Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Hounds get bitten by the Saxons

Dan Tuohy (Picture )

I didn’t have the time to watch the Wolfhounds/Saxons match, but no problem, I just hit Sky+. The problem came when I wanted to watch it and filed came up on the screen - too much Phineas and Ferb, Downtown Abbey and America’s Next Top Model on the hard drive. So I cleaned all that crap off, and recorded what I thought was a rerun of the match, which in turn turned out to be half baked highlights package.

 And it’s a pity as it didn’t look like the worst match either, the Saxons seemed to have the upper hand, but the Hounds didn’t give up, put together some moves, and kept trying until the end. There were a few players that I wouldn’t hugely rate that surprised me – Dave Kearney took a good line for his try, and did some sterling work in defence as well. He’s coming on in leaps and bounds.  Tomas O’Leary looked sharper than I’ve seen him for a long time, and scored a fine determined try. In the pack, Dan Tuohy put in a storming  performance and has to be on the bench for Ireland, while Henry and Ruddock are knocking on the door for higher honours. Keatley and Madigan both showed some good touches, and are worthy stand byes at provincial level.

I was concentrating on the Hounds obviously, but did notice Robson for the Saxons, and I thought Armitage stood out as well, if only he could sort his disciplinary record out.  Apart from that, Burns looks like he could go far, and Spencer seems to be in the right place at the right time, both playing at Saracens and within the England set up.

Now, bring on the real thing!

Saxons 23 – 17 Wolfhounds

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lots of grumbling and giving out about the Ireland team

These are the squads for Ireland and the Wolfhounds ahead of the Wolfhounds match. (clears throat and gets ready to give out). Now I know Leo Cullen is out injured, and James Coughlan is in for him – we all knew he was injured when they included him anyway?   Also, six out of the Wolfhounds and the additional players have the opportunity to put their hand up for the senior squad.

My beef (prime Irish beef of course) is with the world cup over, we should now be focusing on form and younger players, and it looks likewe have several passengers in the squad of 24. Paddy Wallace is the biggest culprit, having neither form nor age on his side. As a good Leinsterman, it pains me to say it, but D’Arcy’s form has been moderate to say the least, and he’s in the twilight of his career. Jennings is another player who I’d love to have available for Leinster for the next few years, but I don’t see him as Ireland material. DOC has been a brilliant servant for Ireland, but if he’s on the bench at Munster now, why is he going straight into the senior squad? And I really think Earls is lucky to be there, he’s been injured, and is still getting back to form.  So out of 24 players we’ve already got 5 people who are pretty lucky to be there.

Then looking at the Wolfhounds, I’m going to look totally anti Connacht here, and I’m not, but why have we got players like Duffy, McCarthy and John Muldoon in there, even Tomas O’Leary. Are they ever going to use the opportunity to step up to the senior squad? Where’s Paul Marshall, where’s Damian Browne, where was James Coughlan in the first place? Why is Carr in limbo?

We’d be better off proactively getting younger players and players with better form into the team than playing it safe, and only making injury enforced changes. I can see a moderate 6 Nations this year, and a worse one next year with the current strategy. I could see us starting with a 15 that’s going to run out of steam with 20 minutes to go, with no game breakers on the bench.  We’ve got three teams in the HC cup quarters, but it looks suspiciously like a pigs ear could be made out of a silk purse.

Do you think, as part of the bail-out deal for Ireland, along with all our financial plans for the country, our team sheet gets discussed in Paris and London before we see it? ‘Vraiment, D’Arcy et 'class'’ ‘Wallace has always been a top chap’

This would be my Ireland team:

15 Kearney 14 Trimble 13 Bowe 12 McFadden 11 Fitzgerald 10 Sexton 9 Reddan 8 Heaslip 7 O’Brien 6 Ferris 5 O’Connell 4 Ryan 3 Ross 2 Best 1 Healy

Bench: Cronin Murray O’Gara Loughney Tuohy Hagan Coughlan  Earls

Good luck to the Wolfhounds anyway, I hope they beat the Saxons.

