re-integrate 18 internationals into the team. Are you seriously claiming that makes them underdogs?
 

Gdog

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You said that Leinster had battled against the disadvantage of having to re-integrate 18 internationals into the team. Are you seriously claiming that makes them underdogs?
Leinster were playing the European champions away from home in a quarter final after only playing one game together since January, and for only the fourth time this season Leinster have all Internationals available and selected the best team allowing for injuries.

The best Leinster team have had very little time playing together this year, in a normal season they would have played together about 8 times at this stage of the season. Ireland played 11 internationals between October and March and Heineken cup pool stages were reduced from 6 to 2 games because of the Covid pandemic.
Having played less together this season will definitely have affected their performance, which explains their poor start with defensive lapses they normally would not make.

Leinster resilience and experience of Heineken cup knockout rugby won the game. Exeter are a tough team for anyone to beat.
 

original cormorant

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I'm not talking about how wonderful Leinster may or may not be, but about your idea that they were underdogs against Exeter because they had to re-integrate 18 internationals back into their squad. That's pure Marie Antoinette.
 

BobP

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I tend to agree with original cormorant. If those players have been away on international duty in the 6N that means that A) they've been playing together and B) they've been training together. It's not as if they've done nothing together for the last 6 months. They did well against Exeter, were deserved winners and that is all.
 

Gdog

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Like I've said already, there are different systems in place at national and club level, implemented by coaches, its not the same. Leinster play a more varied attacking style of rugby than Ireland.

Leinster played a mixture of 2nd, 3rd string and academy players in the Pro 14 for two months, other teams loose a few players to their international team, Leinster lost 18 players in total over the 5 matches.

Several players are out injured or carrying injuries from playing 5 internationals in 6 weeks. No other club in the European Cup has to endure this.
 

Gdog

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I'm not talking about how wonderful Leinster may or may not be, but about your idea that they were underdogs against Exeter because they had to re-integrate 18 internationals back into their squad. That's pure Marie Antoinette.
The UK media made Exeter favourites because of the lack of time Leinster have had together since the 6 nations. The Irish media thought the same, they are normally positive about Irish sides in the Heineken Cup. Several former Irish internationals were of the same opinion, these guys are the experts when it comes down to knowing about these games, because they have played at this level.

If you dont believe me, go read the reports by former international second rows Neal Francis and Mick Galwey in the Irish Independent, they said this is one of Leinsters great Heineken cup wins. Maybe meet up with either of them and suggest what they are writing is Marie Antoinette.
 

delray

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No other club has to endure having 18 International players in their squad.....I feel for them.
They've been the benchmark for many years now and the English clubs (with a lower salary cap coming?) will have no chance of competing with them or the top 5 French clubs.
18 Internationals!
By the way, is there home advantage in an empty stadium? Just wondering.
 

Gdog

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No other club has to endure having 18 International players in their squad.....I feel for them.
They've been the benchmark for many years now and the English clubs (with a lower salary cap coming?) will have no chance of competing with them or the top 5 French clubs.
18 Internationals!
By the way, is there home advantage in an empty stadium? Just wondering.
All European clubs will have less money and lower salaries, not just the English clubs. Connacht released 12 players last June.

Several players leave Leinster every year, for many players its facilitated by the IRFU where there are 2 or more top players for one position in Leinster and a deficit in one of the other provinces i.e. Joey Carberry move to Munster, Jordi Murphy and Jack McGrath to Ulster. Lots of younger squad players leave Leinster for the other provinces each year facilitated by IRFU. Would the sugar daddy owners of English or French clubs put up with that?

Others are released or move to other European clubs same as for all other clubs in Europe.
 
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