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European club rugby surprises may offer barometer in World Cup year | The Breakdown

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From next week international squad players in Europe will spend more time with their countries than with their clubs and lessons learned at highest level of club rugby could be vital

The result of a weekend in Europe that kicked convention high into the stand came in Paris, where a Worcester side laced with academy players achieved a bonus-point Challenge Cup victory over Stade Français, who lie second in the Top 14.

Europe, in the form of the Champions Cup, is regarded as being close to international standard, exemplified by teams such as Leinster and Saracens. But over the years it has not been that reliable a barometer for Test rugby, although the last three winners of the tournament have represented the countries that took the Six Nations title.

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