Ireland training squad for Six Nations Rory Best, Tommy Bowe, Tom Court, Sean Cronin, Leo Cullen, Gordon D'Arcy, Keith Earls, Stephen Ferris, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Shane Jennings, Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross, Donnacha Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace.
Additional Players Fionn Carr, Craig Gilroy, Jack McGrath, Ian Nagle, Peter O'Mahony, Tiernan O'Halloran.
Ireland Wolfhounds Stephen Archer, Isaac Boss, Gavin Duffy, Chris Henry, Denis Hurley, David Kearney, Ian Keatley, Ronan Loughney, Ian Madigan, Mike McCarthy, Kevin McLaughlin, John Muldoon, Tomas O'Leary, Eoin O'Malley, Rhys Ruddock, Mike Sherry, Nevin Spence, Devin Toner, Dan Tuohy, Damien Varley, Brett Wilkinson, Simon Zebo

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup - so many superlatives, they broke my superlomometer!

James Coughlan (picture )

Leinster put in a solid fifteen man performance to top their pool, and confirm their home quarter. Missing a few of their out and out stars in the starting 15, they still had enough in the bag to effectively put away Montpellier, who had picked a full strength side. Kearney, Mc Fadden, and the usual suspects in the pack of SOB and Heaslip all stood up to be counted. A bonus point would have been good, but apart from that it’s home quarters and all to play for.

Connacht had kicked things off for the Irish provinces in awesome style on Friday with a fine gritty over Quins. The match was played in near hurricane conditions, and somehow, Qunis couldn’t use the  wind at their backs in the second half to get the win. To describe Connachts’s tackling as ferocious is to do them a an injustice, it was an out and out war around the rucks and mauls. Connacht won the match with sheer bloody mindedness, just absolutely refusing to lose. Quins could go to Toulouse and win, but not to Galway! The  Galwegians had a win coming in the HC, and this was not no more than their due.

Connacht’s heroics had ensured Ulster’s qualification, but the Ulstermen had to try and get something out of Clermont’s home fortress for a home quarter. It wasn’t their afternoon really, they had a few decisions go against them, and they didn’t have the ruthless efficiency they showed against  the Tigers the week before to put away the chances they did get. But they got close, really close to a win and there aren’t too many teams that get to do that. So qualification again for Ulster, two years in a row, not too shabby.

It was left to Munster to round things off for the Irish provinces, against the in form Saints at the MK stadium. Munster were 5 from 5 coming into the match, but have been in scratchy enough form, requiring a few drop late goals to scrape through and not ever hitting their straps up until now. Even in the first 20 minutes, it didn’t look like it was going to be their afternoon.  Ronan O’Gara got a pass in their own 22, found a pen, wrote ‘hospital’ on the ball and popped it off to Mafi, milliseconds before Mafi was absolutely creamed by Manoa. Saints got a penalty try from that scrum.  Mafi a few minutes later tried a really speculative offload in the Munster 22, and again the Saints came away with points. But Munster hung in there, got a try of their own after a storming run by Coughlan, who’s in sensational form, and were in touch at half time. In the second half, Munster flicked the switch and unleashed a blitzkrieg attack on the Saints, and didn’t let up until the last minute. It was the stuff of nightmares for Northampton. I think it’ll be a while before such a complete second half performance is matched, probably not this year anyway. Munster are back, big time, and must be favourites now for this years tournament. Zebo got a hat trick, but it was the ultimate team performance that delivered those tries and more and that win.

So this is the draw for the next round:

Munster v Ulster
Leinster v Cardiff Blues
Edinburgh v Toulouse
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne

Overall, English clubs are the big losers with one only one club through, the Rabo Direct Pro 12 are the winners with 5/8 and france are about right at 2/8. One Irish side is going to have perish straight away, but apart from that, things couldn’t be better for the Irish teams right now.

