Here’s Who Will Likely Make The Champions Cup Knockout Stages Based On Standings
Time to get the calculators out.
Just one more round of pool games awaits us in the European Champions Cup, with some absolutely huge games to come this weekend, as teams battle it out for a spot in the knockout stages.
There were some hugely surprising results over the weekend, with the likes of Northampton and Harlequins pulling off shock wins over Clermont and Wasps respectively, while the holders Saracens are almost certainly already out after drawing with Ospreys.
Leinster have already secured not just a quarter final spot, but a home one at that, while Munster are still in control of their faith after securing a losing bonus-point away to Racing.
Ulster can also book a spot in the quarter final with a win away to Wasps, while Scarlets will go toe-to-toe with Toulon in what could be a winner takes all game.
Here’s how the overall table currently looks.
Predictions for last round of pool games (points earned in brackets).
Glasgow Warriors (0) vs. Exeter Chiefs (5)
This is a tricky one. Glasgow will want to finish on a high after resting a number of players against Leinster this weekend, while Exeter will need as many points as possible to give them a chance of making it through. We’re gonna go with the Premiership champions to get a try-bonus win. They’ve proved to us time and time again they can step up when needs be and have secured a number of impressive bonus-point wins in the Premiership of late.
Montpellier (0) v Leinster Rugby (4)
Vern Cotter’s men are pretty much already out at this stage, while Leinster are guaranteed not just qualification, but a home quarter final. Leinster will chop and change, but as we’ve seen this season in a number of games, it won’t make a huge difference such is the depth in their squad. Montpellier will likely now shift focus back to the Top 14. A Leinster win, but no bonus.
Saracens (5) v Northampton Saints (0)
Alan Gaffney has breathed life back into Saints this season, who are two from two under him already. Sarries look to be out no matter what, but still have an outside chance. Expect a try-bonus, but Saints could end up putting up a fight. A tough one to predict.
ASM Clermont Auvergne (4) v Ospreys (1)
Ospreys have done well in Europe this season, and have a shot at qualifying here. Clermont are struggling of late with injury, but we expect them to get the win at home, with Ospreys getting a losing bonus-point.
Scarlets (5) v RC Toulon (0)
Wayne Pivac’s men were irrestible against Bath on Friday night and we reckon this will continue against Toulon this weekend. Our money is on Scarlets to finish strong with a try-bonus.
Benetton Rugby (0) v Bath Rugby (5)
Treviso are much improved this season, having secured three losing bonus-points. But Bath will have too much for them. A try-bonus for the Premiership side.
Leicester Tigers (0) v Racing 92 (5)
Racing are hitting form at a vital stage of the season and could still qualify this weekend if results go their way. Leicester meanwhile are mirroring their campaign last season and dipping in form at the worst time of the season. Expect another weakened Leicester team to get battered while Matt O’Connor shifts focus back to the Premiership.
Munster Rugby (5) v Castres Olympique (0)
Castres looked good against Leicester, but they will be no match for a determined Munster a fortress Thomond. Expect a slow start, but once Munster find their rhythm, the floodgates will open in Limerick.
Wasps (1) v Ulster Rugby (4)
Dai Young’s men don’t have anything to play for this weekend, with qualification pretty much impossible. Wasps don’t have the biggest of squads, and have a big injury list. Expect a weakened team, with Ulster coming away with a win that will send them through.
La Rochelle (5) v Harlequins (0)
Harlequins are already out, but shocked us all this past weekend with a famous win over Wasps. La Rochelle at home however, will be too much for them. A try-bonus for the French fliers.
These results would leave the final standings as follows. (we’ve gone with Clermont and Munster finishing above Scarlets and La Rochelle as they currently have a +9 and +8 points advantage respectively.)
Leinster – 27
Clermont – 22
Scarlets – 22
Munster – 21
La Rochelle – 21
Ulster – 21
Racing – 19
Exeter – 19
And here’s how the quarter finals would look.
Leinster v Exeter (Aviva Stadium)
Clermont v Racing (Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin)
Scarlets v Ulster (Parc Y Scarlets)
Munster v La Rochelle (Thomond Park)