Sky Sports' Stuart Barnes takes a look back at Round 1 of the Heineken Cup.
It was an interesting, if not dazzling, kick off for the Heineken Cup; too much wind and rain and also, too much negativity. A few games were dominated by adverse conditions but many teams were too obsessed with territory rather than control of the ball and the result was some ugly rugby.
I think of Biarritz, in particular but also Cardiff who seemed petrified of running the ball. The first pass Rhys Williams received in the centre resulted in a try. Alas, that was in the second half and a brief reprieve as Lee Thomas reverted to some mindless booting from fly half. Better weather and more ambition are the prime wishes for week two.
It is possible to play attractive rugby under tough tournament conditions as the finals of the NPC and Currie Cup illustrated. The South African game was a reminder that Springbok rugby is undergoing substantial changes for the better.
In terms of individual performances, Dwayne Peel and James Simpson-Daniel advanced their national claims. In terms of team efforts, Harlequins were admirable in defeat and Newcastle claimed a fine win at Newport.
In terms of individual performances, Dwayne English, French and Irish sides benefited at the expense of the lower half of the Six Nations with Scotland, Italy and most distressingly of all, Wales, failing to get a win between them. Some will argue about the merit of the Welsh provincial system but one year and one bad week is too early to judge. Let us hope Cardiff can kick off a more competitive week for Wales this Friday against Stade Francais.