Red Kite in the Ruck

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The Seasons Greetings to Absolutely Everyone! Whatever your colour, creed, race, lifestyle or Rugby Club, may I wish you happiness and peace - at least for the next couple of weeks. I shall be imbibing from the cup of jollity and possible the wineglass of the grape, and finally before the holidays end I will attend a Wasp Home game!

Last weekend was the next round of games in each of the Pools for the Heineken Cup. I must confess that even an avid supporter such as myself found it difficult to take time out to watch and read about the games, amongst the Christmas shopping and family get-togethers! See, I'm not as sad as you non-rugby fans thought - I do have a life outside of the game. Having said that, I did manage to catch a couple of them and give my reports below. The scores this week for some of the Premiership Teams were brilliant with Wasps notching up 52, Gloucester 49 and Northampton Saints 26. All three won their games. Sale Sharks did not follow the trend and finished with just 3 points from a penalty, losing their game against Biarritz.

Well here is a short round up of some the matches played on Saturday followed by the Pools and Points.

Northampton 25 - Agen 10

It did not help the Agen cause to have their captain, Jean-Jacques Crenc sent off just six minutes into the game. His head butt on World Cup hero Steve Thompson looked deliberate and he and his fellow teammates paid the price. After two sin binnings on top of this, you could be forgiven for thinking that this was a game between the Saints and the Sinners! Ben Cohen, another returnee from Australia, made his mark on the match with three excellent tries, two of which Grayson converted. Two penalties on top took their score to 25. Agen seemed not too bothered with being a man down for most of the match, leading one to speculate that this was not a totally abnormal state of affairs for them. The Saints perhaps should have been able to dominate the game more but at the end of the day it's the result that counts.

Biarritz 31 - Sale 3

Not a lot to be said about this match really apart from the fact that after 46 seconds - yes - seconds, Biarritz had a converted try under their belt! Unfortunately things did not improve; in fact it got worse with Sale failing to show anything like the class they had the previous week when they beat Cardiff. Their opponents left them languishing with only a sad three point penalty, as they roared away with four converted tries and a penalty.

Calvisano 33 - Wasps 52

Oh I wish I had been there! This was action packed rugby, fast and high scoring, before the first half was over Kenny Logan had scored a hat trick, with Joe Worsley and Shane Roiser both also diving over the line. Five tries and already a bonus point secured! The Italians also had their share, scoring two tries in the first half. The second half scores were led by Calvisano with a try from Massimo Ravazzalo, then De Rossi and Elisara. Not to be outdone Tom Voyce snatched a try and just to make sure, Kenny proved that club rugby was his game and scored his fourth try of the match. He may have retired from the international stage but he certainly is not passed his best yet! Captain Lawrence Dallaglio was absent from this match, not surprisingl really considering he had played every minute of England's World Cup performance.

Warren Gatland, Wasps director of rugby was not totally happy with the performance against the Italians. Although pleased with the result and the score line, he was not amused that Wasps seemed to have eased off the pedal and allowed five tries to penetrate their defence. Their excellent defence line has stood them in good stead in games where the tries have not been forthcoming and has saved many a match. No doubt they will look at this aspect of their game before they play again. I still wish I had been there!!!!!!

The Heineken Cup

League Table - Heineken Cup - Tables as of: 15/12/2003

Pool 1 
Stade Francais 2 1 0 1 46 37 5   9
Leicester 2 1 0 1 49 29 5  20
Gwent Dragons 2 1 0 1 27 49 4 -22
Ulster 2 1 0 1 37 44 4  -7
Pool 2 
Edinburgh 2 2 0 0 55 32 9  23
Toulouse 2 1 0 1 35 26 5   9
Leeds 2 1 0 1 32 39 4  -7
Neath-Swansea Ospreys 2 0 0 2 36 61 0 -25
Pool 3 
Leinster 2 2 0 0 56 25 9  31
Biarritz 2 1 0 1 37 35 5   2
Sale 2 1 0 1 29 55 4 -26
Cardiff Blues 2 0 0 2 43 50 2  -7
Pool 4 
Llanelli Scarlets 2 2 0 0 55 19 9  36
Northampton 2 1 0 1 34 24 5  10
Agen 2 1 0 1 37 33 5   4
Borders 2 0 0 2 18 68 0 -50
Pool 5 
Gloucester 2 2 0 0 82 2510  57
Munster 2 2 0 0 69 17 9  52
Bourgoin 2 0 0 2 30 67 1 -37
Treviso 2 0 0 2 12 84 0 -72
Pool 6 
Wasps 2 2 0 0 80 40 9  40
Celtic Warriors 2 1 0 1 53 51 6   2
Perpignan 2 1 0 1 33 47 5 -14
Ghial Amatori & Calvisano 2 0 0 2 58 86 1 -28

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