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Our European Rugby Champions Cup Power Rankings - Week 2

Our European Rugby Champions Cup Power Rankings - Week 2
By Conor O'Leary

It was an exciting weekend in the European Rugby Champions Cup, featuring results that surprised the continent, while others look like they could already shape the book.  With that in mind, we're revealing our updated power rankings, with thanks to Heineken, following last week's games, and looking ahead to the next week of games.

1. Toulon (Last Week's position 1 - no change)

Week 1: W v Scarlets 28-18 at home.

The Toulon machine keeps rolling on, and as the pre-tournament favourites looked threatening against Scarlets before easing off the gas and ultimately missing out on the bonus point. No team has looked better than Toulon, so they remain no.1.

Week 2: A v Ulster, Saturday 1pm

2. Leinster (5 - Up 3)

Week 1: W v Wasps 25-20 at home.

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Leinster overcame a poor start against Wasps to record what ended up being a comfortable win. Their demeanour after going down exuded calmness, and there was a sense of inevitability about their comeback. Their group looks the easiest on paper, so they look a good bet for progressing to the knockout stages.

Week 2: A v Castres, Sunday 1pm.

3. Saracens (4 - Up 1)

Week 1: W v Clermont 20-23 at home.

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Saracens were impressive in putting four tries past Clermont at Allainz Park last Saturday. David Strettle looks in fine form, and will be motivated after being snubbed for the English squad announced this week.

Week 2: A v Munster, Friday 7:45pm.

4. Clermont (3 - Down 1)

Week1: L v Saracens 23-30 away.

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Clermont will feel disappointed after their first loss in seven games, but will be encouraged by Zac Guildford's first two tries in European competition. It's no shame in acquiring a losing bonus point against a competition favourite away from home, and we will see more from this Clermont side in the coming weeks.

Week 2:  H v Sale, Sunday 3.15pm

5. Leicester (12 - Up 7)

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Week 1: W v Ulster 25-18 at home.

Leicester were extremely impressive in denying a good Ulster side any momentum in the first half of their Saturday. Ben Youngs had a very good game, and knowing Leicester, they will be a force throughout the competition.

Week 2: A v Scarlets, Saturday 7:45pm

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6. Ulster (8 - Up 2)

Week 1: L v Leicester 18-25 away.

Some poor decisions, and clinical Leicester play cost Ulster a win last weekend. They did however manage to scramble out of Welford Road with a losing bonus point, and will be a tough match for the giants of Toulon this coming week. Ulster looked hugely improved when Stuart Olding came on and the backline looked more threatening after this reshuffle.

Week 2: H v Toulon, Saturday 1pm.

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7. Glasgow (14 - Up 7)

Week 1: W v Bath, 37-10 at home.

Glasgow took their impressive Pro 12 form into the first week of the Champions Cup and took apart a Bath side who resembled a rabbit caught in headlights. Glasgow were ruthless,  with former Clermont centre Mark Bennett cutting through the Bath defense several times. Glasgow put down a marker in an open pool, and will be one to watch.

Week 2: A v Montpeiller, Saturday 5:15pm.

8. Racing ( 7 - Down 1)

Week 1: W v Northampton at home.

Racing have historically not performed well in Europe. Their squad is one of the strongest on paper, and with a win on the opening weekend, this might signal better things to come from the Parisian club. Away to Treviso will signal their intentions for the rest of the competition.

Week 2: A v Treviso, Sunday 5.15pm.

9. Harlequins  (13 - Up 4)

Week 1: W v Castres 25-9 at home.

Conor O'Shea's Harlequins never looked in any discomfort on Friday night, clinically dispatching a Castres team in woeful form thanks to Danny Care's fantastic try. They will face tougher challenges ahead starting this weekend at Wasps, which still counts as a London derby for the time being.

