In a raucous and colour-drenched Stade Chaban-Delmas, Leinster edged out French heavyweights Clermonts in an absolute dogfight of a semi-final. Continue reading
The Clermont Auvergne vs Leinster semi-final pits two of the best teams to grace European competition in the last five years against each other in a winner-takes-all match. As Shane Horgan said on Sky Sports’ The Rugby Club last night, “This is a Heineken Cup semi-final. You don’t get anything for finishing within seven points.” Continue reading
One month ago, Vern Cotter took les Jaunards to the South West of France for a dress rehearsal of their Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster. Continue reading
The only team that wins in Clermont is Clermont. That’s one of those local customs that the HSBC “The World’s Local Bank” series of ads never got around to: nobody ever tells you, but you’ll notice if you visit there that nobody but Clermont wins in the Stade Marcel Michelin. Continue reading
IT’S THE GROUP OF DEATH! It’s scarcely credible that this phrase has taken hold in rugby and managed to survive in commentary. It doesn’t have any notable lineage [for example, it’s not old naval slang or public school code], it’s an enormous overstatement – nobody calls failure to qualify from another group a death, so why should this be a ‘group’ of death? – and it’s really quite crass.
It’s the sort of modern over-statement that doesn’t sit well with rugby, where the method of scoring is still called a ‘try’, and you still have positions like tighthead prop and second five-eighth. If rugby were to adopt the sort of language from which GROUP OF DEATH! has managed to cross over, we’d have Right Scrum Masters, Megaboot Generals and VICTORY TOUCHDOWNS! Continue reading
Clermont Auvergne have been a very potent and visible force in French and European rugby over the last couple of years, and Irish fans will be very familiar with a number of their players. Continue reading