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Champions Cup: where are the French clubs before the 3rd day?


Halfway through the group stage, mixed fortunes for the Top 14 teams on the continental scene. State of play and prospects.

It is sometimes difficult to navigate in this competition.

At the end of four pool matches, against two opponents in a home-and-away format, sixteen teams (the best eight of the two groups) are qualified for the round of 16 (on a dry match this year, unlike the home-and-away matches of last season), which will be held from March 31 to April 2.

The quarter-finals will take place the following week.

For the moment, the French clubs are not in a favorable position, with the exception of Toulouse and La Rochelle, the only French teams undefeated in the first two days.

Toulouse and Rochelais in force

Flawless so far.

Stade Rochelais honored its status as European champion by signing two entry successes.

After hitting hard against Northampton (46-12) for their entry into the competition, the Maritimes went to win in Ireland against Ulster (36-29), in a relocated match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin since the Belfast ground was frozen.

The return match is scheduled for Saturday (6:30 p.m.) at Marcel-Deflandre before a trip to the "Saints" of the Midlands.

Well within reach of Ronan O'Gara's men.

Read alsoXV of France: Mauvaka, the hooker of Toulouse, operated on a finger and absent for the start of the Tournament

Same good start for Toulouse, who managed the feat of beating Munster on home soil (13-18) before sweeping Sale (45-19) at Ernest-Wallon.

A success to be confirmed on Saturday (2 p.m.) at the Sharks in the suburbs of Manchester, which finds the powerful Manu Tuilagi.

A rough match in perspective.

“We will be on hostile ground there, but I think we have the weapons to respond to it,

insists international scrum-half Antoine Dupont, before facing the second in the English Premiership.

To achieve the objectives that are ours, we must be able to play in several ways.

Next week, the five-time European champions will meet the Munstermen at home.

For another hell of a showdown.

The Racingmen without a net

The Champions Cup is an avowed objective of the Ile-de-France club, three unfortunate finalists in the event (2016, 2018, 2020).

Except that this season, Laurent Travers' players have experienced two entry failures, which put them under pressure.

The Sky and White shine by their inconstancy this season and remain five games without a win.

The first two defeats against by the Irish of Leinster (42-10) and the English of Harlequins (14-10) hardly encourage optimism.

Read alsoTop 14: in pain, Montpellier wins against Racing

The Hauts-de-Seine club no longer has the right to make mistakes in the return matches, Sunday at the Arena against the Quins (4:15 p.m.), then against the formidable Leinster in Dublin.

Elimination from the group stage would stain the men of President Jacky Lorenzetti, already quite upset after the defeat at the Arena against Stade Français Paris in the Ile-de-France derby.

Clermont and the UBB against the wall

Struggling in the Top 14, ASM still has its destiny in hand in the Champions Cup.

After their victory against the Stormers (24-14) at Michelin in the opening, the Jaunards narrowly lost at Welford Road against Leicester (23-16).

Their end to the match against the reigning English champions gave hope.

The return match is announced against the "Tigers" will be capital this Friday evening.

After the turmoil caused by the departure of Damian Penaud (UBB) and the atmosphere which has deteriorated with their supporters, the Auvergnats want to put their heads back in place.

“It's a competition that has always been close to our hearts.

After mentally difficult weeks, we are all happy to be back in the European Cup and ready to give our all against Leicester,

says center Samuel Ezeala.

We have to play it hard.

We won't let anyone come here without us fighting to defend our stadium."

Read alsoTop 14: the UBB formalizes the arrival of Yannick Bru as manager

For its part, Union Bordeaux-Bègles no longer has a choice after its setbacks in Gloucester (22-17) and Chaban against the Sharks (16-19).

It's almost a quits or doubles game that will be played on Saturday (4:15 p.m.) in Durban.

"With this group system, with a victory, we can qualify,"

said Girondin pillar Jefferson Poirot on the TV7 set.

In the event of a setback in South Africa, the UBB could play their game next week at home against the English of Gloucester.

But the room for maneuver is narrow.

vengeful Montpellier

The MHR can be blamed.

After winning with the bonus with the London Irish (32-27), the reigning French champion was surprised at the GGL Stadium by the Welsh Ospreys (21-10), a less formidable opponent.

It is therefore time for revenge for the players of Philippe Saint-André, this Saturday evening (9 p.m.), in Wales.

The Héraultais, who remain on a victory against Racing 92 (17-12) in the Top 14, want to make a splash in the Champions Cup.

The young scrum half Léo Coly explained it to the

Midi Libre


“Against the Ospreys, we will see if we have character.

I hope we were stung enough to be motivated enough for this match: we were catastrophic in the first leg.

We are keen to reverse the trend, we know that in the European Cup it goes quickly.

Castres and Lyon in the hard

Business is badly boarded.

Castres Olympique, who lost on the first day at home against Exeter (12-27), then fell on the ground in Edinburgh (31-20), seriously jeopardizing their chances of qualifying for the rest. of the competition.

With zero points after two days, the Tarn club receives these same Scots on January 15 without having too many illusions, the European Cup having historically never been a goal.

Read alsoTop 14: Acebes, the captain of Perpignan, suspended for 9 weeks for his violent whim on Danty

Same scenario and same difficulties for the LOU which chained a second defeat in a row, in Gerland against the Saracens (28-20), after falling from entry into South Africa against the Bulls (42-36).

Small consolation, thanks to their two bonus points (offensive and defensive) gleaned in Pretoria, the Rhodaniens point temporarily to 9th place.

But that seems too fair to hope to qualify for the finals.

Especially against opponents of this rank.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-01-12

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