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Slings a Arrows of Outrageaius Fortune

Slings a Arrows of Outrageaius Fortune

It’s almost with a sense of dij` vu that Munster players and
supporters alike look to Saturday’s game in Thomond Park.
Never mind that the opposition is, on recent form, the best of
British if not in fact, the best of European club rugby. Forget that
Munster, after the embarrassment of Kingsholm just twelve months ago,
tied the game last week a try apiece. And forget about the two good
wins, and nine points from a possible ten so far. Because incredibly,
Munster are looking down the barrel of a gun after that defeat in
Kingsholm. And why ? Well loads of reasons, like Edinburgh
performing heroically in Pool 2, Mike Ruddock’s Dragons confounding
all predictions in Pool 1, Cardiff adopting Romanian club form in
Pool 3, the Celts performing like real Warriors in the Pool 6 game
against Gatland’s Wasps, Leinster throwing Sale a lifeline, Pool 3
again, and ………… Munster failing to gain a bonus in their
Pool 5 game with Gloucester. Oh and of course, Ulster, dumping first
Stade Francais and then Leicester Tigers in Pool 1 Ravenhill clashes.
See how it should have worked out was this. First the pools with the
Italian sides should have delivered the best runner-up which meant
Perpignan and London Wasps through from Pool 6: Gloucester and
Munster through from Pool 5; old reliables Llanelli – sorry Llanelli
Scarlets – from Pool 4; Leinster Lions winner all right in Pool 3;
Toulouse by a distance in Pool 2 and after a dogfight, moneybags
Stade Francais to edge out Leicester Tigers in Pool 1.
Grand job. Quarter final home draw for the holders Toulouse in number
one spot. Number two would be Leinster Lions who forgot they had to
play a semi-final before they’d be allowed win the final last year.
In third spot Stade (please God don’t give us Munster again) Francais
and in fourth Gloucester, rather than Perpignan, (the Chelsea of this
year’s competition).
Round one went to script, except in Rodney Parade where Ruddock’s
Dragons scorched Solomon’s White Knights and except in Scotland where
the Gunners totally lost the run of themselves and beat Brennan’s
boy’s, Toulouse. Elsewhere it was as you like it; Munster ground it
out in Bourgoin; Biarritz came to Dublin for the shopping and forgot
about the game against Leinster and in Paris an official shot
Leicester in the foot then handed the shotgun to a Leicester player
who shot off their other foot.
No huge surprises in Round Two. Guzziani’s Go Go Dancers went went
went in Ravenhill, but Ulster went much better. Leinster did a
Munster in Cardiff substituting grunt ‘n grit for fast ‘n fancy.
Anthony Foley maintained his position as Munster’s leading scorer
running in two against Treviso and in the re-enactment of,
“there’ll always be an Engoland” Leicester set the (rugby)
record right with a clear decision win over those Welsh upstarts from
Went, sorry Gwent.

And then in Round Three it all went sort
of, pear-shaped.
See this is what was choreographed.
Edinburgh v Leeds – Who cares
Llanelli Harlots – sorry
Scarlets. Llanelli versus an Aging side?
Sharks to the
slaughter in Dublin
Anything to happen in Kingsholm – but
mainly to Munster for the their miracle audacity
Paisley to
steal the headlines in Ravenhill and Ulster a point if they’re
And after that ?
Toulouse at home to three teams (Neath Swansea & The Ospreys ? ) –
cinq point pour l’equipe de Guy Noves et aussi a Biiarritz against
les Bleues d’Cardiff.
Northampton v The Who – Gimme Five for the Saints
Treviso v Bourgoin – Arravederci Treviso
and finally
Perpignanski at home to Calvisano – Yeh right.

Well, the rot started on Friday in Lansdowne Road –
yeh, yeh, we know – what an appropriate place etc etc – and all that
and continued unabated on Saturday when Treviso hammered the children
Bourgoin sent out to play; the Saints failed to gain a bonus against
the Borders and Munster failed likewise in Kingsholm
But it was the Sabbath when the cat was set amongst the pigeons with
three extraordinary results. Well two extraordinary results and one
almost incredible scoreline. Whether the Reverend Ian intended to put
a hex on or not, someone one did and they put it on the Leicester who
ran onto the Ravenhill pitch as Tigers and slinked off some eighty
odd minutes later cuffed and cowed, the journey pointless. Over in
Wales Ruddock’s Rodney Parade unbeaten record held up against Stade
Francais and in London Warren Gatland’s all-singing, all dancing
Wasps had the sting taken out of them by the Celtic Warriors.
So thanks to all that it means Munster and Leinster after impressive
starts are in danger of dropping out of contention while Ulster who
didn’t have the best of starts are smack bang back in contention.
It’s going to be a cracking weekend with full houses in Limerick,
Manchester and Welford Road as the Irish sides continue to win the
hearts and minds of the rugby public

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