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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Will anyone topple the Tigers?
The latest Heineken Cup action sees Gloucester rack up their highest-ever European total, thrashing Italian side Viadana 28-80.
Will a different name be on the Cup next May?
This debate is now closed.
Gloucester opened their Heineken Cup campaign with a thumping 35-16 victory over Munster at Kingsolm.
And they continued their winning run in style on Friday night, beating a hapless Viadana side 28-80 - the Tigers' highest-ever score in Europe.
Elsewhere, Newport suffered their eigth consecutive defeat, going down 19-34 to Toulouse, Ulster beat Cardiff 25-6, and Glasgow defeated the Sale Sharks 26-14.
Leicester trounced Calvisano 63-0, Munster narrowly beat Perpignan 30-21, Bristol pulled off a shock 24-19 win against Montferrand, Biarritz beat Northampton 23-20 and Bourgoin defeated Llanelli 54-38.
Will anyone topple the Tigers? Who are you tipping for Heineken Cup glory?
It promises to be an interesting series of clashes when Leicester and Gloucester meet this season. I suspect Gloucester will remember their failure at Bath this season, and won't let the Tigers have it all their own way.
Leicester are just not there at present. I strongly backed Gloucester for the Heineken Cup but have changed my mind in favour of Leinster, they have suddenly recovered their form when they most needed to. Their victory at Swansea was breathtaking!
This is Leinster's year - they have an awesome squad and produce better rugby than any other team in the tournament on a regular basis. It will probably come down to them and Leicester, but I would back Leinster this time.
Don't write Leicester off so early, a draw against Neath was a very good result despite what everyone said. The way they played against Calvisano was immense - even with over half their regular pack missing.
It will be close this year - even closer than before, but Tigers are still capable of doing it again. Gloucester may be good at attacking but how many tries did they concede against the Italians? (PS How on earth has Henry Paul got into the Acadamy squad???)
NEVER write them off. Leicester are just starting to see some of their injured players returning to fitness.
After their first away game draw against Neath last weekend, I felt that they are now starting to show their true potential, and with the return to fitness of players such as Geordan Murphy, and Leon Lloyd, as the competition now progresses into its second weekend, they will become more confident.
The Heineken Cup has the knack of bringing out the best in all of the teams that take part, and after the results of last weekend and last night, I think we can already see some of the quarter-finalists.
Gloucester in pool 2 look formidable with two wins out of two, and Toulouse (pool 5) looked Championship contenders after last night's game at Newport.
Pool 6 contenders look like Northampton with their convincing win against Ulster. Montferrand seem to be the class of pool 4, with pool 3 contenders looking like Bourgoin after their victory against Sale Sharks last night.
That leaves us with pool 2, a close call but I think Leicester will come through as pool winners. Will Leicester Tigers be European champions for the third time? I would love to say yes, but I honestly feel that this year will see the mighty Glaws crowned as European Champions - but don't write off twice European Champions Leicester Tigers.
Here we go again. Predicting the results after a few games have been played. What's wrong with everyone. Why start speculating about the future? Let's enjoy the present and take every game as it comes.
I hate this trend of living on future speculation. As a game is 80 minutes and no one can predict the result from the way the ball is gathered at the first kick off, let's start to be measured and adult and enjoy every minute of the present. We spend too much time living in the future.
Northampton Saints will win it this year. No question.
I don't mean to be biased in any way, but I honestly do think that this will be Llanelli's year as far as Europe is concerned. Yes, the Celtic League hasn't been very fruitful for the Scarlets, but as Eddie Butler has pointed out numerous times, Llanelli always target the European Cup.
It really brings the best out of players like Martyn Madden, Dwayne Peel and co, and after heartache three years running, this 'rot' must stop, and personally this year it will. They ooze class in every department and their in-depth strength has vastly improved.
Players like Garan Evans has recently changed position to full-back and has shown his true value with some outstanding perfomances. The hard hitting Tongan, Salesi Finau and sprint merchant Mark Jones on the wings and the mercurial captain Leigh Davies with lightning fast Matthew J Watkins in the centre.
International half backs - Messers Jones and Peel have since shown that they are most capable for club and country. Martyn Madden has last season's European legacy to complete. With the experience of Robin McBryde and the immense strength and mobility of new prop Iestyn Thomas, surely a front row to keep an eye on.
