The state of play:
Saracens finish off at home to Edinburgh in their last ever game at Vicarage Road, whilst Munster are at home to Racing Metro on the Sunday. The Munster-Saracens tie breakers are level so if they end up level it will go on tries scored, which given the results needed to get level will perhaps favour Munster. Saracens are win and in, whilst Munster will know if they can win the group and how many tries they need by the time they play and Racing will also know if their slim hopes of qualification remain alive.
Tigers and Toulouse are in this weekend's only winner takes all match and with it taking place last on the Sunday both sides will know what is required to qualify or even get a home quarter final. Despite what Sky might have told you on Sunday Welford Road could still host a Heineken Cup Quarter Final.
First of all we have to win the group, and that means either getting a 4 try bonus point win or denying Toulouse both the losing bonus point and the try bonus point. On 20 points we need 2 results to go our way; Ulster have to lose away to Castres getting only one point, we also need to match their try count, AND Saracens have to lose to Edinburgh, with Tigers scoring 2 fewer tries than Sarries, OR Saracens draw with Edinburgh without getting the try bonus point.
Compared to the following that is simple!
To get through as a best runner up on 20 points we need 2/3 of the following to happen
- Montpelier to lose at home to Toulon getting only 1 bonus point (we cannot win a tie breaker on 20 points with Montpelier)
- Munster to score no more than 6 tries, and only 3 more tries than us OR Saracens to score no more than 5 tries, and only 2 more tries than us, but lose to Edinburgh OR Saracens draw with Edinburgh scoring no more than 3 tries.
- Leinster to score no more than 7 tries and no more than 4 more than us away to Exeter.
To get through on 19 points (we draw scoring 4 tries or more) we need 4/5 to happen:
- Montpelier to lose and get only one bonus point scoring one fewer try than we do.
- Munster to win without a bonus point (3 tries or fewer).
- Leinster to win without a bonus point (3 tries or fewer).
- Biarritz to score 2 fewer tries than we do at home to Harlequins.
- Northampton not to win by at least 20 points scoring at least 12 tries and scoring 8 more tries than we do away to Glasgow.
To get through on 18 points (we get both bonus points or draw with 3 tries or fewer) we need 5/6 to happen:
- Montpelier to lose by more than 7, scoring no more than one try (should get the try bonus) or no tries (should we draw and then we would need 3 tries to win the tie break).
- Munster to lose or draw scoring fewer than 3 tries OR Munster to draw scoring no more than 4 more tries than we do
- Leinster to lose or draw scoring fewer than 3 tries OR Leinster to draw scoring no more than 5 more tries than we do
- Biarritz to win scoring no more than 2 tries or draw scoring no more than 1 try while we score 3 tries
- Northampton to win scoring no more than 3 tries
- Castres to win scoring no more than 8 more tries than we do and at least 12 in total at home to Ulster.
To qualify on 17 points we need all of the following things to happen:
- Munster to lose to Racing Metro at home scoring no more than 4 more tries than Tigers or draw scoring no more than 3 tries, should Racing Metro win they score no more than 10 more tries than Tigers do.
- Leinster to lose scoring no more than 5 more tries than Tigers do, or draw scoring no more than 3 tries.
- Biarritz to lose; or draw scoring no more than 3 tries.
- Saints to lose; or draw scoring no more than 7 more tries than Tigers
- Castres to win scoring no more than 3 tries
To qualify on 16 points (yes it could happen!) we need the following:
- Racing Metro beat Munster scoring no more than 3 tries, Munster gain only one bonus point and score no more than 6 tries and no more than 3 more than we do.
- Leinster to lose by more than 7 points whilst scoring less no more than 7 tries and no more than 5 more than we do, or score no more than 3 tries and lose by less than 7 points.
- Biarritz lose by more than 7 or score no more than 3 tries
- Northampton lose scoring fewer than 7 tries, or draw scoring scoring no more than 3 tries.
- Castres lose or draw scoring no more than 10 tries and no more than 7 more than Tigers.
Harlequins have won this pool and have already secured a home Quarter Final to boot. They face Biarritz away to determine what seed they will be with top spot there for the taking.
Thanks to having the tie break over Northampton Ulster have already won this pool. A bonus point win away to Castres would give them a "home" Quarter Final, though it might have to be played in Dublin, whilst a loss will probably see them going away. Northampton have an outside chance of a runners up spot and are away to winless Glasgow.
Clermont have won this pool and have all but tied up a home quarter final thanks to a huge advantage in tries scored. They travel to Llanelli and will surely win to secure the home Quarter Final. Leinster could well qualify as a best runner up if they rack up the tries against Exeter at Sandy Park, they need to score more tries in that game than Munster manage at home to Racing Metro the next day. They are behind the 8 ball but can we really right off a side of their pedigree?
Montpelier face Toulon at home with the outside chance of winning the pool should they turn over Toulon 5-0 in match points whilst also scoring 4 more tries than Toulon and winning by 22 points. A simple win will however put them through whilst a loss leaves them in danger of going out at the hands of the Irish provinces. Unless Saracens score 14 tries more than Toulon they have already secured a home quarter final so will the motivation be there if Montpelier have a lead in the second half?
So after all of that what do I think will happen?
Well I really do think we will beat Toulouse and win the group. So will we get a home Quarter Final? Probably not, it isn't impossible to see Saracens losing at home to Edinburgh but it is bloody unlikely. So where will we go? Best guess is Toulon if they lose to Montpelier, but could be either Clermont or Harlequins is Toulon win and either side lose.