Champions Cup permutations: Leinster certain of their fate
Plenty still to play for in next weekend’s final round of Champions Cup fixtures
Leinster, the only unbeaten team in the Champions Cup this season, is also the only club guaranteed a home quarter-final ahead of next weekend’s final round of fixtures. The Irish province only needs a point in Montpellier next weekend to cement a place as number one seeds; that promises a semi-final in Ireland should they progress to play against a top four seeded team. Otherwise they would be away in a semi-final.
Dealing with the pools involving Irish teams first, a bonus-point win for Ulster against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, will ensure that they win Pool 1, irrespective of how La Rochelle fare at home to Harlequins.
The French club will be strongly fancied to get five points, in which case an Ulster win without a bonus point won’t suffice as La Rochelle have a superior record in the head-to-head between the teams. A win, though, would guarantee Ulster one of three best runner-up spots and a bonus point in defeat might suffice depending on results elsewhere.
Munster will be strongly fancied to beat Castres Olympique with a bonus point at Thomond Park and if that proves to be the case they’ll win their pool, no matter what result Racing 92 manage from their trip to Leicester.
An injury ravaged Clermont Auvergne host the Ospreys in Pool 2 knowing a win will get them a home quarter-final. If they want to get a top two seeding then they will have to manage a better result than Toulon lead in Pool five. The Ospreys have to win in Clermont or they’ll miss out.
The Scarlets host Toulon knowing that a win will see them top the pool, two points would guarantee a playoff spot and one might be good enough. Exeter Chiefs travel to Glasgow aware that a five point haul will get them into the playoffs irrespective of other results while the Scarlets, Montpellier, Bath and Saracens are still very much in the playoff mix.
Leinster (Q) 23
Still in the hunt
La Rochelle 16