Friday , January 20
Connacht 9 - 8 Harlequins 
Gloucester 34 - 24 Toulouse
Sunday , January 22
Biarritz 36 - 5 Ospreys 
Benetton Treviso 20 - 26 Saracens 
Saturday , January 21
Bath 23 - 18 Glasgow 
Leinster 25 - 3 Montpellier 
Leicester 33 - 6 Aironi Rugby 
Northampton 36 - 51 Munster 
Castres 13 - 16 Scarlets 
Clermont Auvergne 19 - 15 Ulster
Edinburgh 34 - 11 London Irish 
Cardiff Blues 36 - 30 Racing Metro 92

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heineken Cup predictions - knowledge of biorhythmic algorithms not required

Steven Sykes - Seldom Seen Man (picture )

Likely to top the whole shebang are Leinster, and a win against Montpellier should do that for them, even without the bonus point. Leo Cullen is a worry, although not you could tell from the Leinster site, and Fitzgerald and Strauss are back in the frame, as apparently is the seldom seen Steven Sykes, who has not turned out to be a fantastic replacement for Nathan Hines, it has to said. Four points for Leinster.

Munster have to beat the Saints at home tall order in itself, plus they are rocked by injuries, and not in the finest vein of form. I’m not knocking them, they’re unbeaten, but just this moment it would take a minor miracle to come home with a win. The news that Ashton is getting flouncy at training at Franklin Gardens is a bit of comfort, as that is sure to disrupt the Saints.

Ulster have to beat Clermont away. Who knows what Clermont are going to bring to the party, but at home they are a mightily impressive side. Clermont have not lost at their fortress since November 2009. So even a bonus point for Ulster is going to be a major achievement, and could spell the end of the Ulstermen’s campaign. I'll bwe shouting for Ulster all the way though

Edinburgh and The Blues both look like they’ll make it as the Exiles and Racing are not in the best of nick these days.

And in Pool 6 you’d think that Toulouse and Quins should both get out.  Then Saracens should top group 5.
So this is my order:


Enjoy the weekend!

Heineken Cup
Friday , January 20
Gloucester vs Toulouse 20:00
Connacht vs Harlequins 20:00
Saturday , January 21
Northampton vs Munster 18:00
Castres vs Scarlets 18:00
Leinster vs Montpellier 13:30
Bath vs Glasgow 13:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Ulster 15:40
Leicester vs Aironi Rugby 15:40
Sunday , January 22
Edinburgh vs London Irish 15:15
Cardiff Blues vs Racing Metro 92 15:15
Benetton Treviso vs Saracens 13:00
Biarritz vs Ospreys 13:00

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Heineken Cup - Irish teams in 1,2 and 3 in the qualification standings

Devin Toner ( )

Leinster had their work cut out for them by the burly Scots in Glasgow. The Warriors brought unrivalled physicality to the party, and had Leinster rocked and pegged back in the first half. So smart game plan by the Scots, absolutely playing to their strengths. Leinster had to keep themselves occupied with repelling the Scots, and it took a moment of magic by Sexton and Kearney, and one prolonged attack finished by a belligerent Boss lunge, to win the match. Well, we know Leinsters defense is the business, but the Scots had their attack under control. They missed Fitzgerald, and I’d be looking at Carr not Dave Kearney. McFadden showed a few good touches, and his place kicking is immaculate. Cronin had some stormng runs, and Toner is growing more influential in the team all the time. Even my photocopier is telling me, you need more toner! Leinster qualify for the quarters, and have next week to work on home advantage.

Ulster Leicester was the match of the weekend, with the Ulstermen using home advantage to absolutely pulverize the Tigers.  It’s seldom that you see the Tigers get so comprehensively outplayed in every facet of the match, but they weren’t just played, they had a tank driven over their scrums, their lineouts, their mauls, their backline. Good times for Ireland as Trimble, Cave, Tuohy, put their hands up for national honours. The crowd, the atmosphere, this match has passed straight into Ulster folklore. It had the hairs on the back of your head standing up the whole match.

Munster had a tough encounter at home against a determined Castres side. Post match interviews with O’Connell talking about frustration with their performance. Hard man to please, five from five, qualification in the bag, only unbeaten side in the tournament, and they feel they should have done better. Admittedly they left a few tries behind, but Castres are some team, big strong talented players. Munster need more composure in the last 5 metres, and I think that’s where Murray is still learning his trade, his control of players and split seconds decisions are still coming. Great to see three Irish sides in such good form, one two and three in the current qualification table.

Toulouse beat Connacht 24-3, so fair showing from the Galwegians. Exiles passed up a good chance to push for something more as they fell to the Blues. I also saw the Scarlets hopes dashed by the Saints, just felt the Scarlets should have done better, they needed to take their chances. And I saw Saracens beat Bairritz, not very convincingly, but they all count.

