Weekend Rugby Review – 12 December

We had a massive weekend of European action as the Pro12 rolled back the years and picked up some great results. Also the men’s World Sevens Series moved on to Cape Town. Here’s my round-up of all the action.

European Rugby Champions Cup

Northampton Saints 10 – 37 Leinster
Ulster 39 – 32 Clermont Auvergne
Zebre 6 – 36 Toulouse
Munster 38 – 0 Leicester Tigers
Racing Metro 92 14 – 23 Glasgow Warriors
Saracens 50 – 3 Sale Sharks
Wasps 32 – 17 Connacht Rugby
Montpellier 32 – 14 Castres
Toulon 31 – 20 Scarlets
Exeter Chiefs 7 – 13 Bordeaux Begles

7 from 10, the Pro12 really stood up this weekend.

In Pool 1 Glasgow and Munster both showed their intent in this competition. Glasgow went to Paris and beat the star-studded lineup of Racing. Racing have now lost their opening 2 games and know that qualification is all but over. Munster nilled Tigers and now top the group with a game in hand.

Shows how little we know

Wasps maintained their unbeaten start in this competition with victory over Connacht who are second in the group. A repeat next weekend must surely see them into the quarter finals. Toulouse got the expected victory over Zebre who are making up the numbers.

Saracens got the expected TBP win over Sale to stay clear of Toulon who put away Scarlets. Toulon though weren’t in majestic form and Scalets will fancy their chances this coming weekend at home.

Leinster’s victory away to Siants sees them 1 point ahead of Montpellier in Pool 4. Castres and Saints know they need to win all their games from here to hope to qualify. But it looks like it will go down to the wire between Leinster and Montpellier.

Ulster’s magnificent win over Clermont means that Clermont leads the group by 3 bonus points as they along with Ulster and Bordeaux have all won 2 games. Exeter have lost their opening 3 games and know it’s all over for them.

European Rugby Challenge Cup

Gloucester Rugby 35 – 14 La Rochelle
Lyon 42 – 12 Newcastle Falcons
Bayonne 15 – 28 Benetton Treviso
Grenoble 7 – 59 Ospreys
Enisei-STM 8 – 43 Brive
Timișoara Saracens 3 – 42 Harlequins
Cardiff Blues 28 – 3 Bath
Worcester Warriors 33 – 20 Newport Gwent Dragons
Edinburgh 28 – 23 Stade Francais
Bristol 41 – 14 Pau

7 from 10, again the Pro12 stood up but we didn’t see it coming from Treviso!

Glouceter maintained their perfect record in Pool 1 and if they can go over to France and beat La Rochelle then they will effectively have qualified for the playoffs. Treviso’s win over Bayonne was moral boosting but irrelevant after they both lost their opening 2 games.

Ospreys also have a perfect record and will be expecting to win the return fixture at home over Grenoble. Their main rivals are Lyon who also registered a win over Newcastle. Lyon know that they need to win away to maintain the pressure on Ospreys.

Brive got a good victory over Enisei who have now completed all their games due to the cold weather in Russia. Enisie and Brive are both on 9 points but Enisei have to prove they can win outside of Russia to challenge. Worcester and Dragons are out of it yet as all teams have lost games but winning the next 1 is all important if they want to challenge.

Cardiff were part of the Pro12 resurgence with their win over Bath and the return fixture could decide who tops the group as Pau and Bristol lost their opening 2 games.

In Pool 5 Edinburgh maintained their perfect record with a tight win over Stade. Quins are only 2 points behind and this pool could go down to the wire. Timișoara Saracens will only be part of the equation in points difference for the top teams.

World 7s Series

SOUTH AFRICA 41
ENGLAND 39
FIJI 32
SCOTLAND 27
NEW ZEALAND 27

Last weekend saw the second round of the World 7s Series where England beat South Africa in the final. That made it 2 finals in a row for South Africa and sees them top the series table. Fiji lost to England in extra time at the quarter-final state and it was Dan Norton who got the important score. He also picked up the Impact Player Award for the second tournament in succession. The side that has really impressed me is Scotland who have had 2 good tournaments showing that their win in London last season was no flash in the pan.

Next stop is Wellington, New Zealand at the end of January.

#RugbyChat

Join the #RugbyChat on twitter for an hour of discussion about the action this weekend. If you can’t make the hour then you can still give your view as the conversation keeps going over the following day.

Here’s a summary of the #RugbyChat on the 13th of December 2016.

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