Down to the wire

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 11:34
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Harlequins, Clermont Auvergne, Ulster and Toulon have all qualified for the quarterfinals of the European Cup, but who will join them in the last eight?

Harlequins, Clermont Auvergne, Ulster and Toulon have all qualified for the quarterfinals of the European Cup, but who will join them in the last eight?

Unbeaten English champions Harlequins are the only ones so far guaranteed home advantage in the quarterfinals, so with plenty to play for in Round Six here is the state of the Pools going into the final weekend of group games.

Pool One

A victory for Saracens over Edinburgh would see them confirmed as pool winners. Munster have to defeat Racing Metro at Thomond Park and hope that Saracens lose to Edinburgh in order to top the pool. If both Munster and Saracens win, then Munster need results elsewhere to go in their favour if they're to emerge as one of the two best runners-up. Racing Metro are still mathematically in the equation, but they would need a bonus-point win in Limerick as well a particular set of results elsewhere to secure a best runners-up spot.

Pool Two

It is all about the mouth-watering Leicester Tigers v Toulouse showdown at Welford Road on Sunday. A win for either of the former champions would settle the pool. Defeat for Toulouse could still see them in contention for a best runners-up place; defeat for Leicester could leave them in contention for Challenge Cup qualification at best.

Pool Three

Win, lose or draw at Biarritz on Friday, Harlequins are already guaranteed a home quarterfinal and vying with Clermont and Toulon for the top ranking of the eight qualifiers. A bonus-point win would see them confirmed as number one seeds. A win for Biarritz could put them in contention both for a best runner-up place and for Challenge Cup qualification.

Pool Four

Already sure of a spot in the last eight, Ulster go to Castres Olympique in search of a first European Cup win on French soil. Victory could ensure a home quarterfinal depending on results elsewhere while defeat would see them on the road in the knockout stage. Northampton Saints travel to Glasgow Warriors in contention for a best runners-up place and for qualification for the Challenge Cup. Meanwhile, Castres would need a lot of favourable results to book a best runners-up spot, but if they defeat Ulster, the Challenge Cup is on the radar.

Pool Five

Even a losing bonus point at Scarlets would almost certainly guarantee Clermont Auvergne a home quarterfinal at fortress Stade Marcel Michelin. Leinster go to Exeter Chiefs chasing a best runners-up place. A win is the minimum requirement for the reigning champions, while five points will probably be needed along with favourable results elsewhere.

Pool Six

A losing bonus point at Montpellier will be enough to secure Toulon a home quarterfinal, but a home win for Montpellier in Saturday's all-French clash will vastly change the landscape for the best runners-up places - maybe the key game of the round.
 

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 19h30 Rodney Parade
Fri, 12 February 2016
Leinster v Zebre 19h30 RDS Arena
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 19h30 Kingspan Stadium
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 19h45 Kingston Park
Scarlets v Edinburgh 20h15 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 6 6 0 0 28
Ulster 6 4 0 2 18
Oyonnax 6 1 0 5 7
Toulouse 6 1 0 5 5
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 16
Bordeaux 6 3 0 3 16
Ospreys 6 3 0 3 16
Clermont Auvergne 6 3 0 3 15
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Racing Metro 6 4 1 1 22
Northampton Saints 6 4 1 1 19
Glasgow Warriors 6 3 0 3 14
Scarlets 6 0 0 6 2
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 6 5 0 1 23
Stade Francais 6 4 0 2 19
Munster 6 3 0 3 15
Treviso 6 0 0 6 0
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Wasps 6 4 0 2 20
Toulon 6 5 0 1 20
Bath 6 2 0 4 10
Leinster 6 1 0 5 6
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