Heineken Cup
Friday , January 13
Ospreys 44 - 17 Benetton Treviso 
Racing Metro 92 24 - 27 Edinburgh 
Ulster 41 - 7 Leicester
Saturday , January 14
Montpellier 24 - 22 Bath 
Scarlets 17 - 29 Northampton 
London Irish 15 - 22 Cardiff Blues 
Aironi Rugby 0 - 82 Clermont Auvergne 
Munster 26 - 10 Castres 
Harlequins 20 - 14 Gloucester 
Toulouse 24 - 3 Connacht
Sunday , January 15
Glasgow 16 - 23 Leinster 
Saracens 20 - 16 Biarritz 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heineken Cup taster

Leinster have a full bill of health for their encounter in Glasgow, with  Leo Cullen, Luke Fitzgerald, Shane Jennings, Ian Madigan, Eoin O'Malley, Rhys Ruddock and Richardt Strauss all in the frame for selection. Glasgow are in fourth in the Rabid 12, and sit at second in their HC pool behind Leinster. A win here and they could really fancy their chances of topping the group. So this is a big match for Leinster,  Scottish teams have often been stumbling blocks in the past, and they want to win all their remaining matches starting on Sunday, and see if they can get home advantages in the next round. I’ve just watched some of the Bath highlights, and awash with pride I’m going with the Leinstermen to crack Firhill , down the bogeyman Scots, and come away with a win, if not a bonus point.

Ulster take on Leicester at home, in what promises to be a fantastic match. Both teams have put together a good string of results in the last few weeks, something to build on and take into this round of HC matches. Ulster would love to put some daylight between themselves and Clermont, and a win against the Tigers would see them get one foot into the next round. I think Ruan Pienaar is the key to this match, his return and excellent form is driving the team forward, and I’m expecting a home win from them.

Munster have Castres at home and have no recent injury worries to contend with, with even Niall Ronan in the frame for the match. There are several new faces in the Munster team at the moment, but the ethos is the same- stand up and fight!  Castres are bottom of the group, and have never made good tourists. I can’t see them telling all their friends that Limerick is a great place to visit after this weekend either. So Munster with a comfortable win then.

Connacht travel to Toulouse, and won’t disgrace themselves I’m sure. They have nothing to lose, Toulouse will be underestimating them, and I could see Connacht giving Toulouse a fright like they did to Quins.
Exiles take on the Cardiff Blues at the Ma-jet-ski stadium, and on recent form it’s hard to know hat to expect from Irish. Expect the unexpected! For the record, I think they’ll win and throw the whole pool open.
Elsewhere, I’ll try and see the Scarlets Saints match to see two form tams slug it out, and will catch the Saracens Biarritz match as well. Sarries are my dark horse team to go far this tournament.

Heineken Cup Friday , January 13
Racing Metro 92 vs Edinburgh 20:00
Ulster vs Leicester 20:00
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso 20:00
Saturday , January 14
Scarlets vs Northampton 13:30
Munster vs Castres 15:40
London Irish vs Cardiff Blues 15:40
Montpellier vs Bath 13:00
Aironi Rugby vs Clermont Auvergne 13:30
Toulouse vs Connacht 15:40
Harlequins vs Gloucester 18:00
Sunday , January 15
Glasgow vs Leinster 12:45
Saracens vs Biarritz 15:00

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ulster thump, Connacht slump, Leinster slide in on their rumps, and Munster shouldn't get down in the dumps!

Legend! (picture
Leinster welcomed back their internationals, and put last weeks performance behind them as they narrowly beat the Cardiff Blues at Cardiff City Stadium. The Blues were still in holiday mood for the first 10 minutes, asLeinster ran in two excellent tries that the Blues were interested bystanders to. But  the Blues fought their way back into the match and could have sneaked a win with better kicking. The Leinster pack stood up to be counted, Heaslip was immense, Cronin was lively, Toner played the best match I’ve ever seen him play, and in the backs Kearney and McFadden always looked threatening. Reddan has his detractrors, but he sets perfect tempo for Leinster, like a master traffic director. For the Blues, Halfpenny was great, but I thought I’d see more of Warburton than I did.

