For fans of Glasgow and Edinburgh this January brings the heady experience of still being in contention for Champions Cup qualification as the pool stage reaches its climax. Between them the two Scottish sides have made the knockout rounds of Europe’s premier tournament just 4 times in 36 attempts. Getting both teams into this season’s quarter-finals would be a remarkable achievement.
To that end let On Top Of The Moon be your guide to the sequence of results which maximises the pro teams’ chances of progression. Who should the Warriors’ faithful and Edinburgh ultras be cheering on over another big weekend of rugby?
For Glasgow the main target is to at least get into one of the spots for the three best 2nd placed sides in the pool stages. That means finishing with more points than the runners up in at least 2 other groups. As things stand the best chances in order are:
Pool 2 – could be any of Castres / Exeter / Gloucester
Pool 5 – hopefully Montpellier or Newcastle
Pool 3 – probably Ulster
Pool 1 – either Toulouse or Leinster
There’s almost no likelihood of the runner-up in the Warriors’ pool collecting more points than Toulouse or Leinster so essentially it has to be 2 from 3 from the remaining sections.
For Edinburgh winning their pool has to be the goal. In many ways the game against Toulon doesn’t matter – victory over Montpellier in Round 6 would guarantee Richard Cockerill’s side top their group. However a win on the south coast of France this weekend would put the capital club in prime position for a home quarter-final at Murrayfield rather than a lower seeding and a road trip.
Friday 11 Jan 2019
A Gloucester win over Munster, ideally with neither side getting any BPs, increases Edinburgh’s chances of a home draw in the quarter finals.
Saturday 12 Jan 2019
A Newcastle upset against Montpellier combined with an Edinburgh win would see the Scottish side qualify with a match to spare. Neither side getting a BP would also help Glasgow’s cause in the race for the 2nd placed teams.
It’s hard to see anything other than Leinster and Toulouse both comfortably qualifying from their group. The Dubliners would probably need to lose both their remaining games in order for Glasgow to finish ahead of them in the seedings.
Bath and Wasps cannot qualify from their pool. Edinburgh fans may feel honour bound to cheer on former club legend Todd Blackadder’s current side though!
A Racing win over Ulster (with no losing BP for the home team) keeps the Irish side in range for Glasgow – and also keeps alive the chances of a knockout stages meeting with former Warriors Finn Russell and Leone Nakarawa at their club’s bonkers stadium in Paris…
Edinburgh to beat Toulon obviously!
Sunday 13 Jan 2019
Exeter to beat Castres (ideally with no try BP) is the call. If that comes off then a BP win for Glasgow v Cardiff Blues means the Warriors cannot be caught by whichever side finishes as runner up in Pool 2.
A highly improbable Lyon win over Saracens is the ideal – keeping up Glasgow’s chances of topping Pool 3 while simultaneously reducing the probability of being matched up with Sarries again in the knockout stages.
A win with a BP would for Glasgow over Cardiff Blues would go a long way to seeing the Warriors progress to the Champions Cup quarter finals for only the second time in their history.
Of course if you prefer to keep things simple the remaining rounds of the pool stages really boil down to just two matches that matter for Glasgow and Edinburgh: