Share via Email There is no debate over Europe in rugby union. Everyone wants to be in and for the British teams who fail to make the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup, the tournament will end in Brexit tears. The debate over exit strategies will revolve around how to get out of trouble against Saracens, who are aiming to emulate Toulon by winning the tournament for a third successive season. Mark McCall’s side start next Sunday against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens, a ground where they have not lost in the Premiership since 2013, and they will arrive armed with the boost of a 55-point haul against the Saints at Twickenham last month.In the first round last season Saracens stunned Toulon with their pace, power and precision at the Stade Félix Mayol and inflicted a first home defeat in the competition on the team they had succeeded as champions the season before. For all the talk at the tournament launches about the need to win at home and pick up at least a bonus point away, Saracens have learned the value of a fast start.It has not been lost on the Premiership champions, Exeter, as they prepare for their fifth European Cup campaign. They have won their opening match only once and their record in the second round is the same. A year ago they suffered a humbling 35-8 defeat by Clermont Auvergne at Sandy Park, a reverse that came in the middle of a run of five matches in all competitions without a win and proved defining.Rob Baxter, now the Chiefs’ director of rugby, says: “What I hope we have learned from previous European experiences and playing in big games in the last couple of seasons is that we have to make it about ourselves in the early rounds and play the way we play, not think we have to change something massively. Rugby union Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn Sportblog Topics Share on Pinterest Champions Cup Support The Guardian Share on Facebook Exeter features Since you’re here… Reuse this content Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Read more Saracens “Our opening-round defeat at Ospreys two seasons ago, when we ended up not getting a point from a game we should have won, was down to us thinking we had to do things differently in Europe. If we had played Exeter rugby, we would have won.“In earlier times there was an element of putting the Premiership before Europe but we are now at the point where, if what we do is good enough to beat Wasps and Saracens in the Premiership play-offs, it should be pretty successful in Europe. We do not need to find a miracle off-load or chip and chase to create something. We have to do what we do and do it very well. A great marker of that are Saracens. They have an innate confidence and they are effective across competitions. We will talk about what we want to achieve in the first round and then the second. After that what will be will be.”Exeter’s first match is at home to Glasgow, the Pro14 side who, after the opening month of the season, were the only unbeaten side in Europe’s three major leagues, and their second is at Montpellier, the free-spending Top 14 leaders who have scored 182 points in their four home league matches this season.If the Champions Cup this decade has been about teams defending the title – Leinster and Saracens once and Toulon twice since Toulouse’s success in 2009-10 – teams such as Glasgow, Exeter, Montpellier and Scarlets, who have never reached the final, have been made stronger by failure in a tournament that now offers little in the way of refuge.Italy’s flag has flown at half-mast in the tournament’s 22 years but from next season the 20 contenders will be decided on league position, not nationality. As the Pro14’s two conferences stood at the start of this weekend, Zebre would qualify; they, like Treviso – who are in a group with Bath, Toulon and Scarlets – have won two of their opening five matches.The two Italian sides are made up largely of home players, with journeymen foreigners having been told to look for a pay packet elsewhere. It is part of Conor O’Shea’s revolution in the country: Treviso last month ended Richard Cockerill’s Scottish honeymoon by winning in Edinburgh and Zebre last weekend halted Ulster’s unbeaten start to the campaign. The stirrings are hardly enough to suggest European conquest but Bath would be rash to be writing out a slip for a winning bonus before they face Treviso at The Rec next Saturday, six days before a Friday night trip to Llanelli.Matt Garvey, the Bath captain, says: “We have this season won at Leicester and Wasps but lost at home to Newcastle having beaten Saracens. Consistency comes down to the mental side. It is easy getting up for Saracens and as individuals we have to prepare the same way for every game, spending hours on analysis. Against what you perceive as a lesser club, not that there are any, did you spend the same amount of time or leave it to someone else to tell you what they did? On paper you cannot compare Treviso and Toulon but the challenge for us as players is not to look at where Treviso have been recently but to remember there are no easy games and that we cannot afford to slip up on Saturday.”Bath are one of 11 former winners of the cup and one of five English clubs to prevail, along with three from France and three from Ireland. Scotland has barely made a ripple and neither has Wales since regional rugby was introduced in 2003. But, with the New Zealander Dave Rennie following Gregor Townsend at Glasgow and Scarlets flourishing under the New Zealander Wayne Pivac, the knockout stage is an attainable target, although Ospreys are struggling.If Exeter’s pool, which includes Leinster, looks the most competitive with all four teams going into the weekend in play-off positions, Saracens’ group contains the French champions, Clermont – who slumped to ninth in the Top 14 last weekend after losing at Castres – and Ospreys, who went into Saturday night’s derby against Scarlets joint bottom of their Pro14 conference, with Cardiff Blues.Europe, though, is about more than league form. It is for some a step into the unknown, new opponents and venues, although Leicester are grouped with Racing 92, the 2016 finalists who are showing signs of wear and tear, and Munster.Analysis goes only so far and so does money, with the European club with the biggest playing budget, Toulouse, in the Challenge Cup. It is, as Saracens have found and Exeter are striving for, about being who you are, not what you perceive you ought to be.Guide to the poolsPool 1 Harlequins, La Rochelle, Ulster, WaspsUlster’s winning start to the season came to an unexpected halt at Zebre last weekend but they look equipped to make more of an impact