Munster looked a bit ring rusty as they beat Treviso and landed the bonus point for four tries. The match was closer than the final score suggests, and Munster have to be concerned with the ease with which Treviso scored their try. The International camp, had the biggest influence on Munster of all the four provinces, but this is the sort of warm up they needed for the Heineken Cup matches coming up. The highlight of the match was Nigel Owens’ dressing down of the Treviso scrum half Botes. ‘I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m the referee, you’re the scrum half, you do your job, I’ll do mine. If you keep on shouting at me, I’ll penalize you – this is isn’t soccer’! Legend! Bloody right as well! Munster had a few good touches, Earls, unrecognizable with a new hair cut was sharp, Zebo was useful, and O’Connell led from the front. They need to calm down a bit when they’re in the red zone, and not descend into one off runners, as they left a good few tries behind. And Treviso, to their credit, are a much improved side.

Connacht were in dismal form as they were trounced by Aironi in Viadana. They can turn it around though, they just need to work on tackling, handling, scrums and lineouts then they’ll be there. They can play so much better than this, and they will next weekend in the Heineken Cup. It’s time for them to settle on a fly half, and from what I’ve watched it should be O’Connor or Nikora. At their best, they have a running style similar to Leinster, but we didn’t see any of that.

Ulster got a good win away to Edinburgh, that’s never an place to come away with a result, and they did it emphatically.

London Irish were back to win winning ways with a close win over Sale.

I watched the Saints/Quins match, where Northampton ran a tank over Harlequins, giving them a comprehensive hammering in every facet of the match. Quins miss Nick Evans badly, and have no big guns to bring in and save the day either, while Saints had a really powerful bench. I’m still expecting Quins to bounce back though. Lee Dickson must be in hot contention for an England place, especially after party boy Danny Care ruled himself out with a series of drink related incidents.

RaboDirect PRO12
Aironi Rugby 20 - 6 Connacht 
Munster 29 - 11 Benetton Treviso 
Cardiff Blues 19 - 23 Leinster 
Scarlets 16 - 14 Glasgow 
Newport-Gwent D'gons 21 - 20 Ospreys 
Edinburgh 20 - 42 Ulster 
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , January 8
Saracens 26 - 19 Bath 
London Irish 21 - 19 Sale 
Saturday , January 7
Worcester 21 - 15 Gloucester 
Newcastle 10 - 16 Exeter 
Leicester 29 - 11 Wasps 
Northampton 24 - 3 Harlequins

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Leinster take on Cardiff in the battle of the Blues and all the provinces are back to full strength.

Au Revoir Delon (Picture )

Coming up for Leinster is a date in Cardiff with the Blues. All of the Welsh sides have been bursting wth confidence since the World Cup and a trip to Cardiff City Stadium is a tough proposition. I didn’t learn much from the Blues website – most of these  club sites are crappy ticket sale vehicles masquerading as information about the club. They say their squad is ‘nearly up to full strength’ As the Heineken Cup gets going again the weekend after this, they are probably right. And ‘Blue Magic’ reckons that Kevin McLaughlin, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross and Jonathan Sexton are all in the frame for selection. It’s going to be close to full strength for both sides to try to kick themselves into shape for the weekend after, and notwithstanding home advantage, I reckon Blue Magic will prevail.

Ulster are on a high after thumping Munster, but Edinburgh are no pushover with Michael Bradley in charge, and they’ll be hurting from a loss to Glasgow. At full strength, Ulster should do it though.

Connacht travel to Vidana to have a go at Aironi. If they can nearly beat Leinster, they should sort out the bottom team, even away. I see winger Tiernan O’Halloran has signed up for 2 more years with them, which is excellent news. I expect the Galwegians to take this one.

Munster are going to like a bear with a sore head after last weekend, and Treviso are going to feel the pain. They need to pay the Italians their due respect and work through their phases, but they will. Munster are back at full strength, and I’m expecting a big showing from Paul O’Connell, new Ireland captain in Brian’s absence, and having just signed a new two year contact himself.

