European rivalries resume to a fanfare
Gone are the sun-dappled days of summer, replaced by the first chills of autumn, an annual indicator that the rugby season is up and running. For the players, early season L-plates should be cast off and club’s new coaches, game plans and signings must be bedded in.
october means the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup take centre stage and this year Saracens, so imperious last time, will look to go back-to-back in edinburgh in may, as alex Goode eloquently explains on P34. We also take flight to european aristocrats Toulouse (P48) to see if they can relight their european fires after a few seasons of underachievement.
Last year not a single Celtic team reached the knockout stages of the Champions Cup and I hope this is a blip rather than the trend towards a French-english duopoly, which would lessen the competition’s allure as a bona fide pan-european competition.
one chipper duo who think they have more than a puncher’s chance is Jonathan and James Davies (P54), while the Irish, for so long the Celtic flagbearers, may be championed by Ulster, who have the squad depth (P66) to match any on the continent. Glasgow have revitalised olympic silver medallist mark bennett (P44) to add to their firepower.
Whatever transpires, we will be with you for every step. enjoy the issue!
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01252 555271 Twitter @owainjtjones