Nov 03, 2015
Champions Cup Preview
On the eve of the Champions Cup launch event at the Twickenham Stoop, we take a look at Saracens’ Pool 1 opponents Ulster, Toulouse and Oyonnax.
Here we take a look at how the three sides have fared in their respective domestic competitions so far in the 2015/16 season.
Toulouse enter the 2015/16 season with a new coaching set up after veteran coach Guy Noves has left to fill the boots of Philippe Saint-Andre with Les Blues.
Club legend Fabian Pelous has taken the position as their Sporting Director and Ugo Mola has the reigns as Head Coach. Toulouse have started their new term with four wins in six matches and will be going in search of their fifth victory against Montpellier this afternoon.
A man that is well known by all in the Aviva Premiership, Toby Flood, has fully settled into French life and has enjoyed a fine start to his second season at the four-time European Champions.
Key Men – Toby Flood, Maxime Médard & Imanol Harinordoquy
2014/15 European Champions Cup – Group Stages Only (Second in Pool 4)
Domestic Results To Date – W, W, W, L, W, L
Domestic Table Position – 4th in Top14 heading into Round 7
Saracens face Toulouse at Allianz Park in Saturday October 14th, kick-off 17h30 –Buy tickets here
Last year Oyonnax were part of the Challenge Cup however a sixth place finish in the Top 14 secured them promotion to European’s top flight.
The Rhône-Alpes side enjoyed a strong end to last season pushing Toulouse all the way in their quarter-final fixture however so far the results this term haven’t gone their way. They have frustrated some sides however have also been beaten comfortably by others, including a Round 5 61-3 thrashing by Toulon.
That said the Stade Charles-Mathon based team will be welcoming back a few key men from Rugby World Cup duties with Soane Tonga’uiha set to make an impact in the front row and the electric Fetu’u Vainikolo in the backs.
Key Men – Nicky Robinson, Eamonn Sheridan & Fetu’u Vainikolo
2014/15 European Challenge Cup – Group Stages Only (Second in Pool 5)
Domestic Results To Date – L, W, L, L, L, L
Domestic Table Position – 13th in Top14 heading into Round 7
Saracens face Oyonnax at Allianz Park on Saturday December 19th, kick-off 13h00 –Buy tickets here.
At home Ulster have started the 2015/16 season with purpose winning three from three however on the road they have struggled.
Leading into the opening European rounds the current concern for the Irish province is their injury list for it includes Tommy Bowe, Jared Payne and Iain Henderson. That said they will be boosted by the return of Paddy Jackson, Chris Henry and Rory Best and they have a number of players in their ranks with points to prove after narrowly missing out on Rugby World Cup selection.
Key Men – Rory Best, Ruan Pienaar, Andrew Trimble & Craig Gilroy
2014/15 European Champions Cup – Group Stages Only (Third in Pool 3)
Domestic Results To Date – W, L, W, L, W
Domestic Table Position – 5th in Pro12 heading into Round 6
Saracens face Oyonnax on the weekend of January 16th/17th – dates and kick-off times to confirmed. Info here.