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Nearly there now......or are we?


  • Nearly there now......or are we?

    It’s getting like “The Quick and the Dead”, the Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Leo De Caprio movie. There will be a number of Shoot-outs next weekend with the winners going through and the losers going home. A number of third-placed teams are in a position to pass out the losing teams.

    Pool One P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Ulster 5 4 0 1 125 92 33 14 11 1 0 17
    2 La Rochelle 5 3 0 2 140 114 26 16 16 3 1 16
    3 Wasps 5 2 0 3 128 114 14 17 14 3 1 12
    4 Harlequins 5 0 0 5 99 172 -73 14 20 2 1 7

    Sunday 15:15 Wasps v Ulster; La Rochelle v Harlequins.

    The big news here was ‘Quins win over Wasps. Wasps got two Bonuses which might be useful although maybe not. Ulster got the win but another Try or even a score would have been very useful. Still, they are where they are. Because they lost the Head to Head, they need to match La Rochelle’s points on Sunday to stay ahead of them. Of course if they lose 5-0 in Coventry they will have lost that Head to Head and be behind Wasps as well and hoping that Harlequins repeat Saturday’s heroics next week.
    One Point for La Rochelle along with a 5-0 for Wasps would give a three-way tie on 17 Points. Ulster would lose the nine points from the two Harlequins games, La Rochelle would lose six and Wasps would lose seven leaving La Rochelle winning the Pool and Wasps second. 17 Points might be enough to get a Second place spot.

    Ulster will win the Pool if they get Five points in Coventry. Four would be enough if La Rochelle don’t get the winning Bonus. Three would only do if La Rochelle fail to win. Two or one would do if La Rochelle also get two or one and none would only do if La Rochelle get none and Wasps don’t get five.

    La Rochelle need to get one point at least more than Ulster. A fiver with Ulster not getting one would do. Four would do but only if Ulster fail to win. Three or two would do only if Ulster get two or one. One point would do but only if Ulster get none.

    Wasps can only win the pool if they beat Ulster 5-0 and La Rochelle get no points from the Harlequins game.

    ‘Quins could end up being Kingmakers with another display like the Wasps win.

    PK’s Predictions
    La Rochelle 21
    Ulster 18
    Wasps 14
    Harlequins 7

    Pool Two P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Clermont 5 4 0 1 141 97 44 14 13 2 0 18
    2 Ospreys 5 2 1 2 145 124 21 17 15 3 2 15
    3 Saracens 5 2 1 2 143 132 11 17 11 2 1 13
    4 Northampton 5 1 0 4 101 177 -76 15 24 2 0 6
    Saturday 15:15 Saracens v Northampton Clermont v Ospreys

    Northampton surprised everyone, except possibly themselves (and the Plastic Paddy), by beating Clermont leaving them pointless. The Saracens heart hasn't met the Silver Bullet, although their crown hangs by a thread. They cannot win the Pool but are still in the running for a second placed spot. “The Shoot-out at the Marcel Michelin” will decide this Pool. Clermont might be able to lose and still go through but the Ospreys almost certainly can’t.

    Clermont must finish second at worst. They need three points to win the Pool. Two from a draw or a 2-4 loss would also do. A 1-4 or a 2-5 loss would send it to the Head to Head which Clermont lead by five points but trail two Tries to three. Any other two, one or zero point result can’t win them the Pool but might be enough for a second place spot.

    The Ospreys must win 5-1, 5-0 or 4-0 to be sure of winning the Pool. If they win by five, six or seven and match Clermont’s tries they will also win. Three points won't in the Pool and would leave them on 18 and vulnerable to a fiver from Sarries. Similarly, two, one or no points are of little use.

    Saracens can only progress by beating Northampton, preferably with the bonus and hoping that Clermont beat Ospreys. That would leave them on 17 or 18 points and hoping that that would be enough for a second placed spot. If the Opsreys win, Clermont will be on 18 minimum and uncatchable having beaten Saracens twice.

    Northampton, having beaten Clermont 5-0 will fancy themselves to upset Sarries. (Kevin Keegan has just come to mind).

