Here's what each Irish province needs to get a home quarter final
The picture is much clearer now.
What a weekend of rugby for the Irish sides. Four European games and four victories.
Munster got the party started on Friday by dismantling Gloucester 41-15 over at Kingsholm. Leinster were up next, on Saturday afternoon, and they secured a bonus point win over Toulouse to avenge their loss to the French side in October.
Connacht cruised to a Challenge Cup win over Sale Sharks and Ulster won a nerve-jangler 26-22 against last year's beaten finalists, Racing 92.
There are still a few Champions Cup games to be played but here is what each province needs to get themselves a home quarter-final.
Beating Toulouse and getting the bonus point puts Leinster in a great position to host a last-eight game at the Aviva Stadium. They are away to Wasps in their final pool game and should be able to win without a bonus point to get that home quarter. Here is the top two in Pool 1:
- LEINSTER - 20 pts (+98 points difference), next match (Wasps away)
- TOULOUSE - 17 pts (+10 diff), next match (Bath home)
Saracens and Racing 92 are their big threats to get top seeding so the reigning champs may have to go for a tryscoring bonus to get there. The advantage Leinster have here is that they go out in the final round of matches, on Sunday.
Ran roughshod over Gloucester to take control of Pool 2. Now sitting on 17 points after three wins, a draw and that loss to Castres. Next up are Exeter, who would need to beat Castres and get a bonus point to keep their knock-out stage chances alive. Here is the Pool 1 top two:
- MUNSTER - 17 pts (+64 points diff), next match (Exeter home)
- CASTRES - 9 pts after 4 games (-25 diff), next matches (Exeter away, Castres home)
A win at Thomond Park, next weekend, would leave Munster on 21 points so they may need to get that tryscoring bonus - to reach 22. That would give them a chance of bringing a team back to Limerick for the quarters.
As Michael Lowry's tackle on Leone Nakarawa (below) demonstrates, Ulster were well up for the visit of Racing 92.
Ulster opted against going for a try-scoring bonus point when they were awarded a 79th minute penalty. Getting a converted penalty would have left them on 19 points and Racing on 20 points.
Instead, they let Will Addison take a kick at goal to run the clock down. They botched that, giving Racing a restart but Addison claimed and kicked out of touch leaving the pool's top two looking like this:
- RACING - 21 pts (points difference +62), next match - Scarlets (home)
- ULSTER - 18 pts (+2 diff), next match - Leicester (away)
It is most likely that Racing will beat injury-hit Scarlets in Paris and get a bonus point while doing it. Ulster's only chance of getting a home quarter-final is to beat Leicester Tigers at Welford Road. Do that with a bonus point and they're in with a good shout if Racing should suffer a shock loss.