Martin Crowson's five points from the weekend's rugby action
Martin Crowson looks back at five key talking points from the weekend's rugby action.
1 Okay, I admit it, I felt sorry for Saracens on Saturday night. Not the players – the club. I don't always like it but I admire them for trying whatever they can to create a successful brand and I admire them for having the guts to be bold and brash and get up people's noses.
I even admire them for taking the game to wonderful venues like Wembley Stadium. But the brand of rugby served up on Saturday was the water to their fire.
The drums, the fanfare and the loud music that blared out inside the national football stadium to try and create an atmosphere just sounded so hollow against a backdrop of the worst viewing spectacle of the season.
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2 A potentially big call awaits Tigers' director of rugby Richard Cockerill this weekend. Half-back pairing Toby Flood and Sam Harrison struggled at Wembley and both men are yet to hit top form this season. If there is an argument for replacing them with George Ford and Pat Phibbs in the starting line-up, would it be the right time to do it against champions Harlequins?
3 Oh to be a fly on the wall as the future of top-flight European competition is debated at European Rugby Cup premises, in Dublin, today. The stakes are about as high as they can get with key figures from the six Heineken Cup-playing nations battling for a big enough slice of the pie to satisfy the clubs and unions they represent.
Some of the countries involved are so far apart on what they want, that it could take a figure of Kofi Annan's standing to broker a deal.
4 It was a cracking result for London Welsh on Sunday, beating last season's fifth-placed team, Exeter Chiefs.
Good for Lyn Jones' side in the respect that an early win will do their confidence no end of good – and good for a league that would love to avoid any side being cast adrift.
5 Whisper it quietly but Tigers' big two European opponents next month are hardly covering themselves in glory. The winless Ospreys have lost to Treviso, Ulster and Glasgow in the RaboDirect Pro 12 and have fixtures away at table-toppers Scarlets and at home to Munster to follow. Toulouse have just shipped five tries in a heavy defeat at mid-table Perpignan. Good signs at least.