To Win, Toulouse?
By Lawrence Aggleton
October 12 2018
After a couple of dispiriting results at Sarries and at home to Exeter, our attention turns to matters European. And what a juicy/terrifying pool we've got, 4-time champions Toulouse, 4-time champions Leinster and 2-time champions Wasps. Eeep.
Our first opponents are Toulouse at home. After their glory years in the 00s, Toulouse have faded as a force in European and Domestic rugby, being eclipsed by big spending Toulon among others. They've started this season with a similar inconsistency to Bath, with four wins, one draw and two losses, with an impressive win against Racing 92 being followed by an absolute shellacking 66-15 at Montpelier but then squeezing past Stade Francais in Paris. Early indications are that they're performing well away from home, putting a lie to the usual cliché about travelling French teams.
It's not yet clear how seriously Toulouse will take the newly re-sponsored Heineken Champions Cup, but you'd expect a strong team to travel for the first few games at least. Livewire scrum-half Sebastien Bézy will marshall some talented backs such as Yoann Huget and Maxime Medard - with young Romain Ntamack providing a familiar surname. In the pack, Jerome Kaino and Richie Gray are export internationals and definitely ooze class on their day.
As for Bath, with three centres out it looks like another makeshift midfield of Maxes. We shall see if the experiment of Burns at 15 is retained or if Homer or Atkins get a start. Bath have no reason not to go all out, particularly in these first two games, with a travelling Toulouse and an injury-struck Wasps team, after that there's no first string match until mid-November. While Leinster loom very large in this pool, and the December double-header will likely be... educational, 9 or 10 points from these first two games could set up a potential best runner-up spot.pqs: qs:
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:10:17:19:05:36 by CoochieCoo.
Agree we need to target this given home fixture, but going to the game with hope, nothing more ...