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European Statistics Review: Boy George and Larmour Chameleon

European Statistics Review: Boy George and Larmour Chameleon

European rugby put on a memorable final round of action before heading into hibernation for the festive period, with plenty of sides delivering early Christmas presents in both the Champions and Challenge Cups.

European rugby put on a memorable final round of action before heading into hibernation for the festive period, with plenty of sides delivering early Christmas presents in both the Champions and Challenge Cups.

In the former, Leinster kept pace with Toulouse in a mouth-watering pool, while Saracens also maintained their impressive unbeaten record and in the Challenge Cup Zebre continued their tilt for the knockouts with a sizeable win. 

With the Guinness Six Nations now less than 50 days away, international stars are beginning to gear up for its return. 

Scotland’s young upstarts coming of age

It’s been an impressive season for Glasgow Warriors so far: top of their conference in the Guinness PRO14 and keeping touch with Saracens in their Champions Cup pool, the Scottish side ground out yet another win when they beat Lyon 21-10 at Scotstoun. 

Even more pleasing for Warriors – and Scotland – fans, however, is the emergence of Adam Hastings, coupled with the consistency of the splendid Jonny Gray. 

This weekend, once more, the pair stepped up and made the difference in what were dire conditions in Glasgow, Hastings gaining 114m on 10 carries and kicking nine points, with Gray making a massive 22 tackles – seven more than anyone else on the pitch. 

Scotland fans will be licking their lips as Gregor Townsend’s men prepare to build on an impressive third-place showing earlier this year when the Guinness Six Nations gets underway once more. 

Larmour stakes his claim 

After three substitute appearances in Ireland’s Grand Slam win earlier this year, Jordan Larmour is doing everything he can to put himself in the reckoning for a starting berth when February comes  around. 

The 21-year-old is enjoying a remarkable season with club and country, starring across the board in the Guinness PRO14, Champions Cup and Autumn Internationals, with this weekend’s performance no different. 

Larmour made 90m on 11 carries – more than double that of anyone else on the field, and grabbed himself a well-earned assist to-boot as Leinster downed Bath 42-15 at the Aviva Stadium. 

The youngster will certainly be hoping that he gets to pull on the famous green jersey at that very same venue in just a few weeks time. 

George the constant

It’s been all-change for England in the front-row department since the retirement of Joe Marler earlier this year.

Eddie Jones has experimented with a rotation of props to replace him and Dan Cole, with Kyle Sinckler, Alec Hepburn, Harry Williams and Ben Moon all trialled in the November Tests. 

How grateful he will be, then, for the ever-present figure of Jamie George in the number two jersey. 

The Saracens man was once again at his tenacious best as his side overcame the Cardiff Blues in their Champions Cup match.

A total of 12 tackles, as well as a vital late try, will have England fans purring.

The French connection

Top of the Champions Cup’s Pool 1 ahead of reigning champions Leinster and playing some wonderful rugby, Toulouse’s backs are giving French supporters the chance to dream. 

A pair of tries for Antoine Dupont and 66m made on 12 carries, plus another for the unstoppable Yoann Huget set the tone in their 42-27 win over Wasps. 

Cudos as well must go to Thomas Ramos – the full-back kicking 17-points and making 107m on 14 carries; many will be calling for his promotion to the senior ranks when Jacques Brunel names his squad.

A Canna-do attitude

Over in the Challenge Cup Zebre are flying under the radar, with three wins on the spin putting them just a point off La Rochelle at the top of Pool 4. 

With several of Conor O’Shea’s stars in their ranks, the side from Parma racked up a nine-try thumping of Russian side Enisei-STM.

Two scores from Carlo Canna – making him the top-scorer in the competition with 54 – as well as 174m made on 12 carries and 16 tackles by Renato Giammarioli shows signs that they are hitting form just at the right time.