Chris Wyatt is one of the most talented players in the World today and Vernon Cooper's international call-up isn't far away. With numerous back-row options available to Gareth Jenkins - players from Scott Quinnell, Simon Easterby, Dafydd Jones, David Hodges, Jamie Cudmore and Ian Boobyer - success must be on the cards for the most famous Welsh club in Welsh rugby history.
The hopes for Gloucester this season in the Heineken Cup are high, and last weekend's result against a not shabby Munster has only boosted confidence in local supporters, who strongly believe that this is their best chance yet to put themselves at the top of a very impressive pile.
I think that Gloucester, Leicester or Llanelli must be favourites, with Leinster and Toulouse not far behind. Never write Leicester off though, they've rarely played well in the previous two seasons and have still come away with two Premiership titles and two European Cup wins.
I don't believe the Tigers will become champions three times in row. They didn't show the clinical finishing that they did in the past against Neath last week. I think either Llanelli or Leinster will be the team lifting the trophy.
Leicester, if they are to win anything this year, will have to show durability and the true class that they undoubtedly posses as a team.This includes Deano, whom I feel has some difficult decisions ahead of him this season if they are to reach top gear again.
Some of the senior players are not performing. My tip this year is red shirts to win: Gloucester or Munster.
As much as I would love to see 'our wee Ulster' lift the trophy again, I think it would be great for rugby in these isles if a Scotch or Welsh team won it. Yes, I know the ZP sets the standards, but interest in the game needs to be shared out more.
Don't count your chickens Gloucester, you still have to visit Thomond Park and I can see this supposedly great English outfit getting a good hiding.
It's Leinster all the way this year. We've potentially the best back line in the competition...
Leicester have never been the best team in Europe. Llanelli have been the best team in Europe for the last two years, it's only because of a spell of bad luck that they have not lifted the Heineken Cup.
Llanelli are the only Welsh team that have any chance of going through to the next round. Gloucester have a strong chance of winning. Scottish teams have no chance of winning.
I don't think they'll win it but Edinburgh will surprise some people this year.
They have a lot of very good players now that they did not have in previous years. Scott Murray is back in Scotland and Todd Blackadder has been immense.
Llanelli or Gloucester are my favourites! The Scarlets really want it.
Leicester have had their day, I think Gloucester are the main contenders.
Yes, Gloucester have the in-depth strength to break through this year.
The Tigers will be tamed!
It's all very well people tipping Gloucester and other teams. The fact is that to win a couple of league games is fine. To win in Europe is another thing, the Tigers took their time to crack Europe and eventually they won the greatest prize of all. To win it twice in a row was amazing.
They are the only English side capable of winning it, simply because they know how to. 16-16 at Neath is not a bad result, and judging by the second half performance, they are starting to look ominous again. As for Neath, second half they resorted to kicking at Tim Stimpson and defending desperately. Not good enough!!
Well done Glaws! The supposedly supreme Munster outclassed. Are the rest of you taking note?
Nobody's going to beat Gloucester in my opinion - they are above Leicester at the moment. Llanelli have a real chance to run them closest. We can forget Cardiff after their abysmal performance against Biarritz!
After seeing Biarritz totally outclass an on form Cardiff team (who had previously won four matches in a row) I believe they will be very hard to stop this season - anyone who wins a European match at the Arms Park is a dangerous team - watch out Leicester.
Tigers might do it but as we saw yesterday in the Gloucester/Munster game the inadequacies of refereeing at this level will have a huge say in the final outcome. It was perfectly obvious that the referee was not up to the job. This is becoming more and more the case.
Will a new name be engraved on the cup come the end of the season? The answer is 'yes' and that name will be Gloucester! We have made a wonderful start to the league season and yesterday we demolished a side that are little short of international standard.
I'm off to Italy Thursday night for our next encounter and I am confident that I won't be disappointed. I'm looking forward to seeing the Cherry and Whites win at Lansdowne Road and lift the Heineken Cup for the first time next year.
If any team deserves the title, it has to be Llanelli. Though I'm not particularly a Scarlets fan, they have been so cruelly knocked out of the tournament in the past that I wish them some good luck this year. They are capable, they have simply been unlucky.
