Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Heineken Cup Flashback

European Cup rugby is back with a bang this weekend with both the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup kicking off for a new season.

I would be lying if said I wasn't a bit excited about it.  OK, if I'm honest, I cannot wait.  But will the French clubs dominate for the second year in a row?  Big-spending Biarritz and Toulouse battled out the Heineken Cup final last May whilst Toulon faced Cardiff Blues in Marseille in the second tier competition, the Blues eventually spoiling the all-French love in.

France also sealed an impressive Six Nations Grand Slam last season.  Not a bad year for our Gallic neighbours, eh?  Well, if you put the slightly embarrassing defeats by Argentina and South Africa aside...

Here are a couple of my Heineken Cup highlights from last season which sum up why I love this tournament so much.

First up, Takudzwa Ngwenya's amazing try for Biarritz in their quarter-final win over the Ospreys:

For my second choice, I almost went for a clip of Yannick Jauzion weaving his magic, but then I remembered just how much I loved this game.  The quarter-final between Leinster and Clermont Auvergne at a pulsating RDS was one of the most exciting games of rugby I have ever seen.  Enjoy.  (PS: Brock James, look away now...)

Roll on Friday night and Northampton v Castres...


  1. Ngwenya's play has really improved in the last couple of years of playing top flight rugby with Biarritz(His tackling still leaves a lot to be desired). As an American, it's good to see an Eagles player doing well in Europe.

    Leinster and Clermont was really a fantastic game, wasn't it? Even though I am a Toulouse fan, I was glad to see the Michelen men finally win the French title last June after being bridesmaids for so long.

  2. Don't forget about Mike MacDonald! He's doing well for Leeds and is my favourite Carnegie player, hands down. Love him - not in a "I fancy him" way, I just think he is a great team player and always looks like he's enjoying his rugby.

    The only issue I have with those Leinster v Clermont highlights in that clips is that they didn't show Brock James spannering all those kicks. That really added to the tension of the game and I think everyone in the RDS knew he was never going to kick that last gasp drop goal.

    Anyway, this season's round 1 of the H-Cup has some corking games. London Irish v Munster looks tasty, as does Toulouse v Wasps, Toulon v Ospreys and Clermont v Sarries. A weekend filled with rugby? Yes please! I guess you're looking forward to Toulouse v Wasps most then?

  3. I work this weekend, but I am going to get my DVR ready to record Toulouse-Wasps and Clermont-Sarries.

    You are right about Mike McDonald. I think I told you before, when I saw the Tonga-USA match in Montpellier at RWC 2007, he was voted Man of the Match in a losing effort by the Eagles.(Although it was a close game) It's not often you see a prop recognized like that.