Sunday, 5 April 2015

European Rugby - The Last 4

In my last blog, I discussed what had happened in European rugby so far this season, and made predictions for how I saw the rest of the tournaments going. The quarter finals happened in both the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup this weekend, so I thought I would write a quick review of what happened and how the semi-finals will look.

European Rugby Champions Cup:

Leinster 18 Bath 15 – I had predicted a Bath win, and in score line it was certainly a close game.

Clermont 37 Northampton 5 – One of the Northampton players tweeted after the game that it was nice of them to be invited to the Clermont training session. Seems as though Clermont pretty much took them apart.

Racing Metro 11 Saracens 12 – Late win for Saracens ensures there is a Premiership team in the last 4. Very tight game by the looks.

Toulon 32 Wasps 18 – Seemed to be a good contest until Toulon put it out of reach of Wasps. Brave effort by all accounts to go away to the current European champions and put in one hell of a shift.

Semi Finals

Toulon v Leinster – Absolute belter of a clash between the two teams that have won the last 4 Heineken Cups between them. I think Toulon will get the win.

Clermont v Saracens – These two teams have already played twice this season in the pool stages, both winning their home fixture. It is hard to look past Clermont as they are at home, but Saracens proved by going away to Racing and getting the win late on they will not be a pushover.

Predicted Champions Cup Final – Toulon v Clermont

European Rugby Challenge Cup

Gloucester 14 Connacht 7 – I predicted Connacht to win. It seemed to be a close game but fair play to Gloucester for getting the win.

Exeter 48 Newcastle 13 – This match seems to fairly reflect where both teams are in the Premiership. Pretty solid win for Exeter overall.

Newport Gwent Dragons 25 Cardiff Blues 21 – I had predicted a NGD win for no real reason other than they were at home. I learned after making that prediction that during their Christmas double header, both teams lost their home game to each other. So they had one each. It wasn’t relevant for this match though as the home team get the win.

London Irish 18 Edinburgh 23 – I figured home advantage would give Irish the win. Not to be as Edinburgh got the win.

Semi Finals

Edinburgh v NG Dragons – They’ve only met once this season, with Edinburgh picking up the win in that match. I can see them getting the win in Edinburgh again.

Gloucester v Exeter – Gloucester at home will be a tough challenge for Exeter, but I think Exeter will have too much for Gloucester.

Predicted Challenge Cup Final – Edinburgh v Exeter

I am anticipating another superb weekend of European rugby on the cards coming soon!