ad link


36     34


European Cup | Allianz Park
18:45 (GMT) | 21-10-2017
  • 81
Thank you for joining us. Catch some more European Championship Cup action tomorrow on Rugby 365
  • 80
Ospreys tries to build an attack after the restart but Saracens drives them back in tackles. The turnover is won and the ball is booted in the stands. Saracens wins but what a game it was by the Ospreys
  • 79
Biggar adds the extras
  • 78
Ospreys applying pressure by building a few phases, they win a penalty for a high tackle and they opt for touch. The ball is spread wide from the line-out and Cross dots it down out wide and brings it closer
  • 75
After the restart Ospreys manages to conjure up a piece of play which creates spaces on the right flank the ball is knocked down by a Saracens hand and Ospreys gets a scrum just inside their own half
  • 73
Farrell adds the extras
  • 72
After a well timed offload by Burger, Tomkins goes over for a try
  • 71
After the restart Saracens are back on the attack 5m away from the try line
  • 69
Biggar adds the extras
  • 68
Ospreys attacking beautifully by spreading the ball over the park. Watkins finds an offload into space and brings his team back into the game with a TRY
  • 66
Ospreys scrum inside their own half and they look to attack the left flank but the Saracens defense holds up
  • 65
Scrum penalty won by Saracens. They opt for touch but the line-out ball is lost and Ospreys clears
  • 64
At the return of play Ospreys look to build some momentum and come back into this match but the Saracnes defense wins the ball back and the ball is kicked through and chased down by Saracens who forces a scrum on the away teams 5
  • 61
Farrell fails to add the extras
  • 60
Saracens with ball in hand and Nick Tompkins powers his way into space and beautifully offloads to Williams who finishes off the try
  • 57
At the return of play Saracens look to make use of their numerical advantage. They spread the ball wide and find some space but a great tackle on Wyles forces the turnover penalty and they opt for touch
  • 54
Penalty try is awarded to the home team
  • 54
Saracens spreads the ball wide creating some space there's an overlap wide but Evans knocks down the ball and the ref sends him off with a yellow card
  • 53
The home team edging closer as they seem to have found a spark. Saracens attacking 6m out from the try line. Saracens slowing the game down and driving around the fringes
  • 51
Ospreys attacks wide from the scrum and then clears into touch. Saracens look to speed up the game as they take the line-out quickly
  • 49
Scrum reset
  • 48
The away teams defense holds strong and forces a scrum and relieves the pressure that the Saracens defense started to exert
  • 47
Scrum reset as Wigglesworth looks to feed. Saracens attack the short side from the scrum and then looks to bash it up in the midfield
  • 46
After the restart Ospreys clears and Saracens look to build an attack from the line-out. The ball changes hands and Ospreys look to run from deep inside their own half but their momentum is stopped by a handling error
  • 44
Biggar lines it up and makes no error
  • 43
Ospreys spreads the ball wide and they create some space but Evans fumbles the ball forward but the ref goes back to a penalty advantage
  • 42
Penalty won on the ground by Ospreys. They opt for touch 15m out from the try line
  • 41
Saracens gets the 2nd half on the way. Ospreys secures the ball and manages to clear. They win a free-kick off the scrum