Gloucester got to the semis two years ago and with a stronger squad this year they have every chance of going all the way. All they need is to be resilient and consistent.
Leicester will be shunted all over the park tonight by the Neath pack, and don't have a hope! They will qualify from the group, but a French team will win this year, guaranteed. Montferrand and Toulouse are too strong for anyone else to consider winning.
Although Ulster started the season badly, and have a tough group, their recent from proves that they are serious and could go all the way!
The Tigers are still the best club side in the world, and the best this country has ever produced.
There is a lot of talk of Leicester being weak this season compared to last year. I believe they will prove everyone wrong. With Johnson, Healey and Back at their peak and younger players like Ollie Smith and Lewis Moody better than ever I can see a repeat of last year and a treble Heineken Cup triumph.
Rob Henderson the key to Munster winning the cup? Are you mad? He is rubbish - the reason we lost the final last year.
The Tigers will lose out this time, and think the most likely challengers are either Gloucester or Castres. I'd like to think Bath will be back in the competition next season as the Australian management team have brought a much tougher edge. Unfortunately they are still woefully underpowered up front, and their idea that Barnes or Emms are quality looseheads is laughable.
Cardiff can go all the way this year. After years of underachieving, they have put four wins on the trot together and will conquer the Tigers!
I too can't see Leicester retaining the title again - other sides seem to have actually caught up with them this year, certainly on their travels. I really think this is Munster's year; Jim Williams is an awesome leader, although Toulouse look good, and if Leinster's pack can get going and release their awesome back line, then they could be the top Irish province instead.
The way Leicester are playing at the moment, they don't look like retaining their European title. But the Cup won't be won in the group stages, it can only be lost. Current form is only a guide as to who will progress from the group stage.
It's who is the form team come next spring that will decide the fate. If Glos are scoring tries for fun at the time, and if they maintain their form, they will be England's best bet. The final being in Dublin provides a great incentive for the Irish sides, and it would be nice to see one of them at Lansdowne Road - to face the Cherry-and-Whites?
What a cup this is going to be. Great teams in great form. I don't think Leicester have the edge anymore and will not beat Neath Friday. My money is on The Glaws to do it.
They have the power in the pack to match Munster and fearsome pace and power out wide with the likes of young Marcel Garvey. Although I must admit I would be just as happy for the Munster men to win after they were robbed last year.
The way the season has gone so far it is quite unlikely!
Cardiff are going to win this year. Dai Young is doing a great job at the club.
I don't think that Leicester will win it this year. It would be poetic for Munster to with the final being in Ireland and them being so close in the last three years,
Only one word: "Munster". Even without "The Claw" they have too much class. I don't think Leicester will retain the title. Come on the Boys in Red
I don't think Leicester can retain the title. Many of their players are no longer spring chickens and they don't seem to have the same confidence and ability to win (against 14 man Bristol for example). I think Gloucester could be the team this year. They have strong players in all positions, and are unbeatable at home and in good form away.
The Tigers will not win it this year, and I honestly don't see them winning the title either. Some very good teams in the league will give them a run for their money - I just wish I could say Newcastle was one of them! We can dream.
As an avid Tigers fan it pains me to say that it may just not be our season. The league is already slipping away, and Europe is looking an extremely tough prospect this season.
I still believe that Leicester carry England's best chances in Europe, as the continental teams do not seem able to deal with our pace and power out wide. However, I would probably back Munster or Neath for glory this season. Munster deserve to claim European glory given past performances and Neath are looking red-hot. It should be the best competition yet, I can't wait! Come on the Tigers!
This is Gloucester's year. They are in their best form for some time, and I can't see any other team getting in their way. Come on the Glos!
Leicester are still the team to beat in Europe and will certainly get to the knockout stages if not the final, but my money is on Gloucester or even dark horses Sale. They are an unknown quantity to the seasoned European Cup teams and could cause a few surprises.
I think the Heiny this year will be the best and most open yet. There are a serious number of contenders this season, and the Tigers haven't been a league above anyone else, which makes it more mouth watering.
Leicester will not be the same force this season, and I can see Llanelli taking the title this year. They've lost out three times now because of dodgy refereeing decisions and a fluky drop-Kick deflecting off someone's back and over. Leicester will lose to Neath on Friday.
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