Heineken Cup views

See what our experts' reaction is to the first round of matches in this season's Heineken Cup. Check out what they have been saying about Leicester, Northampton, Sale, Harlequins, Leinster, Munster and more...

Last Updated: 15/10/12 1:40pm

  • Share:

Stuart Barnes on Leicester's 23-9 defeat to Toulouse

"Toulouse just turned on the power up front. The way Jordan Crane, in the end, kicked aimlessly through summed up Leicester. They did not have the penetration against a Toulouse team who were very good value today. It was an extremely comfortable victory for Toulouse. In the end they barely had to break sweat to do it. They made so many tiny errors that it ended up as a big margin fo defeat for Leicester."

Sean Fitzpatrick on Leicester's tactics in France

"It is all about decision making at the right time. Ben Youngs did a tap and go seven or eight minutes into the second half and they were dominating at that stage - it just seemed to be the turning point to the game. It could have been 14-9. I would have liked to have seen him take the points. They lacked a bit of composure and were a bit naive I thought. They made a lot of mistakes and never really got into the game."

Stuart Barnes on some quandries for Northampton following their triumph

"Ryan Lamb's ability to play on the gainline and see what is in front of him as opposed to Stephen Myler, who is slightly more robotic, gives them an extra attacking edge. For bigger tests than Glasgow at home they need the pressure that their forwards can make into tries. That is still an issue, what are they doing at ten? How are they going to convert that power into points? They have the power in Manoa and Lawes, they have an outstanding second-row, but they have got to take more advantage of all that possession."

Scott Quinnell on Northampton's forward power in their victory over Glasgow

"Just after half time they upped the power. They got the big forwards running and I thought Manoa was absolutely outstanding throughout. Then they had the likes of Mujati and Tonga'uiha all of a sudden doing the pick and go and the offloads. They scored a try just after half time and that allowed them to get back into the game. They looked in control. Glasgow did not really have that many opportunities in the second half and it was a comfortable win."

Pat Sanderson on Danny Cipriani's star turn for Sale against Cardiff

"We have been treated to half an hour of brilliance from Danny Cipriani here in Manchester. Cipriani came on with 30 minutes to go and took control of the game and made a 20-point difference which ultimately led to Sale winning by one point and launching not just their Heineken Cup campaign but kick starting their season some in style."

Will Greenwood on Harlequins' 40-13 victory over Biarritz

"Conor O'Shea said before the game, 'let's go and play and put some width on it'. That was stopped and blocked, and Danny Care had no tempo. They went back to the drawing board with the set piece with eh scrum and lineout excellent. I thought the scrimmaging was outstanding and absolutely changed the game. It was an excellent victory, great bonus point and it does not change my view that they will come out of the group stages as one of the top seeds due to this group.

"Ben Botica did alright in place of Nick Evans. He kicked some great goals and had a few little nibbles. Look, I still have a worry that Quins without Evans don't have the sharpness of passing to really test someone in the wide channels when you get to the later stages of the Heineken Cup. But in terms of Botica coming in and doing the job that he needed to do, excellent."

Paul Wallace on Leinster's 9-6 win over Exeter

"I think a draw would have been a fair result. I think Exeter really caught Leinster on the hop there. I think Leinster would have been thinking bonus point when they started the game. In the second half they played with slightly more intelligence by playing down in their half. When you look at the breakdown what you were getting was one or two bodies going in from Leinster and Exeter were superb at getting numbers in there and frustrating them.

"Eoin Redan had an awful day trying to scrape the ball out and may be Leinster were thinking two stages ahead and didn't give the due respect to Exeter, because they were outstanding in defence. You do feel that a lot of the Leinster players are not battle hardened enough this season. They have not had enough game time and some to their skills really let them down, going for the magic passes when they were not on."

Alan Quinlan on Munster's 22-17 defeat to Racing Metro

"It was very, very poor. They lacked any control and conviction. Their kicking game was shocking to be honest. I know the conditions were difficult but Racing really upped their intensity and passion for the game and you could see what it meant to them. It was very poor from Munster. Simon Zebo was the only player who showed that energy and enthusiasm in the second half. They just made so many errors and bad decisions. It was a massive opportunity lost."

Paul Wallace on Ulster's 41-17 victory over Castres

"They were finalists last year, they have a fit-again Jared Payne who is a key player for them, they have Tommy Bowe in there and Nick Williams playing really well. The biggest question for them now is Ruan Pienaar, where do they fit him in, at nine or ten? Because Paul Marshall was the real pulse of the Ulster attack and he was outstanding last night."

Will Greenwood on the Ospreys' 38-17 win over Treviso

"They let Treviso back into it with a little bit of indiscipline in the second half but when you talk about platforms: Adam Jones was excellent along with Ryan Bevington at lose-head and Richard Hibbard at hooker, Alun-Wyn Jones gives them lineout and Kahn Fotuali'i is absolute class at scrum-half with such soft hands. And when we talk about Lions and doing well through this tournament to give you a springboard when you might not be an international, Ashley Beck was again scored an outstanding try. He just floats around. He is a wonderful rugby player."

  • Share:

Most Popular


NFL Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings

Carolina leap into the Champions League spots but things remain bleak for basement boys Oakland...

Liverpool 'lucky'

Liverpool 'lucky'

Liverpool underestimated Ludogorets but getting three points was all that mattered, says Dietmar Hamann.

Merse: Trophies far off for Arsenal

Merse: Trophies far off for Arsenal

Paul Merson says Arsenal's defeat in Dortmund shows why silverware could be beyond them this year.