Martin Crowson's five things: Any win this weekend will be a good result
Martin Crowson looks back at five key points from the weekend's rugby action.
1 There will be much talk this week from Leicester Tigers fans of the need to pick up five points from the trip to Treviso on Saturday. While that return would be very nice indeed, it is also becoming more and more unlikely in the wake of the Italians' recent improvement and results. Few teams would have managed the sort of comeback seen at Welford Road on Sunday, when they ran Tigers close before succumbing 33-25. Treviso have an international-strength squad with continuity and belief. Any sort of Tigers win this weekend will be a good result.
2 If Tigers do bring back five points from Italy, they will be in a great position to qualify for the quarter-finals. On 15 points, they will probably need just a win of any kind against either the Ospreys away – who could already be out of the competition by then – or Toulouse at home to reach 19 points. Few teams have failed to make the last eight finishing second in their group with that big a total.
3 On the back of Wales' miserable winless autumn series, recent fears about the structure of rugby in the Principality have been to the fore once more. It is easy to see why on the back of the Welsh regions' performances in the Heineken Cup this season. The Ospreys, Scarlets and Cardiff have gleaned just one win and a total of eight points from their combined nine games so far. It is even worse in Scotland, where Edinburgh and Glasgow have a combined total of just one point from six games.
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4 Those who consider Anthony Allen not to be a big-enough threat with ball in hand should take one look at Leicester's defensive problems in broken play against Treviso on Sunday, and realise there was a glaring absence of the 26-year-old's positional and organisational capabilities.
5 The trip to Treviso this weekend reminds me of a harrowing moment on my last visit to the beautiful Italian city. On arrival at their airport, I phoned a taxi company and was told that a green Chrysler would arrive in spot 22 to pick me up in 20 minutes. Exactly 20 minutes later, a green Chrysler pulled up in spot 22, a gorgeous blonde lady got out of the car, opened the boot and waited there. "Hello, I am Mr Crowson," I said, as I threw my luggage in the open boot and put my hand out to shake hers. "Ciao, I am Maria," she replied with an astonished look on her face. "And I am here to pick up my husband." Cue a hasty retreat.