English clubs were dominant in the second weekend of the Heineken Cup, with five wins, one draw and one loss.
Bristol flew the flag of St. George in an historic win over tournament favourites Stade Francais, who failed to score a point at the Memorial Ground. The passion of Mark Regan and the fearless tackling of Andrew Blowers shut out the French side in the 17-0 victory.
West Country neighbours Gloucester also impressed in their defeat of the fancied Ospreys, with England’s forgotten man James Simpson-Daniel catching the eye. Another bonus-point win puts them in control of the pool and their eyes will be on qualifying for the knockout stages for the first time in seven years.
London Irish were rampant again with another 40-point victory against the Dragons, securing the bonus point with just half an hour gone. The Exiles have the best points difference in the competition so far, and their back-to-back meetings with Perpignan before Christmas will decide the pool.
Marcelo Loffreda heaped more misery on Andy Robinson as his Leicester side beat Edinburgh 39-0, without emerging from third gear, whilst Wasps secured an important away win at Llanelli Scarlets.
Harlequins drew 13-13 at home to Cardiff in a miserable match, whilst Saracens were denied a famous victory in Biarritz by a last-minute penalty from Dimitri Yachvili.
The dominance of the Guinness Premiership clubs this weekend means that three of the six pools are topped by English teams, and another three have a reasonable chance of qualifying. Following last year’s all-English final, could this year’s Heineken Cup prove yet again that England is the European force to be reckoned with?