With just one round of action left in the European Champions Cup we look at the sides best placed to qualify for the quarter finals this weekend.
The winner of Pool 1 is a straight shoot-out between Saracens and Clermont Auvergne after Munster fell too far behind this weekend to catch either side. Clermont currently top the group and have home advantage in their winner takes all showdown with Saracens this weekend. Given their current form it would be hard to argue with Clermont topping the group, however it looks likely that Saracens will qualify as one of the three best runners up, especially if they can claim an all important losing bonus point in France.
Winner – Clermont Auvergne
Runner Up – Saracens
It’s hard to see Saracens winning away against an in-form Clermont whilst Munster are unable to catch up with either side, no matter their result at home to Sale Sharks.
Pool 2 was turned on its head this weekend when Wasps blew Harlequins away in their encounter which blew the pool wide open. Both Wasps and Harlequins are in with a chance of qualifying, however Leinster are in pole position to top the group. That being said, they have a difficult away visit to Wasps to contend with that will dictate who tops the group. Meanwhile Harlequins will need to push for a bonus point win away to Castres to be in with a chance of finish as one of the best runners up.
Winner – Wasps
Runner Up – Leinster
Wasps form of late has been superb, and with home advantage they look capable of beating Leinster, and whilst Castes have been poor it’s hard to see Harlequins achieving the requisite 5 points to overcome the Irish side.
Toulon have already confirmed their qualification from Pool 3 whilst Leicester have their work cut out to qualify as one of the three best runners up. Leicester will hope that their trip to Ravenhill will see them face a weakened Ulster side as they look to claim a bonus point victory to keep their qualification hopes alive. Meanwhile Toulon will be looking to earn maximum points from a trip to Scarlets in order to secure a more favourable quarter final draw.
Winner – Toulon
Runner Up – Leicester Tigers
Toulon could ease up in their final game, however they will be keen to ensure they secure a home game in the quarter finals. Leicester need to somehow hope they can claim a victory at Ulster without Wasps picking up a point at home to Leinster in order to qualify.
Pool 4 has been by far the most competitive group this season with three sides all in with a chance of qualification. The smart money would be on Toulouse topping the group as they travel to Montpellier who are already out of the competition in their final game. Just a point separates Bath and Glasgow who will battle it out at the Rec this weekend. Both teams are currently lacking the necessary points totals to qualify as a top three runner up, however a victory for either side will give them a fighting chance.
Winner – Toulouse
Runner Up – Bath
It’s hard to see Montpellier putting up much of a fight against Toulouse this weekend such has been their form so far this season which should see the French side top the group. Home advantage is likely to prove enough for Bath to win against Glasgow, however they will be reliant on other results for a quarter final spot.
Pool 5 is set for a huge showdown this weekend as Northampton Saints and Racing Metro go head-to-head in a winner takes all clash. Both teams currently sit on 19 points as they prepare to do battle in Northampton. Whilst both teams will likely qualify, the victor will go into the quarter finals with home advantage. Elsewhere the clash between Ospreys and Treviso will be a dead rubber affair with neither side able to qualify.
Winner – Northampton Saints
Runner Up – Racing Metro
The clash between Pool 5’s top two is likely to be a tight affair, however Northampton’s home advantage is likely to give the English side a big advantage in this hugely important clash.
So Who Is Still In With A Shout?
Clermont Auvergne, Wasps, Toulon, Toulouse, Northampton Saints, Saracens, Racing Metro, Bath, Glasgow Warriors, Leicester Tigers, Harlequins, Leinster
Group Winners – Clermont Auvergne, Wasps, Toulon, Toulouse, Northampton Saints
Best Runners Up – Leinster, Racing Metro, Bath
In With A Shout – Glasgow Warriors, Leicester Tigers, Harlequins, Saracens
Who do you think will qualify for the quarter finals of the European Champions Cup?