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Piquet's Half Time Analysis


  • Piquet's Half Time Analysis

    Right, we’re at the Halfway stage both in the Head to Head games and overall.

    In the old days, if you lost your first match, you didn't win the Heineken Cup. Munster put a stop to that in 2006. Then, if you lost your first two matches, you were out. With the change in format to allow three rather than two Pool runners up go through, that went by the wayside two years ago courtesy of Bath.

    Gerry Thornley in the Irish Times had an interesting article last week where he noted that in the last ten years, 73 of the 80 qualifiers for the Knock-out stages had either won both of their Head to Head matches or had come out of them with more Match Points than their opponents.

    In the 30 games so far, there have only been seventeen Try Bonuses which would indicate that the games are reasonably close but this is contradicted by the number of Losing Bonuses, 10.

    Pool One P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Toulouse 3 3 0 0 74 63 11 8 6 0 0 12 3
    2 Leinster 3 2 0 1 96 41 55 13 4 1 1 10 6
    3 Bath 3 0 1 2 65 74 -9 8 10 1 2 5
    4 Wasps 3 0 1 2 54 111 -57 6 15 1 0 3
    Next Fixtures: 15th Dec 15:15 Toulouse v Wasps 17:30 Leinster v Bath

    A gap is beginning to open in this Pool. It will get even wider if there are two home wins next time out.

    Leinster got the show back on the road on Saturday with a hard-fought win in Bath. They disappointed Cummiskey of the Times who expected a bonus points before the hour mark. Oh dear.
    Leinster’s returning internationals are, I think, like a thoroughbred horse having had their seasonal opener. They’ll come on a lot from the run and I’d expect them to give Bath a right seeing to on Saturday.
    That would put them on 15 points and within sight of qualification. Toulouse would be up next in the RDS and a win there would almost certainly win them the Pool. Another win in Round Six would put them on 23 points at least and well in the running for Home Field Advantage in the Knockout rounds.

    Toulouse had a good win as well and stay two points ahead of Leinster. Beating Wasps again on Saturday would put them on 16 points at least and able to afford to lose in the RDS and still qualify with a win over Bath in Round Six.

    While Bath and Wasps aren’t mathematically out of it yet, they both need serious turnarounds to progress from here.

    Pool Two P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Munster 3 2 1 0 76 37 39 9 5 1 0 11 4
    2 Gloucester 3 2 0 0 68 69 -1 7 9 0 0 8 9
    3 Castres 3 1 0 2 48 74 -26 4 7 0 1 5
    4 Exeter 3 0 1 2 54 66 -12 7 6 0 1 3
    Next Fixtures: 14th Dec 19:45 Gloucester v Exeter
    15th Dec 17:30 Castres v Munster

    Munster are a little bit ahead of where most thought they would be when the Fixtures were announced. The two points gained in Exeter, though, appear to have been devalued, in the light of Gloucester’s win there on Saturday. They have a nice three points lead at the top which means that if Gloucester were to win on Friday but get no Bonus, Munster would stay top by getting a Bonus in a loss on Saturday.
    You’d expect Castres to be more aggressive (tactically and physically) on Saturday than they were in TP. Mr Barnes will have to show them who’s Boss in the early stages.

    Wins for Munster and Exeter would leave Munster at least five points ahead of Gloucester, on 15 and in Pole Position to win the Pool. A 5 – 0 in Kingsholm, though would leave the teams level with the Head to Head depending on the Points Difference in the two matches. The last round would see Gloucester heading to a possibly disinterested Castres and Munster at home to Exeter.

    A fiver for Gloucester would leave Munster needing one themselves and, depending on the Head to Head, down in second place on 19 even if they got one. 19 points would probably be enough to Qualify but it would probably be away to one of the Top Three Racing Sarries or Leinster, maybe.

    Of course if Exeter beat Gloucester and Castres, they could be on 13, a point behind in third place and still in with a chance of qualification, coming to Thomond.

    A win for Castres over Munster, would keep them well in contention and, depending on how things went on Friday night, they might fancy themselves in Exeter in Round Five.

    Whatever happens this weekend, Munster will probably need to get points of some description in Kingsholm in Round Five if they are to keep matters in their own hands. Slip ups, while not necessarily endangering qualification would affect the chances of a Home QF and/or SF.

    Pool Three P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    Saracens 3 3 0 0 93 38 55 12 4 2 0 14 1
    Glasgow 3 2 0 1 74 47 27 9 6 2 0 10 7
    Cardiff 3 1 0 2 67 101 -34 8 13 0 0 4
    Lyon 3 0 0 3 53 101 -48 6 12 0 0 0
    Next fixtures 15th Dec 13:00 Glasgow v Lyon; Cardiff v Saracens.

