Looking At Heineken Champions Cup Round 2

Racing 92 over Leicester

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

The biggest club competition in the Northern Hemishpere gets its second round underway this weekend. 

In Round 1 we saw a couple of surprises, some close finishes, and a whole lot of Irish domination. Will we see more of the same in Round 2, or are there going to be some changes?

Here's the rundown:

Ulster vs Clermont Auvergne (Pool 3)

11/22 - 2:45 pm (ET)


Clermont will travel to the Kingspan on Friday night looking to build on their cracking opening performance. 

The French giants spent last season playing in the tier-2 Challenge Cup, but have returned to the top flight with a vengeance, taking down Harlequins 53-21 a week ago. 

They're sure to face a much stiffer this week when they travel to Northern Ireland to take on Ulster. The men from Belfast scored a huge road victory last week at Bath, 17-16. 

The Kingspan is always one of the toughest places to play, and with a Friday night home fixture against one of the world's best sides, you can bet the crowd will be rocking. 

Benetton vs Northampton (Pool 1)

11/23 - 8:00 am (ET)

Northampton will head to Italy for their second match of the Champions Cup, aiming to make it two wins from two on the campaign. 

They got a huge performance from flyhalf Dan Biggar a week ago to take down Lyon at home, 25-14. The Saints haven't experienced Heineken Cup success in what seems like ages, so getting off to a 2-0 start would be huge for them. 

Benetton have had a tough start to the year in the PRO14, winning just two of their first six games. On top of that, they suffered a 33-19 loss to 2018-19 runners-up Leinster in Round 1 of the Champions Cup. 

A home win against Northampton would be a much-needed result for the Italians. 

Saracens vs Ospreys (Pool 4)

11/23 - 8:00 am (ET)


In somewhat of a surprise, the Sarries were comprehensively handled by Racing 92 a week ago, 32-12. Granted, they were missing a chunk of their England internationals, but nevertheless you rarely see them take a hiding. 

The two-time defending champions will look to get back on the horse this Saturday against a struggling Ospreys side. The Welsh region went down 32-13 to Munster in Round 1 and have won just one out of six games so far in the PRO14. 

The loser of this match could find themselves in real trouble moving forward. 

Toulouse vs Connacht (Pool 5)

11/23 - 8:00 am (ET)


Toulouse are certainly one of the favorites in the tournament this year, but they nearly lost their opener to Gloucester, just surviving 25-20. 

The reigning French champions will get to play in front of a home crowd this week, and it's not often this lot loses on their own ground. We could see a white-hot Toulouse side on Saturday. 

Their opponents, Connacht, scored a massive win in Round 1, defeating Montpellier 23-20. They were one of four Irish teams to pick up a win last week, and they hope to continue this trend of Irish domination this week. 

Lyon vs Leinster (Pool 1)

11/23 - 10:15 am (ET)


Lyon have been in scintillating form in the Top14 this season, going undefeated through their first nine fixtures.

However, their unbeaten run to begin the season came to a halt last week when they were nipped on the road by Northampton. Playing at home this week, the French unit hope to get back to their winning ways. 

The task won't be easy though, as they are facing one of the world's premier sides in Leinster. 

The men from Dublin have yet to lose all season, and are coming off a comfortable 33-19 win over Benetton in their first game of the Champions Cup. 

This one could be a trying test for Leinster, but given their incredible track record in Europe, it shouldn't be too big of an ask. 

Exeter Chiefs vs Glasgow Warriors (Pool 2)

11/23 - 10:15 am (ET)


Exeter have been outstanding in the Premiership over the past five years, but have failed to translate that into European success. 

Finally, they've gotten off to a good start in Europe, after last weekend's 31-12 win over La Rochelle. 

This week they'll play hosts to the Glasgow Warriors, who scraped out a 13-7 victory over Sale in Round 1. The Warriors lost their head coach, Dave Rennie, during the week when he accepted the job to become the new Australia boss. 

Replacement head coach Danny Wilson hopes to pick up where Rennie left off and keep Glasgow relevant as one of Britain's best sides. 

Harlequins vs Bath (Pool 3)

11/23 - 12:30 pm (ET)

Two English sides coming off of opening round losses, Quins and Bath will both be extremely eager to pick up a win. 

The Harlequins are a young side that has tons of room for growth, but they were handed a real whooping a week ago to Clermont. They'll need to put that one in the rear-view mirror as soon as possible. 