London Irish are going to have to try and right the wrongs of their humiliation by Bath last week, and do it against in form Sale too. Rumour has it that Delon Armitage is off to France and taking Nick Kennedy with him. Delon will not be a desperate loss, as he hardly seems to find time to play any rugby these days with his busy schedule of suspensions and injuries. Nick Kennedy is a whole different kettle of fish though. At the Madejski, home support should just about see them through, but then I thought they were going to hammer bath, so what do I know. Saints and Quins should be a cracker too.

RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , January 6
Newport-Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys 19:05
Edinburgh vs Ulster 19:30
Saturday , January 7
Aironi Rugby vs Connacht 15:35
Scarlets vs Glasgow 18:15
Cardiff Blues vs Leinster 18:15
Munster vs Benetton Treviso
Aviva Premiership
Friday , January 6
Northampton vs Harlequins 19:45
Saturday , January 7
Worcester vs Gloucester 14:45
Newcastle vs Exeter 15:00
Leicester vs Wasps 17:00
Sunday , January 8
London Irish vs Sale 15:00
Saracens vs Bath 15:00

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Munster stumble, Leinster stagger, and the IRFU get it in the neck

O'Hallaran -one to watch ( picture )

I caught the Ulster Munster match on Friday, where Munster were absolutely spanked by the Ulstermen at Ravenhill.  Ruan Pienaar was the star of the show for me, scoring a try and doing everything a scrum half should. Terblanche scored a try and is a shrewd short term signing. Munster looked disjointed, and sadly lacking in ideas behind the scrum. In fairness to them, they were heavily affected by the loss of their internationals, while Ulster were hardly affected at all, as they have all their foreign stars to fall back on.

 I suppose the IRFU is hoping that their new rules on foreign players are going to mean all provinces are equally affected when the internationals are withdrawn. I’m not sure if the treatment here isn’t going to kill the patient. I was feeling fine until I saw the doctor, now I don’t feel so good. My two cents worth is that we currently don’t have enough quality players to field 3-4 top level teams. Foreign players are going to avoid Ireland because of the complicated transient nature of the contracts offered. At the same time, the number of games being played goes up and up, so bigger squads are needed. The net result is going to be that the provinces are going to struggle to compete in the Pro 12 and the HC, and if that happens, it hard to see how the national team isn’t going to struggle. Then if  our stars get fed up and chase big contracts in France, we’ll really be shagged.

Now I’ve depressed the hell out you, my alternative suggestion would be that the IRFU brings in a minimum number of games over the season where Irish teams have to field all Irish qualified players, start with 6 maybe, going up to say 12 over 4-5 years. I’d also be interested to see a how restricting players from playing in Ireland would stand up in court.

Leinster straggled past a gutsy Connacht side at the Sports ground. Without Isa Nacewa to kick them home, they would have been in deep poo. They didn’t ever put their stamp on the game, and with the disparity in resources available to both teams, they should have put Connacht away easily. I like the look of O’Hallaran for Connacht, and also their team ethic. Leinster have to work hard on their discipline. Connacht deserved that match all the way, but we’ll take it!

London Irish were hammered by Bath at the Recreation Ground. Player of the match was Michael Claasens with Stephen Donald close behind, and Abendanon is such a classy player for them. Irish looked like they were going to be all over them at the start, but Bath just wanted it more. Is there an issue with leadership at Irish? They really needed someone to pull them together and get stuck in to a vulnerable Bath team.

I went to the Quins Saracens match earlier this week with an 82 000 crowd, fireworks to start, and a lot to admire about the way the match was played. Unfortunately for Quins they got bad stage fright in the first 20 minutes, and Saracens had them eaten by that stage. Saracens have a very cautious game plan, based on massive forward power and watertight defense, and it works. They are going to make waves in the HC I reckon. I also watched Quins scrape past Exeter, with a diabolical kicking display from Clegg. You should never mix politics and sport obviously. From an Irish perspective, great to see prop Andress, fly half Steenson  and lock Hayes shine. Hayes hasn’t missed a league game in three years. Legend! Getting back to Quins, Mike Brown is a pleasure to watch, solid under the high ball and in defense and a danger with ball in hand.

Ulster 33 - 17 Munster 
Exeter 9 - 11 Harlequins
Bath 30 - 3 London Irish
Connacht 13 - 15 Leinster