Red Kite in the Ruck

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It seems to have been a long time since I penned a report. Fortunately, during the troubled period of H2G2, Premiership Rugby League has been on hold due to the Heineken Cup games. This week saw the places confirmed for the quarter-finals and the matches over the weekend certainly brought some action, sadly not all good news for followers of some of the English Premier Clubs. Only two made it through, Gloucester and London Wasps - Hooray for the Wasps! I managed to catch the action of Wasps against Perpignan and Northampton against Llanelli on Sunday afternoon and have to report that by the end, I was prostrated on the floor, totally exhausted by the action and tension of both games. Why do I do it, there must be a more relaxing way to spend the weekend?

Starting with Wasps who were playing away from home in France against a team who last year played in the final, they also had not been beaten at home. Expectations were that it would be a hard fought game - and it was. The sheer physicality of the game was awesome! Wasps are always hard players and Perpignan was playing to win, they expected to win! The start of the game was not brilliant when Alex King went to take an early penalty, strained his groin and missed. All was not lost though as Van Gisbergen stepped in to take the rest of the kicks and racked up a decent score adding to the four tries Wasps amassed gaining the last one in the dying moments and securing a much desired bonus point for their efforts.

Some rough play was evident on both sides but Simon Shaw's visit to the sin bin for throwing a punch did not appear to be warranted as it was preceded by a grapple from the back around the shoulders from a French arm. Still that's how it goes! Cuts and bruises were in great evidence and the defence from Wasps was brilliant. At the end of the day the best team won -
Wasps 34; Perpignan 6

Northampton Saints were not as lucky. Despite a home match all the support from the Saints crowd was unable to drown out the Welsh cheers of Llanelli or stop them from taking their place in the quarter finals. Saints could not hold back the tide of the Scarlets and a magnificent try from Barry Davies that had to be seen to be believed put them in the quarter finals against Biarritz. Sorry though I am to see the Saints leave the competition I really was pleased to see Llanelli go through, they really are a spirited pack and deserve to go far.
Saints 9; Llanelli 18

Well that's it for the Heineken Cup until April and the quarter finals. The line up with their positions so far will be as follows:

Toulouse (1)v Edinburgh        (8)
Wasps    (2)v Gloucester       (7)
Munster (3)v Stade Francais (6)
Llanelli   (4)v Biarritz           (5)

May the best team win (Buzzzzzzzzz)!

Next week back to the Zurich Premiership - see you there!

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