Lawrence Dallaglio, Amlin rugby ambassador, uses the new Amlin Opta Index player performance analysis to give his verdict on this weekend’s European clashes involving London clubs. The Index is the first ever player performance comparison analysis in rugby.
LEINSTER V SARACENS
(TOMORROW, HEINEKEN CUP)
Leinster will hope to dominate in the fly-half battle: their No10 Jonathan Sexton has accrued an impressive 492 Amlin Opta Index points with his kicking, and has also made the fifth most passes by any fly-half in the competition so far.
GLASGOW V WASPS
(SUNDAY, HEINEKEN CUP)
Dave Walder is Wasps’ top rated player and their top rated kicker. Only two backs in European rugby have notched up more Amlin Opta Index points this season than him, with his points total being boosted by his 74 per cent goal kicking accuracy rate.
LONDON IRISH V OSPREYS
(SUNDAY, HEINEKEN CUP)
Delon Armitage (716 points) is the top Exiles player in the Amlin Opta Index – he has made 35 carries, the second most at the club. Sailosi Tagicakibau has made the second most metres with the ball in hand in the Heineken Cup this season (301).
CAVALIERI PRATO V HARLEQUINS
(TOMO, AMLIN CHALLENGE CUP)
Tom Guest (880 points) is Harlequins’ top player based on the Amlin Opta Index, with more metres (181) and carries (36) than any of his team-mates, while Will Skinner is Quins’ leading tackler, with 31.
Saracens have nothing left to play for but pride, especially having lost to Leinster at Wembley. Sarries will say the departure of boss Brendan Venter doesn’t make any difference but undoubtedly it will have an impact. Leinster will be desperate to put themselves in touching distance of the next roundand will very hard to beat at home.
This is a must-win game for Wasps, who are in a two-way tussle to win Pool Six. Victory would set up a grandstand finish to the group and give them a great chance of winning it, or at least qualify as one of the best runners-up. Wasps won the reverse fixture but can’t underestimate Glasgow, whose Six Nations hopefuls will be keen to impress.
Irish are on a wretched run and, while I’m sure Toby Booth will turn it around soon, he could hardly have a harder next two games, with Ospreys and Munster two of the best in Europe. This pool is so tight, the Exiles aside, and Ospreys can’t afford to drop points if they are to finish top. Ospreys have looked good lately and I just don’t see an upset here.
Quins are flying and unbeaten in all competitions in six games, but are locked in a battle for top spot with Bayonne. I expect the Frenchmen to keep winning which means Quins must do too. They thrashed Cavalieri Prato at home and I expect them to rack up another comfortable win – the question is can they get a bonus point?