Rugby union: talking points from the weekend’s Champions Cup action

Exeter are the only Premiership side in pole position to secure a quarter-final spot after an attritional weekendIt should be the pool of death given that three of its occupants are heading their respect leagues. Leinster are at the top of their Pro14 conference, unbeaten since last May, Lyon head the Top 14, 10 points ahead of Montpellier, who are third, while Northampton look down on the rest in the Premiership. There is a code in Europe that league form cannot crack. Lyon have won away to Toulon and Racing 92 this season, but they lost in Treviso on Saturday to all but end their interest in the Champions Cup while the Saints won in Italy only after a final flourish. Leinster, who became the first team to qualify for the last eight after four rounds, learned the painful way, like Munster and Saracens, that Europe is a long step up from league rugby. Paul Rees Continue reading…