Here’s What Each Province Needs To Qualify & What They Need For A Home Champions Cup Quarter Final
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It was a good weekend for the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup with Munster, Leinster and Ulster all securing bonus-point wins in penultimate round of pool games.
Munster kickstarted the weekend with a 41-15 demolition of Gloucester at Kingsholm, before a depleted Leinster side showed their depth with an impressive 29-13 win over French giants Toulouse at the RDS Arena. Ulster then capped off the weekend with a hard-fought 26-22 win over Racing 92.
But how are things shaping up for the Irish provinces heading into the final round? Pretty good all things considered. First let’s take a look at the overall table.
So at the end of Round 5 all three Irish provinces are in a qualifying position (top eight), with holders Leinster currently in a home quarter final position. But it’s not over yet, and the tricky part is still being in a qualifying position come the end of Round 6.
The southern province are currently top of Pool 2, but outside a home quarter final spot with the lowest tally of the five table-toppers. With the points tally so low in their pool, Munster will need to stay top in order to ensure safe passage to the quarter finals. With Exeter just four points behind them a win in Thomond Park along with either a try-bonus or denying Munster a losing bonus, will put the English side through as it will come down to head-to-head so it’s all still to play for.
In terms of a home quarter final, Munster have an outside chance here. The most realistic scenario would be for Montpellier to beat Edinburgh in Scotland and Munster to beat Exeter. If Montpellier managed this with a try BP, then Munster would have to stay ahead on points difference (currently 13 points.)
The holders have their faith in their own hands heading into the final round. Even if they lose to Wasps at the Ricoh, 20 points should be plenty to put them through. But Leinster will of course want a home quarter final and a win against Dai Young’s side will ensure that.
In previous years 18 points might have been enough to get through as one of the best second place teams, but it’s unlikely this year. Ulster will need to get something at Welford Road against Leicester Tigers to ensure passage to the last eight. In terms of a home quarter, Ulster will need Racing to slip up at home to Scarlets and get a win on the road themselves. Stranger things have happened.