Wasps vs Castres Olympique

Today marks Wasps' first Heineken Cup game of the season. They are at home to the French club, Castres Olympique. Both Wasps and Castres Olympique have had a bad start to the season.

Wasps have played in two competitions. They played Gloucester (away) in the Anglo Welsh competition and lost. In the Guinness Premiership, Wasps have only had one victory. Satisfyingly, that was away at Leicester.

In their respective leagues, Wasps are currently 10th (from 12). Castres Olympique are 13th from 14.

So, from Wasps point of view, this looks like a good match to start with - the teams are on similar form, and the French sides traditionally view the H-cup (as they call it) with less importance than their domestic competition. Josh Lewsey and Danny Cipriani had a spat on the training field this week, which was much publicised - as a result I'm hoping that these two especially will want to show that things are, not 'business as usual', but back to the form of previous seasons.

The team will want to produce a good performance on the field, not just because the club sees the Heineken Cup as an important competition, but to raise morale prior to the return of the premiership.

I for one will be shouting myself hoarse! Edinburgh and Leinster are also in Pool 2. Edinburgh lost to Leinster 16-27 on friday. Next week, Wasps are away to Leinster. That'll be a tough match for Wasps...

Leinster are currently 4th from 10 in the Magners League. Edinburgh are 9th.

Rugby Competition Primer

  • The Guinness Premiership is the top division in England, the bottom team of the premiership is relegated (assuming that the top team in National Division One is eligible for promotion).
  • The Magners League contains Welsh, Scottish and Irish teams. There is no relegation - which I think is a bad thing in the long term as there is no jeopardy.
  • The Anglo Welsh competition is a cup competition. There are pools, and every team plays the other teams in the pools once. As a result, some teams will play more home games and as such get an advantage. The winners of the pools enter a knockout competition.
  • Heineken Cup is the European competition. As well as the Home Nations of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, it includes teams from France and Italy. Currently there are six pools. The top teams in each pool plus the two best second place teams go through to a knockout competition. Personally, I think this structure is rather poor - an average second team in an 'easy group' might go through in preference due to a very good team being in a 'group of death'. That said, it's also the fan's favourite (although the premiership is more important - get relegated or do badly and the other competitions start to go away...)

Update: As of 10:40am. Wasps are the 1/12 favourite. Castres are quoted as 13/2 against. A draw is listed as 25/1.