    PK’s Predictions
    Clermont 23
    Saracens 18
    Ospreys 15
    Northampton 6

    Pool Three P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Leinster 5 5 0 0 153 79 74 19 10 3 0 23 1
    2 Exeter 5 3 0 2 117 89 28 15 10 1 1 14 10
    3 Montpellier 5 2 0 3 116 140 -24 16 20 3 2 13
    4 Glasgow 5 0 0 5 100 178 -78 14 24 1 1 2
    Saturday 13:00 Glasgow v Exeter; Montpellier v Leinster

    Well, Leinster did as expected, giving Glasgow a right seeing to, winning the Pool and they’ll finish up as first seeds unless they get nowt in Montpellier and Clermont or Toulon get a fiver and turn over the Points difference. Leinster are 30 points ahead of Clermont and 37 ahead of Toulon. I don’t think so. Even if that happens, Lansdowne Road Management can start printing the Quarter Final Tickets.
    Exeter really need to get a Fiver in Glasgow and hope for favourable results elsewhere. Four might do but the other results need to be even more favourable. See below.
    Montpellier, being a point lower than Exeter, need a fiver (v Leinster !!), Exeter to foul up and favours elsewhere. In any case, 18 Points might not be enough. Four will probably be not enough
    Glasgow might foul up Exeter’s plans, given that they are at home, we’ll see.
    PK’s Predictions
    Leinster 27
    Exeter 18
    Montpellier 14
    Glasgow 3

    Pool Four P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Munster 5 3 1 1 119 84 35 12 8 1 1 16 5
    2 Racing 5 3 0 2 105 85 20 12 9 1 2 15 9
    3 Castres 5 2 1 2 108 113 -5 13 14 2 0 12
    4 Leicester 5 1 0 4 98 148 -50 11 17 1 1 6

    Sunday 13:00 Leicester v Racing; Munster v Castres
    Right, Munster, despite losing in Paris, stayed ahead of Racing and won the Head to Head. Any win on Sunday will win the Pool. Whether that will be good enough to get a Home Quarter Final remains to be seen. No matter what happens, they can afford to get one point fewer than Racing in the last round and still win the Pool.
    Racing need to get two points more than Munster do on Sunday to win the Pool. Failing that, they can get 20 points max, which might be enough to get through as a second placed team.
    To win the Pool, Castres need to beat Munster, 4-0, 5-0 or 5-1 and hope that Racing get four points fewer than Castres.
    Leicester need to get a bit of pride, although MOC has said he’ll be resting his Internationals next week as well.
    PK’s Predictions
    Munster 21
    Racing 20
    Castres 12
    Leicester 6

    1 Toulon 5 4 0 1 132 95 37 14 9 1 1 18 3
    2 Llanelli 5 3 0 2 132 96 36 17 10 3 2 17 6
    3 Bath 5 3 0 2 104 93 11 9 10 0 1 13
    4 Treviso 5 0 0 5 69 153 -84 8 19 1 2 3

    Saturday 17:30 Llanelli v Toulon; Treviso v Bath
    Llanelli really upset the Apple Tart (to use a Bertieism) Friday night in Bath. The “Shoot-out at the Parc” will decide this Pool. Any win for them on Saturday will win the Pool. Anything else will win Toulon the Pool.
    Toulon will win the Pool as long as they avoid defeat in Llanelli.
    Bath need a winner in Llanelli, a fiver in Treviso and the Loser in Llanelli to get nowt.
    PK’s Predictions:
    Llanelli 21
    Toulon 19
    Bath 18
    Treviso 3

    If these Predictions work out. (33 for 50 so far!!) The Quarter finals will be:
    Leinster v Saracens
    Clermont v Toulon
    La Rochelle/Munster/Llanelli v Racing
    La Rochelle/ Munster/ Llanelli v La Rochelle/ Munster/ Llanelli

    The Semi finals will be:
    Leinster/Saracens v La Rochelle/Munster/Llanelli
    Clermont/Toulon v La Rochelle/ Munster/Llanelli/ Racing

    God knows where they might be.

    If things stay as they are at the moment, the Quarter Finals will be:
    Leinster v Ospreys
    Clermont v La Rochelle
    Toulon v Llanelli
    Ulster v Munster
    The Semi-Finals will be
    Leinster/Ospreys v Ulster/Munster. In Ireland unless Ospreys and Ulster win in which case it’ll be in Wales.
    Clermont/La Rochelle v Toulon/ Llanelli. In France unless Llanelli win in which case it’ll be in Wales.
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