The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #59247 by connachta
connachta created the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
I think I need to write down both road to Champions Cup qualification, even if, of course, they're based on "reasonable hypothesis" at this stage

let's begin with
PRO14 Road :

Cardiff and Connacht have both the same number of points right now.
They have both 9-10 granted points IMO (Zebre away + Treviso home for Cardiff / Embra and Zebre home for Connacht). Both team will meet Ospreys (A&H) and Cheetahs (A), then those games are not listed as defferentiating either

So the serie of games which will separate both team is

for Connacht :
Munster (A)
Leinster (H)
Treviso (A)
Glasgow (A)


for Cardiff

Munster (H)
Cheetahs (H)
Ulster (H)
Kings (A)

I think it's clear and obvious they have a way easier run-in, and it would mean a complete collapse (or Westerners over-performing a lot), if they're not doing better than Connacht in term of points


Now the Challenge Cup road

If Connacht beat
1) Worcester away by any margin
2) Oyonnax Academy by smth like 25 points margin

They are granted to have :
1) a home QF (possibly Stade Français IMO, maybe Bordeaux/Dragons)
2) a home SF (probably Newcastle), assuming there isn't an unexpected QF away win of 6th seed vs Newcasle (3rd seed)

Then having won those 3, and only 3, very winnable games (Worcester away, Stade Fraçais/UBB/Dragons home, Newcastle home),
We're qualified even as losing finalist if Clermont or Sale or Pau don't win European trophee (as it stands based on domestic tables)
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by connachta.
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3 months 3 weeks ago #59250 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
Cardiff also have Ospreys at home on the last day.
I don't think there is a massive difference between those two sets of fixtures. Blues have it slightly easier but not by a huge margin.
Also bear in mind that even if Cardiff finish ahead of us, as long as we stay ahead of Ospreys (admittedly not a guarantee), we're in a playoff.
Edinburgh away won't be easy but it's easier to win one away game against an average team than two home games against good teams.
I'm glad we have the two routes open because neither will be easy.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59252 by MulMan
MulMan replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
My preferred method of getting into the Champions cup would be by winning the Challenge cup, primarily because it involves us winning a trophy, if we were to have picked up wins in games we usually do well in, Cardiff home, Dragons/Zebre away we'd still have been in contention for the play-offs. But with Cheetahs having two extra games against the Kings they are now out of sight, which for me highlights the mismatch in fixtures, we have two extra games v Leinster and Ulster they play those fixtures against the Kings, which in my book is totally unfair but alas that's the system we've got.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59253 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

pinky wrote: Cardiff also have Ospreys at home on the last day..


Ospreys H&A are common fixtures for both team, as said. :)

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59254 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

pinky wrote: Also bear in mind that even if Cardiff finish ahead of us, as long as we stay ahead of Ospreys (admittedly not a guarantee), we're in a playoff.
Edinburgh away won't be easy but it's easier to win one away game against an average team than two home games against good teams..


It'smy personal feeling indeed but I'm convinced we've got way more chances home vs Newcastle UBB/Stade Fr, than away vs vastly improved Edinburgh

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59255 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
It's on the list for Connacht. Does that mean, once you exclude the common fixtures and the easy home games, Connacht have one less game? If so that surely gives us an easier run.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59256 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

connachta wrote: It'smy personal feeling indeed but I'm convinced we've got way more chances home vs Newcastle UBB/Stade Fr, than away vs vastly improved Edinburgh


Against one of them, probably, but we would have to beat two.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59261 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

pinky wrote: It's on the list for Connacht. Does that mean, once you exclude the common fixtures and the easy home games, Connacht have one less game? If so that surely gives us an easier run.


You're absolutely right, smth had gone wrong, It's fixed : Cheetahs away for Connacht :).

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #59262 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

pinky wrote:

connachta wrote: It'smy personal feeling indeed but I'm convinced we've got way more chances home vs Newcastle UBB/Stade Fr, than away vs vastly improved Edinburgh


Against one of them, probably, but we would have to beat two.