Half Time

  • 40
Farrell adds the extras and that brings the 1st half to an end
  • 39
Saracens finding some momentum as they spread the ball wide. Mako Vunipola knocks the ball backwards and manages to fix his error with a nicely timed offload. Brits gets the ball in space and finishes off the try for his team
  • 38
Ospreys look to test Saracens with a high ball and Wyles is well up to the challenge and creates some space
  • 37
Scrum reset. Ospreys wins another scrum penalty and opts for touch. Touch found just inside the Saracens half
  • 36
At the return of play Saracens clears and Ospreys look to build an attack. Saracens wins a penalty and they tap it quickly but the ball is lost forward by Brits
  • 34
Farrell lines it up and strikes it perfectly as the ball goes sailing over
  • 33
Calum Clarke goes over for the try line but the TMO says it's short and the Ref goes back to a penalty advantage
  • 32
Saracens finding some momentum and edging closer to the try line as the Ospreys defense is being tested
  • 31
Saracens kick possession away and Ospreys look to build an attack before they also kick and Saracens run it back through Brits.
  • 30
Saracens is awarded a penalty at the line-out and they opt for touch. They manage to find some momentum with their driving maul before spreading it wide
  • 28
Tom Habberfield feeds the scrum and the ball goes to Evans who decides to kick and the ball goes into touch
  • 27
At the return of play possession changes hands a few times before it is lost forward by Saracens and Ospreys is awarded a scrum inside the home team's half
  • 25
Biggar makes no error and adds 3 points for his team
  • 24
Touch is found just over the halfway mark. Ospreys spreads the ball wide and then brings it back in the midfield. Ospreys is awarded a penalty in good kicking position and Biggar lines it up
  • 23
The Osprey's defense holds strong and wins a scrum as Saracens momentum is stopped by a handling errors. Scrum Ospreys ball and they win a penalty and opt for touch
  • 21
After the restart Saracens wins a scrum and look to build an attack inside the away team's half.
  • 19
Biggar adds the extras
  • 18
Ospreys manages to hold onto the ball playing phase after phase. Evans joins the line and again finds some space as he goes straight through for a try
  • 16
Free-kick at the scrum for the away team and they opt for the scrum and look to build a few phases.
  • 14
Ospreys scrum in good attacking position. They look to attack the blindside and Biggar tries a cross-kick but the ball is lost forward into touch and Saracens opt for the scrum
  • 13
At the return of play Ospreys manages to force a turnover and win a scrum as their defense holds strong
  • 11
Biggar adds the extras
  • 10
Ospreys attacks wide from the scrum the ball is taken up out wide and a well timed offload finds Dan Evans in space and he goes over for a try. The ref checks the pass upstairs and the try is awarded
  • 9
After the restart Ospreys applies pressure and manages to force a scrum
  • 8
Farrell adds the extras
  • 7
Saracens attack wide from the scrum they manage to create an overlap with a few good passes and Chris Wyles goes over for the 1st try of the night
  • 6
Saracens attacking and edging towards the try line. The ball goes wide into space wide and Williams passes it back inside. The ball goes dead over the try line and Saracens is awarded a scrum on the oppositions 5
  • 4
The ball is kicked through by Saracens and they apply pressure and traps Ospreys inside their own 22 before they manage to clear
  • 2
After a mistake by the home team Ospreys kicks the ball through and chases it down but the ball is secured by Williams
  • 1
Dan Biggar gets the game on the way with a deep kick-off. Saracens secures the ball and clears from the ruck. They apply pressure and force a mistake that leads to a line-out for the home team
  • -5
The players are doing their final preparations before taking to the field. Referee Marius Mitrea (Italy) will be in charge of the whistle in this match
  • -10
Both line-ups seem evenly matched on paper with a number of international players on both sides. Players to look out for in the Saracens outfit would have to be Liam William, Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola while Ospreys will expect strong performances by Dan Biggar, Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones if they were to see this one through
  • -20
After a superb start to their campaign Saracens will look to continue that form. Saracens have won the three previous meetings between the clubs, although all three victories came by single figure margins. Saracens have won their last 13 home games in the Champions Cup, with just two sides (RC Toulon, ASM Clermont Auvergne) managing to get within losing bonus point range during that run. The Ospreys are winless in their last 10 away games against Premiership opposition. Saracens have rotated South African hooker Schalk Brits into their starting line-up to face Ospreys on Saturday. The 36-year-old replaces Jamie George with Juan Figallo coming in for Vincent Koch at prop and Duncan Taylor getting a run at centre with Marcelo Bosch out. Hooker Scott Baldwin is on the bench for the Ospreys, the first time he has been in squad since being bitten on the hand by a lion in September. Injured scrum-half Rhys Webb is replaced by Tom Habberfield.
  • -30
Welcome to Allianz Park, London, where Saracens will take on Ospreys in this European Champions Cup fixture.
Mc saracens80
Mc ospreys ed
  • 1 Mako Vunipola
  • 2 Schalk Brits
  • 3 Juan Figallo
  • 4 Nick Isiekwe
  • 5 George Kruis
  • 6 Maro Itoje
  • 7 Calum Clark
  • 8 Jackson Wray
  • 9 Richard Wigglesworth
  • 10 Owen Farrell
  • 11 Chris Wyles
  • 12 Brad Barritt
  • 13 Duncan Taylor
  • 14 Liam Williams
  • 15 Alex Goode
  • 16 Jamie George
  • 17 Richard Barrington
  • 18 Vincent Koch
  • 19 Will Skelton
  • 20 Schalk Burger
  • 21 Ben Spencer
  • 22 Alex Lozowski
  • 23 Nick Tompkins
  • 1 Nicky Smith
  • 2 Sam Parry
  • 3 Dmitri Arhip
  • 4 Adam Beard
  • 5 Alun Wyn Jones
  • 6 Guy Mercer
  • 7 Sam Cross
  • 8 James King
  • 9 Tom Habberfield
  • 10 Dan Biggar
  • 11 Cory Allen
  • 12 Owen Watkins
  • 13 Kieron Fonotia
  • 14 Jeff Hassler
  • 15 Dan Evans
  • 16 Scott Baldwin
  • 17 Paul James
  • 18 Ma'afu Fia
  • 19 Lloyd Ashley
  • 20 Gareth Thomas
  • 21 Brendon Leonard
  • 22 Sam Davies
  • 23 James Hook
Mc article champions cup balls general 800

