Monday 5 December 2016

Champions Cup form bodes well

Johnny O'Connor

Published 28/10/2016 | 02:30

Jack Carty of Connacht goes over to score a try for his side during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 2 Round 2 match between Zebre Rugby and Connacht Rugby at Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile
Jack Carty of Connacht goes over to score a try for his side during the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 2 Round 2 match between Zebre Rugby and Connacht Rugby at Stadio Lanfranchi in Parma. Photo by Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile

It's still very early days in the pool stages of the Champions Cup but it's good to see how positive things are for the Irish provinces in comparison to last year, writes Johnny O'Connor.

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This time last season the three Irish provinces were already on the back foot after a poor opening to each of their respective campaigns. But they are doing really well after the first two rounds of the Champions Cup in 2016-'17.

With all four provinces in the top tier this time around, three of them, namely Connacht, Munster and Leinster, lead their pools and Ulster aren't too far off the pace either so the signs are promising for reaching the last eight. 

Hopefully they can pick up where they left off, when it comes to the crucial back-to-back games in December, and the possibilities are endless if that works out.

As I said before, these things go in swings and roundabouts, and everyone was talking last season about how the French and English clubs were gone into the distance.

But there's no doubt they've been pegged back. People might say the Saracens, Clermonts and Wasps of this world are unbeatable. But on their day anyone can beat each other.

Wasps only drew in Toulouse last weekend, and I am certain Connacht will give them a rattle in the Sportsground and they won't be far off the mark.

Irish Independent

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