Thursday 8 November 2007

Benneton Treviso For The Win!

Group A
Benneton Treviso
London Irish
Newport-Gwent Dragons

Perpignan will top this group. Everything else is irrelevant

Group B
Neath-Swansea Ospreys

I like Ulster. Maybe it's because my mum is from the north, maybe it's because the half of my relatives I actually like are from there or maybe I just like the underdog
I don't know. And I can't explain it, there's nothing remotely remarkable about this team, propped up by David 'Why won't they let me retire?' Humphreys. They'll struggle (more so than usual) to get out of a group that contains Gloucester, the Ospreys and Bourgoin too.

Group C
Bristol Rugby
Cardiff Blues
Stade Francais

Foregone conclusion - Stade Francais to crush everyone else in this group. By 50 points. In every game. The Parisian outfit have an ungodly amount of talent in every position in the park as well as a hideous depth just in case anyone had the cheek to injure one of their starters. As well as Hernandez, Dominici, Skrela, Pichot, Corleto and mini Bergamasco in the backs, in the pack you'll find greater Bergamasco, Parisse, Taylor, Martin, Pape, Roncero, Ledesma, Szarzewski, de Villiers and Marconnet. With liberal splatterings of Beauxais, Liebenberg, Glas, Jeanjean and Rabadan. Like I said, foregone conclusion.

Group D
Biarritz Olympique
Glasgow Warriors

Biarritz are essentially the French Munster. The nearly men. The team that get so close nearly every year only for something to go horribly horribly wrong in the knock-out stages. Despite usually sauntering into the quarter-finals every single year the French team always seem to bottle in spectacular fashion when they relocate to that fortress of a stadium at San Sebastien. In time-honoured fashion I do expect Biarritz to advance relatively comfortably from this group. Only Saracens could trouble them but.. I doubt it

Group E
ASM Clermont Auvergne
Llanelli Scarlets
London Wasps

If Munster get out of this group... I'll be furiously angry. I've never liked Munster, sure there might have been a time when I begrudgingly rooted for them as they gallantly exited the Heineken cup again.. and again... and again and again and again until they won the damn thing. They've had their moment, its done, lets drop it. I know they've invested in some new backs this year but I'll put money on them still being one of the most unimaginative, boring rugby teams in the entire competition. And dammit, I want to see some attacking rugby. That's why I'm secretly hoping that those bogger bastards get blitzed by Llanelli, Clermont Auvergne and Wasps. For the sake of the game, lets see some teams reach the knock-out stages by using all 15 players. Say NO to 10 man rugby, throw rocks at Ronan O'Gara

Group F
Edinburgh Rugby
Leicester Tigers

Oh shit... well it sucks to be Edinburgh. Not really much better if you're a Leinster, Leicester or Toulouse fan either to be honest. The Tigers travel to Dublin this weekend and the Frenchys are the first of the big three to get their hands on the sacrificial lamb that is the Edinburgh team. Needless to say Leinster need to get this years campaign off to a winning start, defeat at home this weekend effectively puts an end to the Irishmens (+ 1 Argentinian) hopes of qualification. Like Munster in Group E Leinster find themselves in a situation where fucking up is very much NOT an option.

Early Knock-Out Predictions

The Heineken cup has a relatively bizarre seeding system for the knock-out stages. Quarter-finals are not worked out by the usual '1st place in Group A plays second in Group B principle' but rather strangely the 8 qualifying teams are ranked 1 through 8 by their points tally in the group stages. Those that racked up the most wins and bonus points at the top leading down to the bottom. Given the 6 group approach of the tournie the 8 teams in the knock-out stages are all 6 of the group winners AND the two best runners up in the group stages. Once all this malarkey is worked out and the teams are ranked 1 plays 8, 2 plays 7, 3 plays 6, 4 plays 5. Simple eh?

1.Biarritz Olympique
2.Stade Francais
3.Neath-Swansea Ospreys
5.Llanelli Scarlets
6.Leicester Tigers
7.Saracens (Best runner-up)
8.Toulouse (Best runner-up)

1 comment:

Ben K said...

jeez pacino's really let himself