than last season when they lost their last three pool matches. La Rochelle, who finished first in the Top 14 table in 2016-17, have been in rampant form at home, putting 50 points on both Clermont Auvergne and Oyonnax. Wasps have advanced to the knockout stage for the last two years but they have started the Premiership season poorly while Harlequins continue to struggle to back up results. Table toppers Wasps Pool 2 Clermont Auvergne, Northampton, Ospreys, SaracensSaracens are looking to emulate Toulon’s feat from 2013-15 of winning the trophy three years in a row but they are grouped with the last team to defeat them in the tournament, Clermont Auvergne, and Northampton, who have rallied after being well beaten by Saracens on the opening day of the Premiership season at Twickenham. Clermont are in the bottom half of the Top 14, without a win away from home, while Ospreys are joint bottom of their Pro14 conference. Table toppers SaracensPool 3 Exeter, Glasgow, Leinster, MontpellierThe most intriguing of the groups pits the Premiership champions against Montpellier, who led the Top 14 going into this weekend; Glasgow, who headed their Pro14 conference; and Leinster, who are two points behind Scarlets in their conference and are the only one of the four with European pedigree, having won the tournament three times. Exeter have tended to start their European campaigns slowly but, in a pool where away victories will be precious, they have to start in step at home to Glasgow. Table toppers LeinsterPool 4 Castres, Leicester, Munster, Racing 92Leicester were pooled with Racing 92 and Munster last season as they lost all three away matches while scoring 16 points and conceding 114. Castres may offer some relief: in 13 European Cup campaigns they have only once reached the knockout stage and not since 2005 have they recorded more victories than defeats. Racing have declined from the side that reached the final in 2016 and won the Top 14. Munster, beaten by Saracens in last season’s semi-finals, are growing in experience. Table toppers MunsterPool 5 Bath, Scarlets, Toulon, TrevisoThe presence of an Italian side invariably means a knockout place for the team that finishes second in the group but Treviso have won at Edinburgh and at home to Ospreys this season, so Bath cannot assume they will bank five points next Saturday. Toulon are not the force they were but still rarely lose at the Stade Félix Mayol, while Bath remain fickle, losing at home to Newcastle one week and winning at Wasps the next. Scarlets, who won the Pro12 last season, play with flair and have learned how to win away. Table toppers Scarlets Share on Messenger Share on Twitter
Liverpool ‘No way Klopp will be tempted by Real Madrid’ – Liverpool boss tipped to stay put Chris Burton 19:47 6/2/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Liverpool Jürgen Klopp Real Madrid Primera División Premier League The Reds boss has been mentioned as a possible successor to Zinedine Zidane, but Christian Purslow thinks he’ll remain at Anfield Jurgen Klopp is being backed to remain at Liverpool by former Reds director Christian Purslow, with him claiming there is “no way” the German will be tempted by Real Madrid .The German tactician is among those to have been mooted as a possible successor to Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu following the shock resignation of a three-time Champions League winner.Klopp was on the receiving end of the last of those triumphs , with Liverpool suffering a 3-1 defeat in Kiev following an error-strewn display from goalkeeper Loris Karius. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now The Reds had, however, performed admirably in reaching that stage and, with further additions already being made at Anfield , are looking to the future with optimism and excitement.Purslow believes that will be enough to keep Klopp in his current post, with Liverpool’s former managing director telling Sky Sports : “The key difference I think for the last five, 10, 15, 20 years, is the sheer amount of wealth in the Premier League means there’s no economic reason for those managers to move to Real Madrid.”It boils down to prestige, trophies and where they see the potential of their current situation.”There is no way I think Jurgen Klopp is going to be tempted to move given the season he’s just come off.”While confident that his former employers on Merseyside can retain the services of their highly-rated manager, Purslow fears Tottenham may face more of a struggle if Madrid decide to make a move for Mauricio Pochettino.He added: “I’m less certain about Pochettino. I saw his comments and he didn’t exactly dismiss it.”He’s got a long-term contract – well done Daniel Levy. It would cost Madrid a huge amount of money to sign Pochettino, to break that contract.”But I think if they offer Spurs £50 million and he wanted to go, stranger things have happened in football.”Pochettino has provided mixed messages when quizzed on his links to Madrid , with claims that he is happy in north London after penning fresh terms countered by admittance that anything can happen in the future. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web
So much for the meritocracy. When legal pot was just a hazy line on the horizon, a lot of people spent a lot of time picturing what the industry would look like. There were plenty of optimistic reports that women would dominate the cannabis industry.There were even hopes for more representative boardrooms and executives, with women and men of all skin colours sharing the wealth in an industry that, by virtue of prohibition and necessity, had always been somewhat more equal than established businesses.Then plans for legalization began to firm up, and reports began to look at how many billions of dollars would be up for grabs. And before you know it, the c-suites looked the same way they always have. Shocking, we know.So, what happened to that optimistic dream of a pot industry that offered equality? In a word: Money. Can women and people of colour still reclaim their seats at the table? Yes, actually. We’ll tell you how it starts.THE BIG STORY PODCAST GUEST: Stacy Lee Kong, FLARE.comAudio Playerhttp://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/s/radio.pmd.rogersdigitalmedia.com/podcasts/thebigstory/tbs_1018.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. CityNews reporter Shauna Hunt has been working the marijuana beat for two years. She knows everyone. Now that it’s legal her latest project is a podcast taking listeners inside Canada’s newest industry and the culture that birthed it. The Legal Potcast launches next week, but you can hear a sneak preview and subscribe in advance right here.