Preview: Champions Cup, Round Two

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:26

EUROPEAN SPOTLIGHT: Fresh from their scintillating display and bonus-point win at The Stoop, La Rochelle play their first home game, when they host Ulster.

The fixture will be Ulster's 137th in the competition.

Elsewhere, there is a half-century theme across a crucial round of matches.

Bath secured their 50th success in the European Cup in Round One and head west Friday to kick-off the round against a Scarlets side looking to bounce back from the disappointment of a narrow defeat in Toulon.

The Top 14 side feature in the competition for the 50th time away to Benetton on Saturday when simultaneously, Ben Foden will reach the same appearance milestone if selected for Northampton Saints against ASM Clermont Auvergne at Stade Marcel-Michelin in Pool Two.

Other key points ahead of Round Two:
* For the second consecutive season, Munster face their record points scorer, Ronan O'Gara, now on the coaching staff at Racing 92. O'Gara is the all-time leading points scorer in the European Cup with 1,365.
* There are two domestic battles being played out on the European stage in Round Two. Wasps go in search of their first points in Pool One as they play host to Harlequins whilst Leinster travel to Guinness PRO14 rivals Glasgow Warriors.

We look at all the Round Two action!

Friday, October 20

Pool Five:

Scarlets v Bath
(Parc y Scarlets - Kick-off: 19.45; 18.45 GMT)

This will be just the second match in Europe between the clubs after they met in the 2002 quarterfinal, with the current PRO12 champions recording a 27-10 away win that day.

Scarlets are unbeaten in their last three home matches.

They have not gone four without defeat since 2006/07 when they reached the semifinals.

Bath have won nine of their last 12 against Welsh opposition in the competition, although they've not played against the regions since the 2008/09 pool stage when they faced the Dragons.

Bath were one of just two teams that didn't concede a try in Round One (also Ulster).

The two sides made exactly 285 metres each in Round One, the fewest of any teams in the competition.

Prediction: You would be wasting your money if you put it on a Bath win. Scarlets to win by 15 points or more.

The teams:

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny Mcnicholl, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Tadhg Beirne, 7 Will Boyde, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens (captain), 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 David Bulbring, 20 Josh Macleod, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Scott Williams.

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Max Clark, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Zach Mercer, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Charlie Ewels (captain), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Beno Obano.
Replacements: 16 Jack Walker, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Matt Banahan.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (France), Stephane Boyer (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Saturday, October 21

Pool Three

Glasgow Warriors v Leinster
(Scotstoun Stadium - Kick-off: 13.00; 12.00 GMT)

The clubs have met six times in Europe's top flight. Glasgow won the first meeting in 1999, but Leinster have won all five games since then.

Glasgow have lost their last nine games against Irish opposition, including two defeats to Munster in last season's pool stage.

Leinster have won just two of their last 10 away games in the Champions Cup. The three-time champions are unbeaten in their last two on the road however.

Glasgow were one of two sides (also ASM Clermont Auvergne) to maintain a 100 percent success rates at both the scrum and line-out in Round One.

Jack Conan made 21 tackles against Montpellier in Round One, with no player making more (Judicael Cancoriet of Clermont also made 21).

Prediction: No doubt Warriors are the favourites, but with very short odds. We think Leinster will sneak it by five points.


Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Samuel Johnson, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Ryan Wilson, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D'Arcy Rae, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Robert Harley, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Nick Grigg, 23 Lee Jones.

Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Barry Daly, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 James Ryan, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Dave Kearney.

Referee: Jerome Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Jonathan Dufort (France)
TMO: Philip Bonhoure (France)

Pool Two

ASM Clermont Auvergne v Northampton Saints
(Stade Marcel-Michelin - Kick-off: 16.15; 15.15 UK time; 14.15 GMT)

The clubs have met three times previously in the competition with ASM Clermont Auvergne winning each of those games by an average margin of 24 points.