Week 2: A v Wasps, Sunday 5.15pm

10. Toulouse  (6 - Down 4)

Week 1: W v Montpeiller, 30-23 at home

The declining giants Toulouse beat their French counterparts Montpeiller at the weekend, thanks largely to Yoann Huget's magic, and a calm head from replacement Toby Flood. It was their third win in a row after five straight losses, and pressure will be on Guy Noves to ensure his era isn't coming to an end.

Week 2: A v Bath, Saturday 3.15pm

11. Munster (9 - Down 2)

Week 1: W v Sale, 27-26 away.

Munster recovered from an unsightly first half display against a poor Sale side to win in dramatic fashion courtesy of Ian Keatley's last minute heroics. They will need more similar performances from CJ Stander and Duncan Casey who played their best Munster games if they are to qualify from a tough group.

Week 2: H v Saracens, Friday, 7.45pm

12. Northampton (2 - Down 10)

Week 1: L v Racing, 11-20 away.

The Premiership champions were very lackluster going down to Racing. Marc Andreu's try towards the end of the game ended Northampton's hopes of a comeback and lost them a losing bonus point. They will need a big performance this weekend against the only unbeaten side in Europe.

Week 2: H v Ospreys,  Saturday 5.15pm

13. Montpeiller (10 - Down 3)

Week 1: L v Toulouse, 23-30 away.

Montpeiller have quietly gone about strengthening their squad in the last two years, and it finally looks like their squad is settling in. The Toulouse game was something of a coming out party for Wynand Olivier in Europe, while a squad with the talent of Rene Ranger, Ben Mowen and Timoci Nagusa can never be discounted.

Week 2: H v Glasgow, Saturday 5.15pm.

14. Ospreys (16 - Up 2)

Week 1: W  vTreviso, 47-10 at home.

Hacing survived the opening of the season unbeaten, Ospreys clinically dispatched Treviso without too much trouble. They may find their first challenge of the season on Saturday, with Northampton hosting an intriguing game.

Week 2: A v Northampton, Saturday 5.15pm

15. Wasps (15 - No change)

Week 1: L v Leinster, 20-25 away

Wasps were impressive in opening up a lead against Leinster last Sunday. Less impressive was how easily they let Leinster back into the game. Alapati Leiua continued his good Super Rugby form with a try at the weekend and will need to be on his game again in one of the last London derbies Wasps will ever play.

Week 2: H v Harlequins, Sunday 5.15pm

16. Scarlets (19 - Up 3)

Week 1: L v Toulon, 28-18 away

The West Welsh region made a good account of themselves against the French and European champions, narrowly missing out on what could have been a crucial losing bonus point. They will be hoping for an improved result from their stable of Williams' when they host Leicester in Week 2.

Week 2: H v Leicester,  Saturday 7.45pm

17. Bath (11 - Down 6)

Week 1: L v Glasgow, 10-37 away

Despite a decent start to the season in the Premiership, Bath were helpless when Glasgow steamrolled through their defense with ease time after time. An injury to Kyle Eastmond just added to the misery, and hosting French giants Toulouse will not help rid the bad feeling in the midlands.

Week 2: H  v Toulouse, Saturday 3.15pm

18. Sale (17 - Down 1)

Week 1: L v Munster, 26-27 at home

A refereeing injury and poor Munster play made Sale look like world beaters on Saturday. But they showed their naivety and inexperience at this level, failing to close out the game and starting off their easiest game in the toughest pool with a loss.

Week 2: A v Clermont, Sunday 3.15pm

19. Castres (18 - Down 1)

Week 1: L v Harlequins, 9-25 away

Castres are hovering above the relegation zone in the Top 14, and never looked like threatening Harlequins in a comfortable win for the London club. Castres have struggled in European competition in the past, springing the odd surprise which Leinster are aware of, but their focus will be on their domestic competition from here.

Week 2: H v Leinster,Sunday 1pm

20. Treviso ( 20 - No change)

Week 1: L v Ospreys, 10-47 away

After a few seasons of improvement, numerous departures this summer have cost the Italian side their competitiveness, and they look a shell of the side they once were.

Week 2: H v Racing, Sunday 5.15pm

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