With the Rainbow Cup competition, now less than three weeks away, South Africa’s franchise coaches would have watched the weekend’s Round of 16 in the European Rugby Championship with great interest.
And they’ll not be deceived by the big scores and elimination from the competition of their soon-to-be adversaries. They will also not be misled by the defeats of three of the four in the Round of 16 in a competition of Europe’s best 24 teams. (Leinster had a walk-over again Toulon.)
Only four the eight sides from the PRO14 competition had progressed to the last 16 of the European Cup this weekend, with eight each from the England’s Premiership and France’s PRO14 also contesting what is probably the world’s top club competition.
The past weekend’s Round of 16 had seven French sides, five from England and four from the PRO14 vying for the last eight places.
Only one of the four PRO14 sides survived the Round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinals. Ironically that was the top Irish and PRO14 side Leinster that progressed through the withdrawal of Toulon hours before their match due a player who tested positive to Covid.
- Munster, losing PRO14 finalists, conceded two tries at the end after looking good for a win against Toulouse and were eliminated at home, 40-33
- Edinburgh were eliminated from the eight-team quarterfinals by Racing 92 with hardly a Scottish whimper. Racing won 56-3.
- In the other match played by a PRO14 side on the weekend, the Premiership’s Sales Sharks trounced the Scarlets from Llanelli 57-14.
The draw for the quarterfinals this weekend (all SA times, home teams first) –
16:00 La Rochelle vs Sale
18:30 Exeter vs Leinster
13:30 Bordeaux vs Racing 02
16:00 Clermont vs Toulouse
The past weekend’s results (home teams first) –
Gloucester 16 La Rochelle 27, Wasps 25 Clermont 27, Munster 33 Toulouse 40, Exeter 47 Lyon 25, Racing 92 56 Edinburg 3, Bordeaux 36 Bristol 17, Scarlets 14 Sale 57, Leinster W/O against Toulon.