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It's Halftime How're things going?


  • It's Halftime How're things going?

    Lads (Kerry meaning)

    These are my prognostications for what they're worth:

    Pool One
    1 La Rochelle 3 3 0 0 124 73 51 15 10 3 0 15 1
    2 Ulster 3 2 0 1 53 55 -2 5 6 0 0 8
    3 Wasps 3 1 0 2 79 78 1 10 9 2 0 6
    4 Harlequins 3 0 0 3 42 92 -50 5 10 0 1 1

    Next Fixtures:
    Friday 15th Dec 19:45 Ulster v Harlequins
    Sunday 17th Dec 13:00 Wasps v La Rochelle

    La Rochelle are on a roll at the moment with maximum points from their three games. A win in Coventry on Sunday would put them on 19 points at least and in all probability through. Failing that, they must visit Ulster in Round Five, which could be tricky, but have Harlequins at home in the Final Round and should wrap things up there. You’d fancy them to go through.

    Ulster’s only loss so far was in La Rochelle, but their failure to get any bonus points leaves them seven behind La Rochelle and ranked fourth of the second placed teams. Three wins from here would put them on 20 points minimum and almost certainly through. That would mean winning in Coventry in the Last Round. We’ll see.

    As stated above, Wasps host La Rochelle on Sunday and then go to the Stoop. Two wins there would leave them on 14 at least and Ulster possibly on 16 and it would be winner takes all in Coventry last day out.

    Harlequins are rock bottom on one point and need miracles from here. They could be spoilers for Wasps or Ulster (or both) but I can’t see them prospering in the last round in La Rochelle

    PK’s Prediction:
    La Rochelle 24
    Ulster 18
    Wasps 15
    Harlequins 1

    Pool Two
    1 Clermont 3 3 0 0 96 42 54 12 6 2 0 14 2
    2 Saracens 3 2 0 1 107 93 14 15 11 2 0 10 6
    3 Ospreys 3 1 0 2 98 94 4 13 12 2 2 8
    4 Northampton 3 0 0 3 52 124 -72 7 18 1 0 1

    Next Fixtures
    Sunday 17th Dec 15:15 Ospreys v Northampton; Clermont v Saracens.

    A wave of good feeling swept over these parts on Monday night when Clermont gave Saracens a right seeing to in Hendon. More of the same in the Marcel Michelin on Sunday would send us into Welford Road in right good humour, putting Clermont onto 18 or 19 points and almost certainly through. They go to Franklins Gardens in Round Five and, given Northampton’s form to date you would expect them to win there, making sure of a home QF.

    Saracens are in a bit of a precarious position. If they lose on Sunday and the Ospreys win, they would be down in third and going to the Liberty in Round Five needing a win to have any chance of progression.

    Unlike Ulster, the Ospreys have got four Bonus points and are on eight points having only won once. A win on Sunday would put them on 12 or 13 but they have Saracens at home and Clermont away. Whatever about beating Sarries to go to 16 to 18, they would probably need something from Clermont to be sure to progress. Unlikely. You never know, though.

    Northampton are going from bad to worse. It’s a long time since an English team conceded 124 points in three European games to end up with a points difference of -72.

    PK’s Prediction:
    Clermont 28
    Saracens 19
    Ospreys 13
    Northampton 1

    Pool Three
    1 Leinster 3 3 0 0 76 43 33 10 5 2 0 14 3
    2 Exeter 3 2 0 1 59 57 2 7 8 0 0 8 8
    3 Montpellier 3 1 0 2 70 73 -3 10 10 2 2 8
    4 Glasgow 3 0 0 3 55 87 -32 7 11 0 1 1

    Next Fixtures
    Saturday 16th Dec 13:00 Montpellier v Glasgow; 15:15 Leinster v Exeter.

    Leinster are looking good on 14 after three wins. Another win on Saturday would put them on 18/19 and probably through. They could even win the Pool with the right result in Montpellier. They should beat Glasgow at home in Round Five to make sure with a game to spare.

    Exeter, like Ulster above, have no bonus points and could suffer as a result. They need a win in Lansdowne on Saturday and another v Montpellier in Round Five to get back on track. They won’t want to go to Glasgow in Round Six needing a result.

    Montpellier are level with Exeter despite having only one win as a result of their bonus points. They should hammer Glasgow on Saturday and go to 13 to set up a crunch game in Sandy Park in Round Five. They have Leinster at home in the last round and if Leinster have already won the Pool, they would fancy themselves to win and get second spot.

    Glasgow, like Harlequins in Pool One, could be the party poopers for Exeter. They have been very disappointing by their own standards so far and will want to make some sort of impression.

