Northern hemisphere competitions

So, less than one month to kick the Super 14 and here I am watching a few games of the northern hemisphere competitions, which is not that bad, really. What can be said about the four top competitions?

Top 14: This is a matter of 3 teams. And, unlike rugby in the south, in the north the presence of Carter won't change anything. The title is meant to got to Toulouse, mark my words, with Stade Français coming close at the second place. Ever since watching them at the Heineken Cup I like Clermont Auvergne more than any other french team. Worth to watch a game.

Guiness Premiership: The best thing that has happened to this league this season in Nick Evans. However, much like in the french case, a player won't change anything and I don't see anyone able to prevent Bath, Gloucester or Irish to get the trophy. I would very much like to see the Quins or the Saracens trying, though.

Magners League: Ospreys? Munster? Leinster? This is by a lot, the less predictable competition. Munster, as strong as they are, are not consistent enough to grant them the championship, although they are hot favourites. But the Ospreys have gathered a strong side, beware.

Heinken Cup. Just 4 rounds have been played and all is to be decided yet, in the Top european championship. This year, the bets should go on to french teams, specially Toulouse, but Munster, Irish or Gloucester also look very strong. Beware with the Quins, they have not beaten Stade Français twice for nothing.

My bets are on:
Top 14: Toulouse
Guinness: Bath
Magners: Ospreys
Heineken Cup: Toulouse.


Nursedude said...

As far as the Top 14, it is looking more and more like the teams that will finish in the top four will be Toulouse, Stade Francais, Perpignan and Clermont Auvergne. Toulouse has looked really good and just won their 11th game on the trot this past weekend. I agree that Toulouse will still be the team to beat-but playoffs and one-off matches can be a funny thing. It the standings stay as they are, Toulouse would get Clermont in the Semi finals and Perpignan and Stade Francais would be in the other one.

I think Munster and Toulouse have looked the best in the Heineken Cup. Like you, there is a lot of resilience with Quins that you have to admire.

sesenta y cuatro said...

What makes me decide in favour of Toulouse ahead of Stade Français and USAP is basically, consistence. I see them pretty much like the Crusaders last year; always consistent.

But about the Quins, what I really like is the new kid playing at 10 ;-)

Miff said...

The NH never fails to amuse me. The rugby is redundant but the amount of overall spectators and support is better than the SH.
Having said that, the the best teams in the Heineken Cup and the 6N don't always win. Take Munster last year and I think Wasps the year before.
The best team in the competition player for player is Stade Francais and , while it is difficult to believe it with geriatric tyoes like Glas and Liebenburg, the only teams that can win any competition have a "spine" hooker, eightman, scrumhalf, and fullback. Put those four players up against any other spinal tap, add the 'always necessary' outhalf and, in many cases you'll have a winner. Form also has to do with it. Nut the real ingredient these days is fitness and courage....firing thirty meter passes from left to right through five hands isn't necessarily bravery, just competence.

Nursedude said...

With Miff's points about Stade Francais-on paper a VERY good group of players, yet this team gotten beaten not once, but twice by Harlequins. That's why I am picking them as my sleeper.

At this point, Toulouse looks to be the only French club that will make the final 8, in spite of the massive amount of Euros French clubs have been throwing at players from the southern hemisphere.

sesenta y cuatro said...

Hey, Miff! Glad to see your comments here!

I like three french teams ahead of Stade Français, and you know my reasons.

Toulouse: they look clued, something Stade Français has not managed to do, yet.

Clermont: Watching them against Munster was a delight. You know I have a soft spot for them

Perpignan: When you grow up in Barcelona loving rugby, the only "catalan" teams you know are USAP and Santboiana. Santboiana plays in the spanish league, so let's forget them. The only real team for you to cheer is USAP. And if you happen to admire the AB's as is my case, this USAP season is very special for a guy grown up in Barcelona.

Nursedude, I must say that there's only one player I really like in the Quins rooster. But woaw, what a player!!!!!!

Mike said...

Would anybody bet against Munster for the Heineken cup after the way they disposed of 'in form' Sale last night?
Sadly, it looks as if my team, Clermont Auvergne will miss out again. And their form in the Top 14 has not been great recently!