England’s Retreat From Europe…

25 01 2010

Worrying times for England rugby after the weekends Heineken Cup results. England have only 1 semi finalist in the quarter finals of the Heineken Cup; Northampton slipping into the reckoning due to London Irish’s inability to finish Leinster off.

It is fitting that the only side to qualify are one of the few young and dynamic sides in the Guinness Premiership. Young guns such as Geraghty, Ashton and Lawes all have the ability to be future England stars and the Heineken Cup will provide them with exactly the development that they need. It does not come much harder than an away quarter final to Munster although due to a freak of qualifying they have only just lost to Munster on Friday so they will know what is required.

Munster by beating Northampton 2 days ago ensure that they qualify for the 12th straight year. Truly a proud record and one that traditional European heavyweights like Leicester or Toulouse would envy.

Despite Munster’s record and the obvious threats from France, we are going for Leinster to retain their crown. There back line is probably one of the best in the world and given enough ball from the forwards will cut anyone open with regularity.

With 4 French teams, 2 Irish, 1 Welsh and 1 English, this pretty accurately reflects the current concentration of talent in the northern hemisphere. Using this as a guideline it should make France favourites for the 6 Nations. We have already gone for Ireland earlier in the blog and we’re sticking with it – but don’t be surprised if its France’s year.

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