    Saracens plough on. Their only missing Bonus Point was in the opening game in Glasgow. They are away to Cardiff in the Free to Air match on Saturday and a win there would put them on 18 at least and almost qualified with two rounds to go. It’s difficult to see where they would slip up. Lyon won’t put up too much of a show in Round Five and then they have Glasgow at home in Round Six. They could afford to lose to Glasgow and still end up in the middle twenties

    Glasgow have gotten over their home defeat to Sarries in Round One and picked up two fivers in away games. You’d expect them to win both return games to sit on 18 at least going to Barnet in Round Six and probably picking up a Second place spot.
    Like Pool One, while Cardiff and Lyon aren’t mathematically out of it yet, They need miracles (serious ones in the case of Lyon, two more points for Saracens puts them out.)

    Pool Four P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
    1 Racing 3 3 0 0 94 51 43 12 8 2 0 14 2
    2 Ulster 3 2 0 1 61 78 -17 9 9 1 0 9 8
    3 Leicester 3 1 0 2 81 87 -6 10 11 2 0 6
    4 Llanelli 3 0 0 3 64 84 -20 8 11 0 2 2
    Next Fixtures 14th Dec Ulster v Llanelli; 16th 13:00 Leicester v Racing

    Racing have a touch of the Saracens in regards to their progress to the knock-outs. Another win in Leicester would put them on 18 at least and within touching distance of qualification. Leicester will run them close, they were within ten points last time out and scored four tries.

    Ulster need to beat Llanelli again and hope Leicester do them a favour. Two home wins would lead Racing and Ulster separated only by Bonuses. Racing visit Ravenhill in Round Five and another home win there would put Ulster ahead and needing to get something in Welford Rd in Round Six and hope Llanelli win in Paris if they were to win the Pool. Two wins, picking up a bonus or two puts them in the high teens and in the running for a second spot.

    Leicester need to keep keep winning from here on. A few bonuses would be useful too.

    Llanelli can theoretically get to 17 points. They’d need to get bonuses in both Belfast and Paris. I don’t think so. Even 17 might not be enough to be any good.

    • mr chips
      mr chips commented
      Editing a comment

      Pool Five P W D L F A PD TF TA TB LB PTS Rank
      1 Edinburgh 3 2 0 1 86 48 38 10 6 2 1 11 5
      2 Newcastle 3 2 0 1 62 76 -14 5 8 0 0 8 10
      3 Toulon 3 1 0 2 77 94 -17 9 10 1 1 6
      4 Montpellier 3 1 0 2 69 76 -7 8 8 1 1 6

      Next Fixtures 16th Dec 15:15 Newcastle v Edinburgh; Montpellier v Toulon.

      Edinburgh lead Newcastle by three bonuses to none, having given them a good hiding last time out. They are the only team with a bonus from each match. This could be very useful later on. Winning in Newcastle would put them between five and eight points ahead. They might need all of it. They visit Toulon in Round Five before a hosting Montpellier.
      If Newcastle get nothing and there was a draw in France, Edinburgh would be on fifteen at least ahead of three teams on eight. One more win would do them.

      If Newcastle beat Edinburgh, they could overtake them, depending on Bonuses. Say they win 4-0. Newcastle would be first on 12 with Edinburgh on 11, the winners in Montpellier on 10 at least and the losers on six to eight.
      Home wins for both French teams in Round Five would turn the Pool on its head and lead to a very interesting start to the last weekend, where both French teams are away. Two home wins there would re-invert the table and who knows what might happen.

      Toulon had an awful start by their standards (Losing to Newcastle at home!!!) but seem to be waking up if their last performance is any indication. On the other hand, Montpellier started reasonably well but have deteriorated since. Whoever wins on Sunday might be re-inspired and two more wins would see them into the high teens or better and if not winning the Pool, going through in second.

      At the moment, the Last Eight are

      Saracens v Ulster
      Racing v Glasgow
      Toulouse v Leinster
      Munster v Edinburgh

      The Semi Finals would be

      Saracens/Ulster v Munster/ Edinburgh, in England if Saracens win. If Ulster win, the game will be in Ireland if Munster win or in Scotland if Edinburgh win.

      Racing/Glasgow v Toulouse/Leinster, in France if Racing or Toulouse or both win. In Ireland if neither win.
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