Since losing to Sale in 2008, Clermont have won their last 23 home matches against opposition from outside France.

Saints have lost on their last eight trips to France, last winning in January 2011 against Castres.

Judicael Cancoriet made 21 tackles in Round One and Jack Conan of Leinster also made 21.

These teams managed just 12 defenders beaten each in Round One, no side beat fewer.

Prediction: This could get ugly for a Saints team in trouble. Clermont by at least 20 points.


Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 David Strettle, 13 Damian Penaud, 12 Remi Lamerat, 11 Alivereti Raka, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Judicaël Cancoriet, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Flip Van Der Merwe, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Camille Gerondeau, 21 Charlie Cassang, 22 Peter Betham, 23 Nick Abendanon.

Northampton Saints: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Ben Foden, 13 Nafi Tuitavake, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 Api Ratuniyarawa, 3 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Tom Stephenson, 23 Ken Pisi.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

Pool Five:

Benetton v RC Toulon
(Stadio Comunale di Monigo - Kick-off: 16.15; 14.15 GMT)

This will be the first time RC Toulon have faced Italian opposition in the Champions Cup.

Benetton have lost their last nine against Top 14 opposition since a four-point win over Biarritz in 2011/12.

RC Toulon have lost their last three away games, their worst run away from home in the Champions Cup.

This will be Toulon's 50th game in the competition, and they become the seventh Top 14 club to reach this milestone.

Benetton were the only side who failed to score a point in Round One.

Prediction: Only serious punters will put any money on this game, as Toulon is at one-to-10. We think they will win by 15 or more.


Benetton: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Nacho Brex, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Ian McKinley, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Braam Steyn, 6 Nasi Manu, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Federico Zani.
Replacements: 16 Tomas Baravalle, 17 Cherif Traore, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Seb Negri Da Oleggio, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Francesco Minto, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti.

Toulon: 15 Chris Ashton, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Semi Radradra, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Anthony Meric, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Rudy Gahetau, 6 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Swan Rebbadj, 3 Marcel Van Der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Mamuka Gorgodze, 20 Anthony Belleau, 21 Hugo Bonneval, 22 Vincent Clerc, 23 Jocelino Suta.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Greg Macdonald (England), Roy Maybank (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)

Pool Four

Leicester Tigers v Castres Olympique
(Welford Road - Kick-off: 17.30; 18.30 French time; 16.30 GMT)

This will be the first meeting between the clubs despite the two having played a combined 222 games in the European Cup (Leicester - 145, Castres - 77).

Tigers are unbeaten in their last 15 home games against Top 14 opposition; the last French side to win at Leicester was Biarritz in January 2005.

Castres have not won away to Premiership opposition since October 2001 (v Harlequins), since then they have drawn one and lost 10 away games in England.

Tigers have lost three games on the bounce for the first time in their European history.

Castres were one of three sides not to lose a ruck when in possession in Round One; Leicester had the lowest ruck success rate with 93 percent.

Prediction: Leicester have not been in the greatest form, but at home they should have enough to overcome the French visitors - by less than 10 points though.


Leicester Tigers: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Luke Hamilton, 6 Valentino Mapapalangi, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (captain), 1 Ellis Genge.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Greg Bateman, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Brendon O’Connor, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Mathew Tait.

Castres Olympique: 15 Armand Batlle, 14 Taylor Paris, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 11 David Smith, 10 Yohan Le Bourhis, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Anthony Jelonch, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Damien Tussac, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Jody Jenneker, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Eric Sione, 19 Christophe Samson, 20 Baptiste Delaporte, 21 Florian Vialelle, 22 Kylian Jaminet, 23 Ludovic Radosavljevic.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Mark Patton (Ireland)
TMO: Brian McNeice (Ireland)

Pool Four

Munster v Racing 92
(Thomond Park - Kick-off: 17.30; 18.30 French time; 16.30 GMT)

The clubs met in the pool stage last season with Munster winning both matches; overall the Irish province has won three of their four meetings, with Racing winning the first encounter in 2012/13.

Munster have won 28 of their last 30 home matches in the pool stage, with only Leicester Tigers and ASM Clermont Auvergne coming away with victories from Thomond Park during that run.

Racing have lost their last four away games, their worst run on the road in Europe.

Munster drew against Castres in Round One - the last time they drew a European fixture was in October 1998 against Neath.

The Top 14 side have lost five of six previous games against Irish opposition, including all three of their away games.

