Hot Or Not: Heineken Champions Cup Beckons

Top 14 Complete Highlights Round 13

FloRugby’s coverage of the Heineken Champions Cup comes back for fans in the Middle East and North Africa, and as the other European leagues take a break, we want to look at who’s hot, and who’s not.

Top 14 Hot

Bordeaux-Begles … sort of. In the last five weeks of competition Bordeaux-Begles has improved from 4-4-1 to 8-5-1. It’s been a huge run for the club, but … in the standings the improvement has only been one place, from 8th to 7th.

Top 14 Games Of The Week On-Demand All Year (USA and Canada)

This is because that one loss came this past week, when Pau ended its slide despite playing without former All Blacks star and now coach Carl Hayman (suspended after an altercation with players).

Bordeaux-Begles played shorthanded for over 70 minutes after Georgian back-rower Beka Gorgadze was sent off. If that hadn’t happened, we might have been looking at an even hotter Bordeaux club.

Clermont. OK big surprise. Clermont was in 1st place five weeks ago at 6-2-1, but since then the club has gone 4-0-1, and beat the blazing hot La Rochelle (seven wins in a row until Saturday).

"We knew that La Rochelle would arrive with very good intentions and it was important to test ourselves," said Clermont coach Franck Azema.

"Our forwards had a great start. We gave away just three penalties -- in terms of discipline, that's a very high level. It's good way to start 2019."

Top 14 Not

Toulon. The big spender in French rugby is not getting full value for money, and has crashed to 5-9.

Racing 92. So they won this past weekend, but against Toulon, and you know that’s not such a big thing to crow about anymore. After Week 10, Racing was 7-3 and in 2nd place. Now? They’re 9-5 and looking over their shoulder and in danger of missing the playoffs.

Guinness PRO14 Hot

Benetton. Italia for the win. Four wins in a row, in fact, have bumped Benetton from 3-6 to 7-6 and in 3rd place in Conference B (and tied in points with 2nd-place Edinburgh). Yes some of the opposition has been relatively weak. Yes three of the victories were by less than a try.  So what? Benetton beat Conference A leaders Glasgow, which dumped the Warriors out of the top spot. They are for real.

Guinness PRO14 On-Demand (Latin America, Spain, Portugal, France, Middle East, North Africa)

Ospreys. Put aside a rather wonky loss to the Dragons, the Ospreys have been on the rise. Since getting smacked around by Leinster, the Swansea club has gone 3-1 and is now 8-5 and solidly in a playoff spot.

Guinness PRO14 Not

Glasgow. The Warriors were in command in Conference A and now Munster has pushed them out of 1st. It’s been three straight losses for Glasgow now.

Heineken Champions Cup Hot

Toulouse. Almost every game in Europe has been a close one for Stade Toulousain, but the French club keeps winning them. 

Heineken Champions Cup Live This Weekend (Middle East, North Africa)

Saracens. In the Premiership Sarries were shocked somewhat by Sale this past weekend and lost to Exeter in December, but overall sit 14-2 in Premiership and Heineken Cup games. That’s pretty warm. Saracens should sew up their pool this week.



Townsend Makes Wholesale Changes For France Rematch

France v Scotland On-Demand

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend retained just one player, fullback Stuart Hogg, in the starting XV for Saturday's Test with France as the side bid to rebound from their 32-3 pasting by the French last weekend.

Rugby World Cup Titles Gender-Neutral From 2021

The Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017 will be the last to bear that title with World Rugby announcing on Wednesday they are adopting a policy of gender neutrality for their tournaments.

Seawolves Land RUNY Coach Lensing

The Seattle Seawolves have signed former Rugby United New York forwards coach, Kees Lensing, as head coach for the 2020 Major League Rugby season. 

Summer Test or Final Exam: Riekert Hattingh Has To Step Up

null

The Summer Test Series is a final proving ground for players trying to make the roster for the Rugby World Cup, for a few players it’s the first and only chance to make the squad.

Five Things We Learned About RWC Contenders This Week

null

Just when it seemed like the sky was falling, and the mighty All Blacks were ready to lose their grip on rugby dominance, order was restored. 

Could Ban KO World Cup Hopes For Gabrillagues?

null

French forward Paul Gabrillagues's World Cup hopes were in the balance on Tuesday after he was banned for six weeks for a tackle on Scotland flanker John Barclay last weekend.

Argentina Star Isa Left Off World Cup Squad

France-based loose forward Facundo Isa was a shock omission from the 31-man Argentina Rugby World Cup named Monday by coach Mario Ledesma in Buenos Aires.

Italy Veteran Ghiraldini Returns From Injury For World Cup

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Leonardo Ghiraldini is set to return from injury with the experienced hooker included on Sunday in Italy's largely youthful squad which features 23 tournament debutants for next month's Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Cal Welcomes 12-Player Freshmen Class

The Drama Of Jesuit's HS Nationals Victory

The University of California men's rugby program has announced the addition of 12 freshmen to its program.

Welsh Star Halfpenny: 'My Legs Are Killing Me' Before Kicking Penalty

null

Leigh Halfpenny admitted his legs were "killing" him as he stepped up to take the penalty that sealed Wales's 13-6 win over England on his return to Test rugby after a prolonged absence due to concussion.