How can Glasgow achieve what they have never managed before? Progression to the quarter finals of the Champions Cup would put the exclamation mark on the improvement wrought by Gregor Townsend in his 5 years at the club – and set the minimum standard for Dave Rennie to follow in the coming seasons.
It’s possible that 17 points will be enough to see the Warriors through to the latter stages of the tournament. That’s based on On Top Of The Moon’s assessment of the remaining games in the other 4 pools, giving qualifiers looking like this:
- Saracens 27 points
- Clermont 26 points
- Leinster 25 points
- Wasps 23 points
- Toulouse 18 points
- Ulster 18 points
Toulon and Montpellier would be the 2 second-placed sides to miss out with both French clubs on 16 points.
It seems reasonably safe to assume that both Leicester and Munster will take bonus point wins from their remaining games against a disinterested Racing 92 side. That leaves the matches at Scotstoun (Glasgow v Munster) and Welford Road (Leicester v Glasgow) as the ties that will decide the pool…
What if Glasgow win both their remaining games?
Glasgow take 10 points:
The Warriors will finish 1st in the group on 23 points as long as Munster do not get 2 bonus points at Scotstoun.
Glasgow take 9 points:
The Warriors will finish 1st in the group on 22 points if they can deny Munster any bonus points at Scotstoun.
Glasgow take 8 points:
The Warriors will finish 2nd to Munster – but are still guaranteed to qualify for the quarter finals.
What if Glasgow lose to Munster but beat Leicester?
The Warriors will finish 2nd in the pool on a minimum of 17 and maximum of 20 points (dependent on bonus points collected). Any of those totals should be enough to see them qualify if OTOTM’s 16 point assessment holds true for Toulon and Montpellier.
The key games for ensuring the 2 French heavyweights cannot make it to any more than 16 points are:
Round 5 – Leinster v Montpellier. A win for the home side with no LBP for the visitors.
Round 6 – Saracens v Toulon. A home win with no more than 1 BP for the French side.
What if Glasgow beat Munster but lose to Leicester?
This scenario has the added wrinkle of bringing Leicester back into contention for 2nd place in the group and that spot in the latter stages of the tournament. The only way for Leicester to do this would be to get to 18 points with BP wins over both Racing and Glasgow.
To keep hold of second place then on top of beating Munster, Glasgow would need to ensure they pick up at least 1 bonus point from the final 2 games – or prevent Leicester picking up a try bonus point at Welford Road.
If simply qualifying is the goal then in some ways a win in the Round 6 match against Leicester is more important for the Warriors than a victory over Munster at Scotstoun. If ambitions stretch further than that though then 2 wins would be a real statement and would allow Glasgow (and Scotland) to go into the rest of the season with a huge amount of momentum and confidence.
Both Munster and Leicester may well have something to play for in their matches against the Warriors. Barring a freak result against Racing at Thomond Park in their last match, Munster are guaranteed to qualify from the pool – but they need a win against Glasgow to keep them in contention for a home quarter final. A bonus point win in France in Round 5 might keep Leicester just close enough that they could still overtake the Warriors at Welford Road.
From Glasgow’s point of view this means that they will need to play their best 2 games of the season so far in terms of intensity, focus and precision if they want to go where no other Warriors’ side has ever been before.