    PK’s Predictions:
    Leinster 24
    Montpellier 17
    Exeter 12
    Glasgow 5

    Pool Four
    1 Munster 3 2 1 0 64 34 30 8 4 1 0 11 5
    2 Castres 3 1 1 1 62 84 -22 7 10 1 0 7
    3 Racing* 3 1 0 2 42 48 -6 5 5 0 2 6
    4 Leicester* 3 1 0 2 82 84 -2 10 11 1 1 6
    * Some Tables have Leicester in Second place. This is wrong. Racing lead the head to head 4-1 at present.
    Next Fixtures
    Saturday 16th Dec 15:15 Racing v Castres
    Sunday 17th Dec 17:30 Leicester v Munster

    Munster are in the driving seat but need a win on Sunday to stay there. If Munster win on Sunday, they will go to 15 or 16 with Leicester on 6, 7 or 8 and either Racing on 10 or 11 or Castres on 11 or 12 depending on Saturday’s result. Leicester would effectively be out barring miracles.

    If Racing were to win on Saturday, a loss in Paris could leave Munster on 15 with Racing on 14, 15 or 16. Munster have Castres at home in the last round and Racing go to Leicester so Munster might need Racing not to win in Leicester as well as a win in Limerick to top the Pool. 19 points would probably be enough to go through in second.
    If Castres were to win on Saturday, a loss in Paris would leave Munster on 15 with Castres on at least 15 if they beat Leicester. Round Six in Thomond then becomes the Pool decider.
    Losing on Sunday would leave Munster on 11, 12 or 13 with Leicester on 10 or 11 and either Racing or 10 or 11 or Castres on 11 or 12. Say, for the moment, Munster, Leicester and Racing all end up on 11. Now Munster will win the head to head over Leicester unless they lose by 24 points or more on Sunday so in that situation, two wins, matching Leicester’s Bonuses would win Munster the Pool. Another loss in Paris would mean that Munster would have to hope that Castres beat Leicester in Round Five and Leicester beat Racing in Round Six with Munster beating Castres. The only trouble with this scenario is that Castres would have lost in Paris to be on 9 max. Beating Leicester, while Munster lost in Paris, would put them ahead of Munster and still interested going to Thomond last day out.

    To summarise, in the absence of two wins in their next two games, it would be better for Munster if Castres beat Racing on Saturday.

    As explained above, a win for Castres on Saturday would benefit Munster. Not only that, it would keep them in the hunt for qualification and a win in Round Five at home to Leicester would put them on 15 points at least and, depending on other results, possibly in the hunt for Pool victory.

    Leicester are history if they don’t beat Munster on Sunday. A three point draw might be enough but only if they win the remaining two fixtures with a bonus in each to get to 19 points.

    Racing need to win on Saturday and probably in Round Five at home to Munster as well. They are perfectly capable of doing this to leave themselves going to Leicester in Round Six either in a head to head with Leicester for the Pool or hoping for a Munster Slip-up, depending on how things go in Welford Road on Sunday.

    PK’s Predictions:
    Munster 21
    Leicester 15
    Racing 14
    Castres 8

    Pool Five
    1 Toulon 3 3 0 0 75 69 6 7 6 0 0 12 4
    2 Bath 3 2 0 1 61 37 24 4 4 0 1 9 7
    3 Llanelli 3 1 0 2 66 67 -1 8 6 1 2 7
    4 Treviso 3 0 0 3 57 86 -29 6 9 1 2 3

    Next fixtures:
    Saturday 16th Dec 13:00 Treviso v Llanelli; 17:30 Bath v Toulon

    Toulon have won all three games but only have a Points difference of 6. They are doing just enough to get by but the absence of Bonus points might be costly if they were to slip up. They could do so on Saturday at the Rec but two wins in the last two rounds at home to Treviso and in Llanelli would put them on at least 20 points and through although possibly in second. A second loss, at Parc y Scarlets, say, could be fatal.

    Bath need to win on Saturday and keep winning after that. If they do, they will be on 21 at least but their visit to Treviso in Round Six might be problematic.

    Llanelli need to win in Treviso and keep winning in Bath on Round Five and at home to Toulon in Round Six. They need to recapture their Pro14 form or last season’s Knock-out form, in the new year.

    Treviso have gone close in their last two matches only losing out in the last few minutes in both. They could spoil someone’s New Year yet, possibly Bath’s.

    PK’s Predictions:
    Toulon 22
    Bath 21
    Llanelli 10
    Treviso 4

    On these predictions, and remember I have only got 20 of the 30 right in the Prediction Competition so far, the Quarter Finals would be:

    Clermont v Ulster,
    La Rochelle/ Leinster v Saracens,
    Leinster/La Rochelle v Bath,
    Toulon v Munster.

    The Semi-Finals would be:

    Clermont/Ulster v Toulon /Munster In Ireland unless it was Clermont v Toulon.

    La Rochelle/Leinster/Saracens v Leinster/La Rochelle/Bath.

    If Bath or Saracens or both win, the game would be in England. If Leinster and La Rochelle win, whoever is ranked second would get the Home Country advantage.

    At the moment, the Quarter Finals would be:

    La Rochelle v Exeter
    Clermont v Bath
    Leinster v Saracens
    Toulon v Munster

    and the Semi-Finals:

    La Rochelle/Exeter v Toulon v Munster ( In Ireland if Munster win, In England if Exeter and Toulon win and in France if La Rochelle and Toulon win)

    Clermont/Bath v Leinster /Saracens ( In England if Bath or Saracens or both win, In France if Clermont and Leinster win)
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