Our event of the day is the European Rugby Champions Cup fixture between Leinster and Toulouse at the RDS Arena in Dublin. The two teams are fighting for the top spot in Pool 1, with Toulouse currently holding a 2-point lead over Leinster. The two teams are both likely to proceed to the next stage of the competition but finishing first or second will determine the sort of challenge they will face in the quarterfinals. This should be a thrilling game that you will not want to miss. Leinster, considered one of the best teams in European rugby, are looking to continue their dominance of the sport. They are 3-1, with their only loss of the competition coming against Toulouse, a tight 28-27 loss at Stade Ernest-Wallon. A victory against the French side would place Leinster in first, with a fixture against struggling Wasps as their last of the competition. Leinster are the best-scoring side in the competition, with a point differential of 82. They have scored 19 tries, while only allowing 6. If anyone can beat Toulouse, it’s Leinster. Meanwhile, Toulouse find themselves in a strong position coming into today’s game. They currently lead Pool 1 with 17 points after going 4-0 in the competition so far. While their games have often been close, they always come out on top. The French side have really made a statement in this year’s competition with their excellent performances. Toulouse have recently underperformed in the Champions Cup, last reaching the semi-finals in the 2010-11 edition of the competition and last winning the tournament in the 2009-10 competition. Since then, they have progressed past the group stage twice, losing in the quarterfinals both times.
However, this year they boast the competition’s highest scorer in Thomas Ramos and one of the competition’s highest try scorers in Sofiane Guitoune. They will be eager to repeat those performances from the start of the decade this season. Prior to today, the teams have met ten times in the Champions Cup. Toulouse has won six of their meetings and Leinster has won four of them. Seven of their meetings have been in the group stage of the competition. These teams have a long history and are both hungry for success so expect an exciting game today. Considering the quality of the two teams perhaps they could meet again in the later stages of the competition.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NFL, where the Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium. The Colts come into this match after upsetting the Houston Texans in a 21-7 rout. Andrew Luck proved he is well and truly back as he passed for two touchdowns against a Texans defence that was unable to find its footing. They will now travel to Kansas City to face one of the best teams in the NFL, led by one of the best and most-promising quarterbacks in the league in Patrick Mahomes. Kansas City will be eager to win their first Divisional Round playoff game since 1993, and a chance to play either the New England Patriots or the Los Angeles Chargers for a place in the Super Bowl. This is a game you’re not going to want to miss. The Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys will face off in a NFC Divisional game today also. Elsewhere, in the EFL Championship, West Bromwich Albion host Norwich at The Hawthorns. On the PGA Tour, the Sony Open in Hawaii continues. In the NHL, the New Jersey Devils host the Philadelphia Flyers at the Prudential Center. In tennis, the Sydney International concludes at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Center.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Leinster Rugby; Stade Toulousain Rugby
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