European Rugby Champions Cup Round 2 Preview

Leicester Tigers celebrating after beating Bordeaux in the European Rugby Champions Cup
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Last Updated on 15 Dec 2021 6:55 pm (UK Time)

Round 2 of the European Rugby Champions Cup kicks off this weekend with all 8 English teams in action, after Bristol’s game was called off last round.

With just 3 more games for the teams to pick up points, this round offers the chance for those who won last week to all but guarantee a place in the knockout round, whilst the teams who lost in Round 1 will be feeling the pressure to get a result and stay in the mix.

Friday

20:00 – Ulster vs Northampton Saints

The Northampton Saints once again kick off the weekend’s European Rugby Champions Cup action on Friday night with a trip to Ulster to play Ulster Rugby in Pool A.

Northampton began their European campaign with a heavy 14-45 loss against Racing 92. The Saints were blown away by Racing’s fast start, falling to an early 23-0 deficit, unable to contain Finn Russell’s passing for the visitors. 

Saints were unable to make any concrete inroads into Racing’s lead, conceding 5 tries in all, leaving them 2nd bottom of Pool A.

Ulster, on the other hand, won their Round 1 matchup, beating ASM Clermont Auvergne 29-23, capitalising on ill-discipline and scoring 5 penalties en route to victory. 

Saturday

13:00 – Bath vs La Rochelle

Bath Rugby play host to La Rochelle to begin Saturday’s Pool A action.

Bath continued their woeful winless run to this season, suffering defeat once again – this time 45-20 to Leinster Rugby. It leaves Bath in 10th, off the bottom on points difference.

The Bath defence put up little resistance in Round 1, with Leinster carving through them at will using their pace and power, scoring 7 tries in the game.

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Bath’s Round 2 opponents, La Rochelle, won a low scoring affair against Glasgow Warriors last weekend and will come into this game confident of securing a second win in their pool.

13:00 – Harlequins vs Cardiff Rugby

Harlequins welcome Cardiff Rugby to Twickenham Stoop for the first Pool B match of the weekend.

Harlequins sweaked past French side Castres last Sunday, winning 20-18 in a tense match to put Harlequins in a strong position in Pool B.

Marcus Smith kicked a 73rd penalty to give Harlequins a 20-11 lead but there was still life in the game as Martin Laveau burst through to score a minute later, with a made conversion taking the game to 20-18 with 5 minutes to go – a lead Harlequins would hold onto.

A makeshift Cardiff side lost 39-7 to Toulouse in Round 1, decimated by injuries and players in quarantine. Although it is possible for some returnees against Harlequins, it is likely that Cardiff will be understrength again. 

15:15 – Sale Sharks vs ASM Clermont Auvergne

The Sale Sharks host ASM Clermont Auvergne at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Pool A.

Sale claimed a 21-13 victory over Welsh side Ospreys last weekend, limiting their opponents to just a single try.

The Sharks set the tone, scoring through Rohan Janse van Rensburg 3 minutes in before adding tries through Ewan Ashman and Jean-Luc du Preez to give them a 21-3 lead inside 25 minutes, relying on their defence to see them through.

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Clermont, meanwhile, were on the wrong side of a close encounter against Ulster, losing 29-23 but with the best points difference of the losing teams in Pool A.

17:30 – Glasgow Warriors vs Exeter Chiefs

The Exeter Chiefs travel to Glasgow on Saturday evening to play the Glasgow Warriors in Pool A.

Exeter secured the biggest victory out of all the teams in Round 1, beating Montpellier 42-6 in an impressive 6-try display which sees them sit top of Pool A.

Exeter led 7-6 at the break before exploding into life in the second half, inspired by a Jonny Gray hattrick. 

Glasgow Warriors suffered a narrow 20-13 defeat to La Rochelle in the first round, struggling to break down the French side’s defence to overturn the scoreline.

Sunday

13:00 – Leicester Tigers vs Connacht

The Leicester Tigers host Connacht Rugby at Welford Road on Sunday afternoon in Pool B.

Leicester beat the leaders of the French Top 14, Bordeaux, in a tense 16-13 game last weekend, maintaining their superb run this season.

Guy Porter’s try, alongside a series of George Ford kicks were enough to see them through, with Ford kicking two late penalties to overturn Bordeaux’s lead and snatch the win.

Connacht, themselves, won their opening match in Pool B, beating Stade Francais 36-9. But the way Leicester have been playing this season, it is hard to see the Irish side winning this one.

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15:15 – Toulouse vs Wasps

The Wasps travel to the south of France to take on Toulouse on Sunday afternoon in Pool B.

Wasps fell to a 35-14 defeat to Covid ravaged Irish side Munster Rugby in their opening matchup.

It was a close opening 25 minutes between the two sides before a red card to Wasps skipper Brad Shields turned the tide, sent off for a shoulder to the head of Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne. From that point on, Wasps were picked apart en route to defeat.

Toulouse had a far better showing in Round 1, beating Cardiff Rugby in a convincing 39-7 victory. Wasps need to make it a priority to keep all of their players on the field in this matchup or run the risk of being overrun once again.

17:30 – Stade Francais vs Bristol Bears

The Bristol Bears travel to the French capital to round of the weekend’s European Rugby Championship actions with a match against Stade Francais in Pool B.

Bristol picked up a default win in their opening game against Scarlets, who had to pull out due to isolating players being unable to train. As a result, this is Bristol’s first European game of the season, having struggled to get up to speed domestically in the Gallagher Premiership.

Stade Francais, meanwhile, struggled in their opener, losing to Connacht 36-9, being held try-less whilst their opponents crossed the line six times with six difference scorers.

Leicester Tigers celebrating after beating Bordeaux in the European Rugby Champions Cup
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