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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 16 October, 2018
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Here's how the race for the 8 Champions Cup quarter-final berths stands

A big day of European rugby awaits tomorrow.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THE QUALIFICATION PICTURE has become a little clear following the conclusion of three pools today, but the race for the Champions Cup quarter-finals is set to go down to the wire tomorrow afternoon.

Scarlets’ stunning victory over Toulon has secured their passage through as Pool 5 winners and last year’s runners-up, Clermont, have also safely advanced thanks to their defeat of Ospreys earlier.

Three-time winners Toulon, meanwhile, are also confirmed as one of the three best runners-up having earned a losing bonus-point at Parc y Scarlets, leaving four more berths up for grab when the pool stages conclude on Sunday.

Here is the top eight as it stands:

1. Leinster (Q) — 27 points
2. Clermont (Q) — 22 points
3. Scarlets (Q) — 21 points
4. Ulster — 17 points
5. Munster — 16 points
6. Toulon (q) — 19 points
7. Saracens — 18 points
8. La Rochelle 16 points

Both Munster and Ulster know what they need to do to stay there with Johann van Graan’s side hosting Castres at Thomond Park [KO 1pm] and the northern province away at Wasps [KO 3.15pm].

Following today’s results, Munster will secure a place in the knockout stages with a win of any kind but a bonus-point victory would give them home advantage for their quarter-final tie.

Similarly, victory for Ulster at the Ricoh Arena would see them advance for the first time since 2014 — but Racing 92 (15), Wasps (12) and Castres (12) are all also still in the hunt for qualification.

It’s also worth noting that if teams from different pools finish on the same points, qualification/rankings will be determined as follows:

(i) the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage; or
(ii) if equal, the number of tries scored in the pool stage; or
(iii) if equal, the club with the fewest number of players suspended under disciplinary rules in the pool stage; or
(iv) if unresolved, by drawing lots.

Based on the current top eight standings, this is the quarter-final line-up:

  • Leinster v La Rochelle
  • Clermont v Saracens
  • Scarlets v Toulon
  • Ulster v Munster

But there is plenty of rugby still to be played and plenty of twists and turns to come.

Sunday’s fixtures:

  • Pool 4: Leicester Tigers v Racing 92, 1pm
  • Pool 4: Munster v Castres, 1pm
  • Pool 1: Wasps v Ulster, 3.15pm
  • Pool 1: La Rochelle v Harlequins, 3.15pm

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

Stunning Scarlets beat Toulon to book first Champions Cup quarter since 2007

Seven-try Saracens face anxious wait after keeping quarter-final hopes alive

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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