European Rugby Champions Cup: Pool 1 Preview

rugby players engage intro a scrum

The European Rugby Champions Cup will get underway on the weekend of October the 12th. Darry Worthington takes a look at Pool 3 below.

Pool 1 of the European Champions Cup is certainly an interesting one with English sides Wasps and Bath featured alongside Irish giants and reigning champions Leinster as well as an unpredictable Toulouse outfit.

Pool 1 Teams

  • Leinster
  • Wasps
  • Bath
  • Toulouse

Key Fixtures

  • Friday 12 October
  • Leinster v Wasps
  • Saturday 12 January
  • Bath v Wasps

Players to Watch

  • Leinster - Johnny Sexton (Flyhalf)
  • Wasps - Lima Sopo'aga (Flyhalf)
  • Bath - Zach Mercer (Eightman)
  • Toulouse - Romain Ntamack (Flyhalf)

Pool Analysis

Defending champions Leinster head into this one as hot favourites to top Pool 1, and rightly so. The Irish Province is starting to build something of a dynasty with a number of talented youngsters coming through the ranks to combine with some formidable Irish internationals. They arguably have the deepest squad on paper, which will hold them in good stead as a few of their seasoned internationals will be forced to endure rest periods due to next year's World Cup.

Wasps may not have as deep a squad as Leinster but they certainly have a talented match day 23 which features the likes of Willie Le Roux and Lima Sopoaga. If these two flair players can develop a telepathic understanding, then the Wasps may just be able to top the pool. If one of them succumbs to injury, however, then Wasps may be looking at an early exit from the competition.

Wasps domestic rivals Bath will have a tough time of it this year as they are a side in the middle of a rebuilding phase as it is evident when you look at their start to the English Premiership season, where they have only won two of their opening six fixtures. They lack a bit of street smarts which could cost them big time against the other three teams.

Toulouse also find themselves in a bit of a rebuilding phase. The French club lost talismanic centre Gael Fickou to Stade Francais during the off season and are still struggling to replace the French international. They have enjoyed a relatively solid start to their Top 14 campaign, however, only losing two of their opening seven fixtures.

Verdict: Leinster
The defending champions had a bit of a poor start to their PRO14 campaign but have turned the corner and look like their old selves again. I can't see them having too many troubles topping this group.

The battle for second should be an interesting one, but my money is on Wasps coming out on top with Toulouse taking third. That leaves Bath to take the pool's dreaded wooden spoon accolade. 

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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