Prediction: Munster saving grace may be that French teams are notoriously poor travellers. Munster to win with a late score - seven points or less.


Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Billy Holland, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Kevin O'Byrne, 17 Liam O'Connor, 18 John Ryan, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Jack O'Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Andrew Conway.

Racing 92: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Henry Chavancy, 12 Anthony Tuitavake, 11 Louis Dupichot, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Antonie Claassen, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Viliamu Afatia, 18 Census Johnston, 19 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 20 Edwin Maka, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Albert Vulivuli.

Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Luke Pearce (England), Simon McConnell (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

Pool Two

Saracens v Ospreys
(Allianz Park - Kick-off: 19.45; 18.45 GMT)

Saracens have won the three previous meetings between the clubs, although all three victories came by single figure margins.

Saracens have won their last 13 home games in the Champions Cup, with just two sides (RC Toulon, ASM Clermont Auvergne) managing to get within losing bonus point range during that run.

The Ospreys are winless in their last 10 away games against Premiership opposition.

Their last success was in England in January 2007 against Sale Sharks.

Liam Williams was one of four players to score two tries on the opening weekend, he also made more metres (125) and breaks (six) than any other player.

Owen Farrell scored 17 points last weekend, more than any other player in Round One.

Prediction: There is so much money on Saracens that some bookmakers are offering ridiculous odds in one-to-100 for a Saracens win. The margin will be well into double figures - by 25 points or more.


Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Ospreys: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Cory Allen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Thomas Habberfield, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Paul James, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Sam Davies, 23 James Hook.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Manuel Bottino (Italy), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

Sunday, October 22

Pool Three

Montpellier v Exeter Chiefs
(Altrad Stadium - Kick-off: 14.00; 13.00 UK time; 12.00 GMT)

This will be the third time the clubs have met in Europe after they clashed in the 2010/11 Challenge Cup pool stage; Montpellier won both encounters although Exeter claimed a losing bonus point in each match.

Montpellier have won their last four home games in the Champions Cup; they've been beaten just four times at home in the competition overall.

Exeter won away from home against Bordeaux-Bègles last season, their only win in the competition in France.

Montpellier managed 34 defenders beaten in Round One, more than any other side and more than twice as many as Exeter (16).

Nemani Nadolo made more carries (21) and beat more defenders (11) than any other player on the opening weekend.

Prediction: The defending Premiership champions, Exeter, are struggling in the early stages of the season and it won't get any easier in France. Montpellier to in by about 10 points.


Montpellier: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Benjamin Fall, 13 Joseph Tomane, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Benoit Paillaugue, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Kelian Galletier, 5 Nicholaas van Rensburg, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Romain Ruffenach, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Grégory Fichten, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Julien Delannoy, 20 Wiaan Liebenberg, 21 Enzo Sanga, 22 Timoci Nagusa, 23 Joffrey Michel.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Nic White, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Don Armand, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Ben Moon .
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Tom Hendrickson, 23 James Short.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Joy Neville (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Pool One

La Rochelle v Ulster
(Stade Marcel-Deflandre - Kick-off: 16.15; 15.15 UK time; 14.15 GMT)

This will be the first meeting between the clubs with La Rochelle staging a Champions Cup game for the first time.

Ulster have lost their last two games away to Top 14 opposition, both in last season's campaign, this after winning four of their previous five away games in France.

At home, La Rochelle have won their last five European pool stage games (all Challenge Cup), with four of those victories coming by 20+ points.

Ulster were one of just two teams that didn't concede a try in the opening round (also Bath).

Ulster won all 11 of their scrums against Wasps, no side won more in Round One.

Prediction: It won't be as big a margin as some pundits think, but La Rochelle should still win - by eight points.


La Rochelle: 15 Vincent Rattez, 14 Gabriel Lacroix, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Jérémy Sinzelle, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Alexi Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Botia Veivuke, 5 Jone Qovu Nailiko, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Hikairo Forbes, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Pierre Bourgarit, 17 Mike Corbel, 18 Vincent Pelo, 19 William Demotte, 20 Romain Sazy, 21 Jean-Victor Goillot, 22 Paul Jordaan, 23 Elliot Roudil.

Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Sean Reidy, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson (captain), 5 Alan O'Connor, 4 Kieran Treadwell, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Callum Black.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Matty Rea, 21 John Cooney, 22 Luke Marshall, 23 Jacob Stockdale.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Jon Hardy (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)

Pool One

Wasps v Harlequins
(Ricoh Arena - Kick-off: 17.30; 16.30 GMT)

The clubs have met twice previously in the Champions Cup, clashing in the 2014/15 pool stage with the away side on the day winning each encounter.

