Power Ranking Europe's Top 10 Rugby Clubs
Things are shaping up across the top flights in Europe's big leagues with seven rounds gone in France, three weeks under our belts in England and the RaboDirect PRO12.
Many of the big hitters flexed their muscles this weekend and there were performances from a couple of the lesser lights earning them a place in this week's power rankings.
10. Glasgow, Pro 12
Glasgow’s defeat of a Leinster side with a healthy sprinkling of their top talent suggests the Scots are capable of a sustained challenge this season as they made it three wins from three, thanks to Jerry Yanuyanutawa’s late try.
They would have been more comfortable were it not for three wayward kicks from three different kickers. Stuart Hogg was on target with one from two.
9. Exeter Chiefs, Premiership
With a kicking metronome like Gareth Steenson, Exeter will come out on top in more tight games than they’ll lose this season.
Nineteen points from Steenson and tried form Dean Mumm and Ben White helped them overturn two London Irish tries, as they reeled off 15 points without reply in the second half to win 29-23 at the Madejski.
8. Ospreys, Pro 12
Two tries in 11 second-half minutes from Lions hooker Richie Hibbard underlined the difference in forward power between the two sides as the Ospreys saw off Edinburgh 44-10.
Twelve points from Dan Biggar also saw him continue a decent start to the season with the boot.
7. Toulouse, Top 14
The European powerhouse flexed a bit of kiwi muscle to come within a point of top spot in the division.
Former All Black Luke McAlister hammered three penalties and scored a try in a 26-9 win over Castres.
With a squad sending as many as eight of its members to the national side this autumn, their smattering of southern hemisphere stars will be called upon to keep the home fires burning.
6. Harlequins, Premiership
Quins put in a domineering display against Worcester in a 37-13 win that put them level on points with third placed Northampton.
With all their England players firing, Quins are a handful for anyone and showed signs that a return to their 2012 title winning quality is a distinct possibility.
Joe Marler and Danny Care scored first half tries, fly half Nick Evans amassed 14 points and skipper Chris Robshaw was in fine form at the breakdown. Promising omens for the men from the Stoop.
5. Stade Francais, Top 14
A fifth win from seven kept the Parisians level on points with league leaders Toulon and proved Richard Pool-Jones’ side can grind it out when required.
Julien Dupuy kicked three penalties and was on target with a late conversion after Hugo Bonneval scored the only try of the game. Having scored far fewer tries than their top 4 rivals so far this campaign Dupuy’s accuracy could be a key factor in maintaining Stade’s title challenge.
4. Leicester, Premiership
On paper the Tigers looked far too strong for the newcomers to the top flight, and so it proved with a 31-6 demolition of the Newcastle Falcons.
It was uncomfortable viewing for Tigers legend Dean Richards as his Falcons side was blown away by tries from Jordan Crane, Graham Kitchener, Blaine Scully, Dan Bowden and Thomas Waldrom.
There was bad news in the form of a torn pectoral muscle sustained by Manu Tuilagi which will keep him out for a prolonged period, but with this much depth, Leicester will be there or thereabouts at the top come crunch time.
3. Toulon, Top 14
Toulon returned to top spot in the Top 14 with an 18-13 win over Bayonne after overturning a 6-0 deficit with tries from Josua Tuisova and David Smith, with two penalties coming from the boot of Jonny Wilkinson.
Losing two players to the sin bin in Michael Claassens and Ali Williams wasn’t even enough to let Bayonne back in, which could prove ominous for Toulon’s fellow title contenders this year.
2. Montpellier, Top 14
Statement of the weekend certainly went to the men from the Languedoc with a 43-3 hammering of a Clermont side high on five straight wins.
A whopping 33 points from scrum-half Jonathan Pelissie confirmed his fine current form and boosted his hopes of a place in the French autumn squad.
Having already accounted for Toulouse with a 25-0 win this term and held leaders Toulon to a 25-25 draw, Montpellier could prove a real contender to top their Heineken Cup group containing Ulster and Leicester.
1. Saracens, Premiership
Saracens maintained their 100 percent record in the Premiership with a resounding win at home to Bath, scoring all 31 of their points in the first half for a five-point haul that ended Bath’s winning start to the campaign.
David Strettle, currently languishing in the Saxons squad, provided a timely reminder to watching England coach Stuart Lancaster with a brace of tries.