Bath, on the other hand, lost a nailbiter at home to Ulster last week. They had a real shot to win it at the end, but their winger was just bundled into touch before they could score right at the death. 

Expect a very intense, physical encounter here between two teams that know each other very well. 

Munster vs Racing 92 (Pool 4)

11/23 - 12:30 pm (ET)


Munster and Racing were two of the most impressive sides of Round 1, so this encounter on Saturday night has the makings of a fantastic one. 

Munster continued their flying start to the season with a big victory over Ospreys in their first European outing. Following their run to the semifinals a year ago, the men in red are determined to go all the way this time. 

Racing 92 had perhaps the surprise of the weekend last week, when they crushed the two-time defending champion Saracens. In a pool with three of the top teams in the world, results like that will go a long way in the final standings. 

The winner of this match will be in excellent position moving forward. 

Sale vs La Rochelle (Pool 2)

11/24 - 8:00 am (ET)


Both Sale and La Rochelle will be looking for their first Heineken Cup win of the season this Sunday. 

Sale were close a week ago against Glasgow, and did manage to secure a losing bonus point in the effort. With Faf de Klerk, Tom Curry, and company returning for this fixture, they should turn in a better performance. 

La Rochelle were handily defeated last week by Exeter, but it doesn't mean they're out of it. They still have a very strong team, and if their free-flowing style of rugby is coming off, they are extremely difficult to beat. 

Montpellier vs Gloucester (Pool 5)

11/24 - 10:15 am (ET)


Each of these two teams suffered close defeats in their first contests of the competition, Montpellier falling 23-20 to Connacht, and Gloucester 25-20 to Toulouse. 

This game figures to be a very exciting one, with two teams who like to play running rugby going at it in a must-win fixture. 

A win for either side puts them back in the mixer in the pool, while a loss could mean a very long road to the quarterfinal stage. 

Round 4: Super Rugby Aotearoa/AU Team of the Week

Codie Taylor, Crusaders

With the Australian Super Rugby teams entering the fold this week, the Super Rugby Team of the Week selection just got a whole lot tougher. There were plenty of great performances over the weekend, and a few names on the sheet that continue to show up week in and week out. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: New England Freejacks

New England Free Jacks

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

10 Monday Notes: Hot Seats In NZ, Super Rugby Kicks Off In AUS

Reds, Harry Wilson

The gifts keep on coming, as Super Rugby AU's new season just got underway this past weekend with two scintillating matchups, while Super Rugby Aotearoa once again dazzled fans. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Houston Sabercats

Houston Sabercats

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

More Rugby! Super Rugby Australia Kicks Off With Reds vs Waratahs

Waratahs

Much to the delight of many rugby fans all around the world, Super Rugby began a New Zealand-only competition three weeks ago, giving spectators something great to feast their eyes on after a long rugby layoff since the start of the pandemic. Well, starting this weekend the rugby universe will be treated to another great competition, as Super Rugby now begins its Australian-only league. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

TWO UNBEATENS REMAIN: Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 4 Preview

Richie Mo'unga, Crusaders

Through three rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, it's the Blues and the Crusaders who still remain unbeaten, while the Chiefs and the Hurricanes are still in search of a first victory on the season. The Highlanders, meanwhile, sit at 1-1 after two heart-stopping fixtures against the Chiefs and the Blues. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Date Set For New Zealand's North vs South Island Battle

Ardie Savea, All Blacks, New Zealand.jpg

For the first time since the mid 1980's, New Zealand is set to reintroduce the famous North vs South Island match on August 29th, pitting players from each of the two parts of New Zealand against one another to settle where the best rugby players in the country truly come from. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Colorado Raptors

Colorado Raptors

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

Could New Zealand Be Hosting The Entire 2020 Rugby Championship?

New Zealand v South Africa - Rugby World Cup 2019_ Pool B Warren Little Getty Images For World Rugby.jpeg

With much of the world shut down still thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, rumors are swirling that New Zealand could be home to the entire 2020 Rugby Championship. The past three weeks have seen the beginning of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, a competition involving just the four New Zealand Super Rugby franchises. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In

MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: Austin Gilgronis

Gilgronis vs Toronto Arrows

The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

Create a free account to unlock this article!

Get Started

Already a subscriber?  Log In