Munster, Connacht & Leinster & rugby League Ireland Win But ULSTER LACK THE CHARACTER TO COME BACK AGAINST Weakened Leicester Team

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It was a good weekend for rugby in Ireland with Leinster, Munster, Connacht & Rugby League Ireland registering wins, no game was plain sailing but the most dissapointing performance was by Ulster Rugby who with the absence of Les Kiss have now got dithering leadership which is apparent on the pitch as a lack lustre first half and lack of focus was replaced in the 2nd half by a bit of a comeback but horrendous errors meant they stuttered to a low confidence empty loss salvaging a single point and heading towards the exit door in Europe.

Below is a review of the action released by the folks over at the Champions Cup communications department

European Rugby Champions Cup – Round 1 Review

Champions Cup wins hearts and minds

The European Rugby Champions Cup duly took its place in the hearts and minds of clubs and supporters alike as Round 1 of EPCR’s new tournament delivered more than its share of fiercely-contested games, nerve-tingling conclusions and moments of sheer brilliance.

Please find attached a comprehensive review of last weekend’s 10 European Rugby Champions Cup Round 1 games including match summaries, reaction, tournament statistics, tables, leading scorers, a discipline update and Round 2 fixtures.

The 10 matches in the inaugural weekend produced over 450 points with an average of 4.7 tries per game to continue a tradition forged during the past 19 years of world-class competition.

Saracens, Glasgow Warriors and Ospreys registered bonus-point wins, while Munster Rugby were the only club to win on the road with their dramatic 27-26 victory over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium coming courtesy of a nerveless last-play drop goal by out-half Ian Keatley.

As ever in Europe’s top flight, there were landmark moments with Danny Care scoring the first Champions Cup try during Harlequins’ 25-9 Pool 2 success over Castres Olympique at the Twickenham Stoop on the opening night.

Care was on the end of a perceptive Nick Evans kick ahead for his try in the 65th minute and now goes into the history books alongside Toulouse back row, Jean-Luc Cester, who scored the first Heineken Cup try in the Romanian town of Constanta in 1995.

Gordon D’Arcy of Leinster Rugby became the fourth player to make 100 European appearances (99 in Europe’s premier club tournament and one in the Challenge Cup) when he started in the 25-20 Pool 2 win over Wasps at the RDS Arena. D’Arcy joins an elite band which includes Munster duo, Ronan O’Gara and John Hayes, as well as Peter Stringer (Munster and Bath Rugby) to have passed the century mark.

Chris Ashton, who set a new tournament record of 11 tries in a season in 2013/14, brought his total to an impressive 13 in his last 10 games in Europe when crossing for two in Saracens’ 30-23 impressive home success against Pool 1 rivals ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Meanwhile, Tommy Bowe brought his try total in Europe’s top flight to 25 (nine for Ulster Rugby and 16 for Ospreys) when he finished off a scintillating move in Ulster’s losing bonus point defeat by Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

With Sale, Clermont, Wasps and Montpellier also registering losing bonus points, the pools are certain to be as competitive as ever come the Round 6 pool stage conclusion in January.

If Munster and Keatley stole most of the drama headlines, there were significant wins for Toulouse over Top 14 rivals Montpellier, for Racing Metro 92 who deprived Aviva Premiership champions, Northampton Saints, of a losing bonus point when Johannes Goosen converted Marc Andreu’s try at the death, and for Ospreys who remain the only unbeaten club in Europe following their 42-7 victory over Benetton Treviso.

However, the Performance of the Weekend accolade probably goes to Glasgow Warriors who scored five tries on the way to crushing Bath Rugby 37-10 in Pool 4 at Scotstoun. Glasgow will now travel with justifiable confidence to Montpellier next Saturday, while Bath have to regroup in advance of Toulouse’s visit to the Rec.

The new tournament is up and running, and if the first weekend is anything to go by, the future is bright.

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