Limerick Rugby
Don't Miss

Frank Quinn reviews the Champions/Challenge Cups so far

By Frank Quinn
THE back to back stages and round 4 are over and leaves us pool leaders and pool losers.
To start with pool leaders Clermont Auvergne and Leinster are on 18 points each in Pools 2 & 3. Pools 1 & 4 are headed by La Rochelle and Munster respectively on 15 points each. In the fifth pool Bath and Toulon are equal on 13 points.
These six teams, three French, two Irish and one England club are the chief contenders for the eight places in the quarter finals.
Other contenders to make the top eight need closer scrutiny. Normally it will take 19/20 points to qualify, so any team not in a position to make this cut is out.
Harlequins, Northampton, Glasgow, Castres, Leicester and Benetton Treviso cannot qualify. The in-betweeners are Ulster 13 and Wasps 10 in pool 1, Ospreys13 and Saracens 11 in Pool 2, Montpelier 13 and Exeter just make the cut on 9 in pool 3, Racing Metro has 11 points in pool 4. Scarlets has 12 points in very tight pool 5 – one point divides three clubs
Rounds 5 & 6 take place on the second and third weekends in January – just two weeks before the first six nations game away to France on 3rd of February 2018.
Leinster plays Glasgow at home and Montpelier away, a win over Glasgow and a difficult away game in France
Munster are away to Racing Metro, which is classed as difficult and then a home game against Castres (cannot qualify) which should yield a comfortable bonus point win
Ulster has a home game against La Rochelle – the top team in France, beaten by Wasps in round four and an away game to Wasps – which now looks very difficult.
Clermont has an away game at Northampton and home against Ospreys.
La Rochelle has the away game at Ulster and Harlequins (knocked out) at home
Ospreys has Saracens at home and Clermont away in a difficult end
Montpelier has two difficult games in Exeter away and Leinster at home to finish off
Bath has a home game against Treviso and away to Scarlets – which puts them in a strong position but ironically the other joint leader Toulon meets the same two teams. Bonus points will be required to separate these two contenders
So gun to my head, who are the qualifiers for the last eight:
Clermont, Leinster, La Rochelle, Munster, Bath, Toulon, Ulster, Montpelier or Ospreys – who both have difficult run-Ins.
The Challenge Cup
The pool toppers are;
Edinburgh 20 points, Connacht & Pau 19, Newcastle 18, and Cardiff Blues 13. They are set to make the qualifiers.
Three GuinnessPRO14, one French and one Premiership Club.
The in- betweeners are Bordeaux, Dragons, Gloucester, Stade Francais and Worcester
The drop outs are: Ensei, Agen and Zebre from pool 3, London Irish and Krasny Yar in pool 4, Brive and Oyonnax from Connacht’s pool number 5
Connacht will qualify and will be looking for home advantage in the last two games.
Pool two could be the most intriguing with six points separating the four teams after four games.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login