Monday Oct 16, 2017

RUGBYDUMP WEEKLY: English struggle in Europe

This week Shay looks at the performances by English clubs in the opening round of the European Rugby Champions Cup. It was a poor start for most, with two wins against European teams, none of which were away from home.

This puts English teams at the bottom of three of the five pools after round one.

When compared to Irish teams, who were unbeaten in four matches and the French sides who won six out of seven matches, the Premiership sides look off the pace.

With two of the 15 members in Sky Sports’ team of the week representing Premiership clubs, what are the reasons for the lacklustre start?

WORRIED WASPS – Ulster 19 – 9 Wasps

Two of the defeats were away from home in some of the most notoriously difficult stadiums to play at in Europe. Wasps had a short turnaround between their previous game and with 15 injuries in the squad, it would have been tough to get a result against Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium.

“We’ve been one of the teams which has had unfortunate things happen,” said Wasps fly half Danny Cipriani. “Someone fell on my leg which is how I got injured, Sam Jones got injured doing judo, unlucky things. It’s frustrating when last year we won all our games early on.”

Stuat Barnes added in his Sky Sports collumn: “A lack of punch up front and variety behind. Elliot Daly looked leaden footed. That sort of sums up Wasps at the moment.”

TOUGH TIGERS – Racing 92 22 – 18 Leicester Tigers

England wing Jonny May scored his seventh try of the season in Leicester’s narrow defeat away at Racing 92 and the visitors made more metres from fewer carries that the Paris-based side.

This suggests that Tigers have more effective ball carriers than the French side and a losing bonus point against the 2016 Top 14 champions is a respectable outcome.

RAMPANT ROCHELLE – Harlequins 27 – 34 La Rochelle

Harlequins were undone by La Rochelle at the Stoop in a fast-moving game of rugby. Geoffrey Doumayrou caused problems for Quins in the centres; contributing to the visitors’ 11 clean line breaks.

The home side should be worried that they lost the game despite making more than double the number of carries and passes than La Rochelle.

WARRIORS CHIEFED – Exeter Chiefs 24 – 15 Glasgow Warriors

Exeter Chiefs took a very direct approach against Glasgow Warriors at Sandy Park with all three tries coming from pick-and-go situations.

The home side were beaten in nearly every statistic except for carries and the score line. It was a well-executed tactic by Rob Baxter who compensated for the wet conditions perfectly.

SAILING SARRIESNorthampton 13 – 57 Saracens

Saracens remain odds on favourites to win this years’ tournament and equal Toulon’s three consecutive titles. The London-based side dominated Northampton in every area on Sunday and Sarries missed 12 tackles during the 80 minutes, the fewest of any English club in round one.

Barnes added: “As for Saracens, they were simply sensational. I watched their performance in a state somewhere close to religious awe. What else can be said about the three time European champions?”

WHITEWASHED IN THE BATH – Bath 23 – 0 Bennetton

Bath also put in a very dominant, commanding performance to keep Bennetton off the score sheet. This makes them the first side to nil a team since Glasgow trounced Leicester in January.

Both wingers played key roles in both of Bath’s tries, but the home side were beaten by Bennetton in metres gained, number of carries, defenders beaten, passes and offloads. This highlights the clinical nature of Bath’s posssession and they will be confident going to play the Scarlets in round two.

Winning home games is the most important thing to do in the pool stages of the competition and if each team collects losing bonus points in away matches, possibly snatching one victory, then qualification for the knockout stage is almost guaranteed.

So despite statistics suggesting a poor start, there is no need for English fans to panic.

Rugbydump Weekly is a new series of features written by former England Rugby reporter and performance analyst Shay Waterworth.



Related Articles

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    Breaking down the greatest year of international...

  • 230 WEEKS AGO

    scottish prop saves fire victim

  • 234 WEEKS AGO

    New Rugby X tournament insane


Great Tries


    Five of the best tries from the Investec Champions Cup

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    The dummy that sold the whole of Perth - including the cameraman

  • 13 WEEKS AGO

    Bayonne score 'one of the best tries you'll ever see' in latest match against Exeter

  • 13 WEEKS AGO

    Baloucoune shows Andy Farrell what he's missing as the winger tears through Harlequins defence

  • 26 WEEKS AGO

    Seriously impressive Courtney Lawes compilation released after England player calls time on international career

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play


    Fiji Drua player Lomani slapped with ban following elbow attack

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    The sending off that rocked the Six Nations opener

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Wrecking ball beats 10 players to score full length of the pitch try

  • 22 WEEKS AGO

    Streaker causes major bust up as he tackles player

  • 22 WEEKS AGO

    Monster hit from Perrin leaves Bristol Bears player stunned

View All

See It To Believe It


    Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter


    '60 metres, plus change' - massive drop goal stuns fans


    Referee makes 'tackle of the season' as he gets too close to the action


    Christian Wade proves he still has the X-factor with 50 metre mazy finish for Racing 92


    Magical sevens try leaves defender stuck in the mud

View All


  • 23 HOURS AGO

    WATCH: The worst camera angle in rugby history

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Louis Rees-Zammit's real reason for NFL move exposed


    George Ford falls victim to the kickers curse


    Awesome scenes as Blitzbok fan throws down at the HSBC SVNS


    Mike Philips recounts crazy night Shane Williams tried to fight Warren Gatland

View All


  • 67 WEEKS AGO

    You Won’t See Many Better Than This Silky-Smooth Try From Llandovery RFC

  • 67 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes As Caldy RFC Hand Ealing First Championship Defeat Of The Season

  • 90 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 90 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 91 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

View All

Player Features

  • 22 HOURS AGO

    Jonny Gray to exit Exeter Chiefs with immediate effect

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Adam Radwan sets sights on Olympic honours

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Kyle Rowe’s remarkable journey from an Amazon warehouse to the international stage

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Bath Rugby bolster squad with another young signing

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    How Jordie Barrett could fit into the Leinster system

View All