Blogs & Opinion


Abuzz about Europe

Dewi Morris Posted 20th November 2007 view comments

European Rugby is back live on Sky Sports and this season we will be showing you more live Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup rugby than ever before.

Part of the Sky Sports team that will be out and about around Europe is former British & Irish Lion, England and Sale scrum-half, Dewi Morris.

As well as analysing each round on Sky Sports' Rugby Club, Dewi will select his Heineken Cup picks here on skysports.com... Here's what he liked, and didn't like, in round two.

Wasps - with Fraser Waters to the fore - are Dewi's team of the week

Wasps - with Fraser Waters to the fore - are Dewi's team of the week

Team of the Week:
London Wasps

There were some very good wins this weekend - from Bristol, Toulouse, London Irish and Munster to name but a few - but the pick of the lot for me was Wasps' bonus point win down at Stradey Park, and so they are my team of the week for round two.

On the road, in such a difficult pool, to go there to win with all the emotion around following Ray Gravell's sad death was a terrific achievement. Perhaps all the emotions backfired on Scarlets and it must have been a difficult environment for them but ultimately they couldn't handle the momentum and pace that Wasps put on the game.

Ultimately Scarlets couldn't handle the momentum and pace that Wasps put on the game. To win away was a great effort but to win a bonus point for four tries was phenomenal and, in such a tough pool, that could be decisive.

Dewi Morris
Quotes of the week

Wasps spent periods of the game under the cosh, tackling and tackling, but just when you thought they might begin to run out of steam, they clicked. They have a great work ethic at the club so we shouldn't be surprised.

Riki Flutey and Fraser Waters were phenomenal in the centres, capitalising on any mistakes made by the Scarlets. To win at Scarlets was a great effort but to win a bonus point for four tries was phenomenal and in such a tough pool, that could be decisive.

Try of the Week:
Clement Poitrenaud, full back, Toulouse

There were some good tries this week in this competition but this particular one was sheer class. It was the first try in the game in Toulouse.

On a cold night, the game was locked at 6-6 when the second half began and it needed something to break the deadlock. Well it got it and it was full back Poitrenaud, who has his demons in this competition (remember Rob Howley at Twickenham for Wasps?), who scored it. He can drift in and out of games but on this occasion he was on hand to finish of a French classic.

Byron Kelleher got them moving, the ball went through the hands, Cedric Heymans cruised past Girvan Dempsey on the outside and flung the ball inside with consummate skill to Poitrenaud, arriving at pace to dot down.

It was a great try that lit up a cold night in Toulouse and set the home side on their way to 27 unanswered points that blew away Leinster.

Player of the Week:
Nick Kennedy, second row, London Irish

Regular viewers of Sky Sports' rugby coverage will know I am a big supporter of Kennedy, the big London Irish lock, and tout him to wear the England shirt.

He gets better with each game, which is incredible because he sets such high standards.

It is not easy as a second row to put a marker on a game and stand out above the crowd but with his scrummaging, lineout play, loose play and a try he was worthy of Man of the Match on Saturday and player of the week for round two.

Villain of the Week:
Same old Leinster problem

The questions marks return for the Leinster scrum. They have signed Ollie Le Roux and Juan Gomez but it doesn't look as though the age-old problem of the Leinster pack has been fixed.

Unfortunately for Leinster, their front row couldn't stand up to the pressure piled on it by Toulouse. It really is the same old problem: brilliant backs, but they're no good if you get no ball.

They have bought these guys but it doesn't look as though they are good enough. There was a lot of praise for them when they beat Leicester in Dublin but you need to do it week-in, week-out and on the road.

There was no platform and thus no momentum. Brian O'Driscoll, Felipe Contepomi, Gordon D'Arcy... it doesn't matter who you have outside in the back division if your pack can't produce possession and a platform.

Moment of the Week:
Bristol bully the favourites

Celebrating winning a scrum on the halfway line isn't something you see in every match but that is what spectators at the Memorial Ground in Bristol witnessed on Sunday.

Mark Regan was cock-a-hoop when his pack shoved Stade Francais off the ball and although he can be a bit much sometimes, it showed just how pumped up Bristol were.

It was evidence of intent; you could see it in the Bristol pack faces all the way through the game. That was a bit of a funny moment but it demonstrated how they bullied the Stade Francais scrum in a superb 17-0 win.

It just goes to show what a good scrum can do to the tournament favourites and also shows that need to have that style - to be able to mix it up front - within you in this tournament.

It was not the best game, but a great result for Bristol and it came from 'Ronnie Regan' and the front row.

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