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Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Tuesday, 12 April 2011 16:47 UK

Jeremy Guscott Q&A

Jeremy Guscott
BBC pundit Guscott is on hand to tackle your queries throughout the season

Former Bath, England and Lions centre Jeremy Guscott is here to answer your questions after a busy weekend of European and Premiership action.

Among the topics Jerry discusses this week are:

- Mark Cueto's nine-week ban for making contact with the eye area of an opponent

- Leicester's Heineken Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Leinster

- Leinster and Northampton's prospects against French opposition in the semi-finals

- The standard of rugby in the Aviva Premiership

- Who Bath should sign as a replacement for fly-half Butch James

If you have any questions for Jerry, please use the postform on this page. He will answer as many as possible next week, but unfortunately not every question submitted can be used. This week's answers appear below.


Jeremy, do you feel disappointed with Mark Cueto regarding his actions? Do you feel this is irresponsible from one of England's senior backs, especially in terms of the negative effects it could have on the side's World Cup preparations?
Felix, UK

Hi Felix, Cueto certainly hasn't done himself any favours and the nine-week ban is pretty lenient considering the top end could have been 18 weeks. His actions were certainly uncharacteristic and I'm pretty sure he won't do anything like this again.

Jeremy, who looks the complete package to lift the Heineken Cup?
Stephen McGovern, Ireland

Leinster fans
Leinster fans roared their team to a narrow victory over Leicester

Hi Stephen, I said last week Leinster have the complete package and if they continue to play as they are, then they will be very difficult to beat. It helps to have so much international experience and a lot of players who have won the Heineken Cup already.

Do you think Leinster should have won by more than seven points against Leicester, and how do you think they will do against Toulouse?
Fionn, Ireland

Hi Fionn, yes Leinster could have and should probably have won by more but Leicester are a battling team and good players do make mistakes. For Leinster it was all about winning and they did, so they will be happy to be in the next round.

Toulouse at their best are a match for any team in the world but so are Leinster. Traditionally, the French don't travel well but this is a semi-final so I expect Toulouse to be all-singing, all-dancing, but I feel Leinster will win at the Aviva.

Jeremy, do you think Northampton are potential contenders for the Heineken Cup?
Nick Powell, England

Hi Nick, Saints have a great chance of winning the Cup and are definitely contenders. It is all about blocking out past memories of big defeats in important one-off games. For Saints, it will be about their big-name forwards fronting up against the Perpignan mob. I expect Saints to do the business again.

What are your thoughts on the standards of the Aviva Premiership? Having watched a lot of rugby all over the world in the last few years, I think the Premiership is the worst in terms of creativity. Teams have big, lumbering centres, solid out-halfs, big slow packs that are solid but unspectacular and teams filled with journeymen. Do you think this has leaked into the England side, who struggle to break teams down without a moment of genius from Ben Youngs, Chris Ashton or Ben Foden?
Dave Byrne, Ireland

Chris Ashton
Chris Ashton is part of a new breed of talented young English players

Hi Dave, the Premiership is what it is - a hard-fought league which is all about winning any way, generally through hard forward play.

I respect the league because it has a winner and more importantly relegation which means we have meaningful games all the way through the season. Yes it is not the most attractive to watch at some stages in the season but it is more competitive than the rest.

England have had average players from 2004 to 2009 but now with the likes of Foden, Ashton, Courtney Lawes, Youngs, Tom Wood, Dan Cole, Dylan Hartley and Toby Flood, they are beginning to look like a side that could do some real damage in a couple more years.

I don't think the standard of the Aviva Premiership is what affects England - it is the amount of non-qualifying players that play in it.

Do you think Harlequins are heading towards challenging for the Premiership? The likes of Rory Clegg, Jordan Turner-Hall, George Lowe, Gonzalo Camacho and Joe Marler are promising talent and Quins have experience throughout the team, especially with Conor O'Shea at the helm.
Adam Tillsley, England

Hi Adam, Quins have had a very inconsistent season and until they can put a long run of victories together they won't challenge for the title. Yes, the potential is there but, like a number of teams outside the top four, they need to strengthen their squad.

Jerry, when you look at the ever-increasing trend of 'foreigners' playing in the UK, France and Japan, can you see a day down the track when there will be no nationality/residency rules to play for any country?
Bruce, France

Hi Bruce, my opinion is that this is very unlikely to happen. Personally I'm not a fan of the residency rule. Although it has helped a lot of national teams out, it has been to the detriment of players who don't need the residency rule.

Dan Carter
All Black fly-half Dan Carter would look good in a Bath shirt

Jerry, do players work on their try-scoring skills? Alesana Tuilagi should have scored against Leinster but didn't because in the dive he lifted the ball above his arms - and in so doing had to ground the ball from four feet instead of two inches. Nick Easter did the same for Harlequins against Leicester last week. Would Martin Johnson's squad benefit from the likes of yourself, Rory Underwood and Jason Robinson running some finishing master classes ahead of the World Cup?
Michael, England

Hi Michael, to be fair these guys do not need lessons in finishing off opportunities. They know what they have done wrong, they have made the wrong decisions and believe me they hurt when they know they have messed up.

As Butch James is leaving Bath, who do you think will be the most likely replacement and who do you think Bath should sign?
Conrad Cronin-Webb, England

Hi Conrad, it would be amazing to think Bath could get a real class international 10 to replace Butch but it is unlikely given the salary cap. I remember Sam Vesty playing for Tigers a couple of seasons ago and doing a very good job. If he can recapture that kind of form, Bath will be OK until Ollie Barkley is fit again.

They will have to replace Butch but I'm unsure of the quality they will replace him with. Dan Carter would be amazing - or someone near that level.

You can follow Jerry on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/JeremyGuscott



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see also
Cueto handed nine-week ban by RFU
11 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Northampton 23-13 Ulster
11 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Biarritz 20-27 Toulouse
11 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Leinster 17-10 Leicester
09 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Perpignan 29-25 Toulon
09 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union
Newcastle 29-30 Leeds
09 Apr 11 |  Rugby Union


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