Sunday, 12 January 2014

Each Round 6 games implications

Friday 8pm. Pool 1.

Leinster (17) v Ospreys (5)
Northampton (13) v Castres (9)

Nothing in this pool is confirmed other than both Ospreys and Castres are out, with the best Castres can hope for is an unlikely 2nd place. If they were to finish 2nd by winning 5-0 on matchpoints, it's very likely that they will be the 6th best runners up and out of Europe anyway.

For Northampton it's simple, they need a bonus point win to finish on 18, and hope Leinster get nothing at home to Ospreys. If they finish on the same number of points, Leinster go through with a better head to head record (5-4). Northampton are still alive in the race for second place, but are relying on other results to go their way.

That game is Saracens v Connacht. A Saracens win denies Northampton completely. A draw means that Saints on 13 points could give Cardiff a try total to match with a bonus point win. A win for Saints in this case means that Cardiff can go through with a bonus point win, or if they overhaul Northamptons one try advantage over them. This case would open the door for Harlequins and Edinburgh to record bonus point victories and leapfrog them, but more on that later. A Connacht victory with no bonus point puts them in the equation, but due to their disadvantage in the try scoring column it's unlikely. A Connacht win with a try bonus means that Northampton have to get a bonus themselves, and score two tries less than Connacht or more. Got that? Me neither.

Leinster will be looking to finish with as many points as possible, in their unlikely bid for a home quarter. They'll need two of Toulon, Toulouse, Clermont and Munster to slip up for that to happen.

Saturday 1.35 Pool 3

Saracens (15) v Connacht (13)
Zebre (0) v Toulouse (19)

A Toulouse losing bonus point or more confirms them as pool winners. Anything less, and a Saracens bonus point win will see them top. In that case, Toulouse will still be the second best runner up.

As mentioned before, Saracens v Connacht is the key game of the round. A Saracens win and they are through as second best runner up. Unless Toulouse get nothing from Zebre, or Ulster pulverise Leicester and Saracens get a bonus point, which lifts them to best runners up.

A draw between Connacht and Saracens eliminates Connacht, and opens the door for the other 2nd placed teams, as does a draw with a Saracens try bonus point (18), but Saracens have a significant lead in the try scoring stakes (18).

Connacht can go through with a win, if Northampton fail to win, which they will know already, or if Cardiff lose, which they won't. Or if Harlequins and Edinburgh fail to get the bonus point, which they won't know. A bonus point increases their chances, and allows Northampton to win without a bonus and still have Connacht through. Connacht will already know what Northampton do. Cardiff will need a bonus point win in the game immediately after this one. Everything hinges on this game.

Saturday 3.40 Pool 2

Cardiff (13) v Exeter (8)
Glasgow (10) v Toulon (20)

Toulon will win the group and can be seeded anywhere from 1st to 6th. A bonus point win means only Ulster or Leicester can beat them, giving them at least a 2nd seed, while a win can allow Clermont and Toulouse a chance to overhaul them, but would still give them 4th seed and a home quarter final. Anything less and Munster and Leinster have a chance to drop them down to an away quarter final.

Glasgow have no chance of finishing as one of the two best quarter finalists, but a win can secure them an Amlin Cup quarter final. 

Cardiff will already know what's at stage having watched Connacht and Northampton. Their scenarios have been discussed thoroughly already, Exeter are already free in April and May.

Saturday 6pm Pool 6

Leicester (20) v Ulster (22)
Montpeiller v Treviso

Both Montpeiller and Treviso are out of everything.

The winner at Welford Road will be hosting a quarter final with the loser as one of the two runners up. 

Leicester win, and Ulster are 7th seeds. Leicester could be anywhere from 1st to 4th seeds. A bonus point win for Leicester guarantees them one of the top 2 seeds.

Ulster win, Leicester are 7th or 8th depending only on Saracens, with Ulster definitely 1st seeds.

Draw sees Ulster with a home quarter, 1st to 4th, and Leicester are definite 7th seeds.

An unlikely Leicester win with two Ulster bonus points is the same as a draw.

Sunday 12.45pm Pool 6

Munster (18) v Edinburgh (12)
Perpignan (7) v Gloucester (9)

Perpignan are out and cannot make the Amlin quarters either. A win for Gloucester and a loss for Edinburgh keeps them in the hunt for an Amlin spot, but it will be unlikely. They will already know if Northampton, Cardiff, Saracens and Connacht have a spot, and will be posting a target for Harlequins for the last spot. Quins will not need much to overhaul them.

Munster will be hoping for a slipup from Toulon, Toulouse or Clermont, and are first in line to benefit with a home quarter final. A bonus point win aids them, and they will already know if thats enough to beat Toulouse or Toulon. Clermont play the following game and will know what they need to go ahead of Munster.

Edinburgh are in the hunt for a 2nd place, as long as Saracens slip up and Connacht, Northampton and Cardiff don't get try bonus points. If any of them win, they need a bonus point and to score more tries than all of those and Harlequins

Sunday 3pm Pool 4

Scarlets (10) v Harlequins (12)
Clermont (19) v Racing (7)

Racing are out of everything.

Scarlets could be out of everything at this stage, but there is a small chance that a win gets them into the Amlin quarters.

Harlequins need Saracens to slip up and Connacht, Northampton and Cardiff don't get try bonus points. If any of them win, they need a bonus point and to score more tries than all of those and Edinburgh.

Most likely:

1. Toulouse v Saracens
2. Toulon v Ulster
3. Leicester v Leinster
4. Clermont v Munster

Best results for Irish provinces:

In matchpoints:

Leinster 5-0 Ospreys
Saints 0-4 Castres
Saracens 0-5 Connacht
Toulouse 0-5 Zebre
Cardiff 0-4 Exeter
Glasgow 4-0 Toulon
Leicester 0-5 Ulster
Montpeiller 0-5 Treviso
Munster 5-0 Edinburgh
Perpignan 4-0 Gloucester
Scarlets 5-0 Harlequins
Clermont 1-5 Racing

Leading to

Ulster v Connacht
Munster v Leicester
Leinster v Toulouse
Toulon v Clermont

And yes, I know that isn't going to happen, but I can dream.

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