I'd still take those 2 teams home : 70% chances twice still mean 49% chances overall
rather than Edinb. away once (no more than 40% IMO)
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by connachta.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59263 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
But Blues also have Cheetahs away. From what I can see Edinburgh (H) is the missing one for Connacht. They already beat Blues in the Arms Park.

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3 months 3 weeks ago - 3 months 3 weeks ago #59264 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
Shit but it's not even as Italians oppositions are not the same (home and away). I'll try to fix this, sorry..
Last Edit: 3 months 3 weeks ago by connachta.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59265 by salmson
salmson replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
Looking at the upcoming games, if you're going full bore for one (and we can't for both given the turnarounds) I'd agree with Connachta that the Worcester one trumps the Munster one, but that the point is moot: Uncle Joe will make sure we're without Ultan, Kieran & Bundee so we'll have to do some major rotation for next weekend.

But the wider problem with Connachta's assumption that we should target the Challenge Cup is our record in England: we've only ever won two competitive matches (from 30ish) over there (admittedly the last one in 2009 was against Worcester). Lose in Worcester - and they will start as strong favourites - and we're looking at an away semi; again, possibly in England.

If we win our home games in the Pro14 we'll finish (at worst) in the playoff position & likely face an Edinburgh side we regularly beat over there. Knock off Treviso away and we'll probably finish ahead of Cardiff. So while the heart wants a Challenge Cup trophy, the head knows it's the league that's the bread-and-butter.
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3 months 3 weeks ago #59268 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

pinky wrote: But Blues also have Cheetahs away. From what I can see Edinburgh (H) is the missing one for Connacht. They already beat Blues in the Arms Park.


It's fixed. it wasn't a missing game for Connacht but a Cardiff game who shoudn't have appeared.


All the difference within 4 games, mostly home for them, away for us:(

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59269 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup

salmson wrote: Looking at the upcoming games, if you're going full bore for one (and we can't for both given the turnarounds) I'd agree with Connachta that the Worcester one trumps the Munster one, but that the point is moot: Uncle Joe will make sure we're without Ultan, Kieran & Bundee so we'll have to do some major rotation for next weekend.

But the wider problem with Connachta's assumption that we should target the Challenge Cup is our record in England: we've only ever won two competitive matches (from 30ish) over there (admittedly the last one in 2009 was against Worcester). Lose in Worcester - and they will start as strong favourites - and we're looking at an away semi; again, possibly in England.

If we win our home games in the Pro14 we'll finish (at worst) in the playoff position & likely face an Edinburgh side we regularly beat over there. Knock off Treviso away and we'll probably finish ahead of Cardiff. So while the heart wants a Challenge Cup trophy, the head knows it's the league that's the bread-and-butter.


Agree with premisce 100%, not with conclusion.
Worcester is not invested in this competition. They know they'll have, at best, an away QF
They'll miss Jano Lance, probably Teo'o who's just back training and likely their main TH (Schonert) too. Which will even things up if Buckley's still out.
They're not strong favorite at all IMO. But we have to go full-strenght with a rested team.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59270 by connachta
connachta replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
Disagree about PRO14 too. Cardiff is able to do a good "home-run" (like baseball) vs Cheetahs, Kings and Ulster. I can't see us winning away in either Munster and Glasgow. And we would need to, maybe both, IMO.
The home 8-pointer in the Sportsground vs Cardiff was key.... :(

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3 months 3 weeks ago #59271 by pinky
pinky replied to the topic: The rocky road(s) to Champions Cup
Worcester weren't really taking the Challenge Cup seriously but they might change their policy now.
They are odds-on to avoid relegation and they have an 8 day turnaround before the Connacht game so they might have a cut at it. They'd have an away QF but if they can win that it's a likely home semi so it might be just what they need to inject a bit of positivity into their season. An outside chance of being in the Champions Cup would be a useful selling point if your club is on the market.
On the flipside Paris might take a similar approach thus denying Edinburgh points and giving Connacht a chance of second seeding even without beating Worcester.

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