Wasps have lost just three of their last 31 European Cup home games, however all three defeats came against Premiership opposition (Leicester - 2004/05, Harlequins - 2014/15, Bath - 2015/16).

Harlequins have won nine of their last 12 away games, and picked up a losing bonus point in each of their three defeats in that run.

Wasps have lost their last two games in this competition, but they've not lost three on the spin since 2000.

Only Ospreys (24 minutes, 38 seconds) enjoyed more possession than Quins (22 minutes, 25 seconds) in Round One.

Prediction: Harlequins are struggling and Wasps look a save bet - by 12 points.


Wasps: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell, 5 Will Rowlands, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Antonio TJ Harris, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Marty Moore, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Jack Willis, 21 Guy Thompson, 22 Joe Simpson, 23 Rob Miller.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 George Merrick, 20 Ben Glynn, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Francis Saili.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Mathieu Noirot (France)
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin (France)

Source: @ChampionsCup


Mc article liam williams saracens dives 800

Sarries edge Ospreys in thriller

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 18:00

CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Saracens remained top of Pool Two as they narrowly edged Ospreys 36-34 at Allianz Park to top Pool Two.

The defending champions outscored their opponents five tries to four but were made to work hard for the victory. 

Ospreys dominated the opening 40 minutes but Saracens managed to hang in as the teams headed into half-time locked at 17-17.

Saracens were the first on the board though as they opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Andy Goode found Chris Wyles in acres of space and the wing trotted over for an easy score. Owen Farrell added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Ospreys hit back almost immediately as Cory Allen got them on the front foot with a blistering run before offloading on Sarries' 22 to Daniel Evans who dotted down his first of the game. Dan Biggar slotted the conversion to level matters at 7-7.

Evans was back in the thick of things soon after to grab his brace when he sliced through Saracens' defence. Biggar was once again on target with the conversion to hand his side a 14-7 lead. Biggar pushed his side further ahead with a successful penalty before Farrell brought the three points back for the home side.

Saracens had the momentum and bagged their second try just before the interval as Schalk Brits went over the whitewash. Biggar's conversion levelled matters at 17-17.

Ospreys regained the lead early in the second half but Saracens went ahead 10 minutes later through a penalty try as Evans went from hero to villain after he knocked the ball on close to his try line, in what would have been a Nick Tompkins try.

Evans was sent to the sin bin for that infringement and that handed Sarries the momentum. The defending champions secured their bonus point in the 61st minute when Liam Williams dotted down. This time though, Biggar was off target with his conversion attempt.

Ospreys were not going down without a fight though as Owen Watkin showed his finishing prowess when he beat a few defenders before scoring under the uprights. Biggar's conversion saw Ospreys cut the deficit to just two points heading into the final 10 minutes.

Back came Sarries though as Tompkins finally got his try with seven minutes remaining. Farrell's extras pushed their lead to nine points. But Ospreys his back with a converted try of their own as debutant Sam Cross rounded off a flowing team move.

Biggar slotted his fourth conversion of the game and with the final play coming from the restart, Ospreys were forced to attack from deep inside their 22. Sarries' defence stood firm, turned the ball over and booted the ball into the stands to bag the win.


For Saracens:
Tries: Wyles, Brits, Penalty try, Williams, Tompkins
Cons: Farrell 3, penalty try results in an automatic conversion
Pens: Farrell

For Ospreys:
Tries: Evans 2, Watkin, Cross
Cons: Biggar 4
Pens: Biggar 2

Yellow card: Daniel Evans (Ospreys, 54)


Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Nick Tompkins.

Ospreys: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Cory Allen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Thomas Habberfield, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Paul James, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Sam Davies, 23 James Hook.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Manuel Bottino (Italy), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

Chris Wyles (7min), Schalk Brits (39min), Liam Williams (60min), and Nick Tompkins (72min)
Dan Evans (10min), Dan Evans (18min), Owen Watkins (68min), and Sam Cross (78min)
Owen Farrell (8min), Owen Farrell (40min), and Owen Farrell (73min)
Dan Biggar (11min), Dan Biggar (19min), Dan Biggar (69min), and Dan Biggar (79min)
Owen Farrell (34min)
Dan Biggar (25min) and Dan Biggar (44min)
Dan Evans (54min)
VENUE Allianz Park ( London , England )
REFEREE Marius Mitrea (Italy)