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2 years 8 months ago #52086

With Connacht potentially headed for the playoffs, I thought I'd take a look at who they might face from England or France.
The Top 14 and Premiership each just have one place in the playoffs, but crucially they are guaranteed home advantage in the semi-final, where they each face a Pro 12 team, with home advantage for the final decided by a coin toss.
Unlike the Pro12 it's a straighforward top 6 that qualify with seventh going into the playoff.

In the Top 14, a bookie has Toulouse and Castres as joint sixth favourites to win the title at 20/1 ahead of Bordeaux at 66/1 and behind Racing at 10/1.
Now I realise being sixth favourites to win is not the same as being favourites to finish sixth, but it's a decent indication.
I guess the reasoning is that surprise leaders La Rochelle, 15 points clear of 7th placed Bordeaux, have done enough to stay in the top 6 and that Racing 92, while currently tenth but with a game in hand, will eventually get their act together and move up the table. With Toulon and Montpellier likely to at least hold their current positions and Clermont a dead cert, that leaves one of Toulouse or Castres having to make way and thus head for the playoffs.
So we may be headed for a familiar part of France again.
Of course there is a long way to go yet so mid-table French games may provide a surprise source of entertainment of a spring Sunday. Keep an eye on Bordeaux (mmm ... Claret).

The Premiership is a little more confusing. Mr Bookie has Gloucester (groan, not again) seventh favourites at 200/1 behind Northampton (125/1) and ahead of Quins (400/1). Odds are probably even less reliable than in France as in France it is a six way knockout so there is more of a relationship between winning the thing and finishing in the top 6.
The odds are very strange though. Why Harlequins are more than ten times the price of Leicester despite being only a single point behind on the table is beyond me. Doesn't seem a dramatic difference in the severity of their remaining fixtures. Maybe a wiser sage can enlighten me?
But we are presumably looking at one of Tigers, Saints, Quins, Glaws or Falcons. There, I've narrowed it down to just under half the league for ye. Another trip to Newcastle please, it'll be a whole different story with eight men on the bench :-)


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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
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2 years 8 months ago #52089

The Challenge Cup comes into the equation for all three leagues.


The seventh-ranked club from the TOP 14, or the winner of the Challenge Cup if from the TOP 14 and not already qualified for the Champions Cup.

The seventh-ranked club from the Aviva Premiership, or the winner of the Challenge Cup if from the Aviva Premiership and not already qualified for the Champions Cup.

The eight and ninth-ranked clubs from the PRO12, or the winner of the Challenge Cup if from the PRO12 and not already qualified for the Champions Cup. This club will take the place in the play-offs of the ninth-ranked club.

So at least 5 of the Challenge Cup quarter finals - Edinburgh, Brive, Gloucester, Cardiff and Stade - could be looking at that avenue for quaification.

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2 years 8 months ago #52090

Good point.
Allez Brive!
They're guaranteed a home semi if they can overcome Bath at the Rec.
Realistically Gloucester are the team most likely to win the Challenge Cup and snatch a playoff place like they did two seasons ago. Which depending on who finishes seventh, we may or may not be happy to see.


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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
Last edit: 2 years 8 months ago by pinky.

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2 years 8 months ago #52094

If La Rochelle win their QF at Murrayfield, Gloucester would travel to France for the SF. However ASR are top of the Top 14 and looking to make the end of season playoffs, preferably finishing Top 2 and avoid the 1st round of the barrage. Fair to say, it may not be the full ASR side which shows up in Scotland in April. Could see 4 home wins, with Gloucester a good shout of making the final. Would face Bath/Ospreys tough game either way.

In terms of the Pro 12, Dragons are only 2 points behind with Edinburgh 3 back...of course still have the Zebre game in hand. Still no news on that? Better if it is played during the 6N as they would be missing at least half a team. If it is in April, would be at full strength and are only 2 points behind Treviso for the Italian spot....of course if you believe the stories, they will not be in the league next year.

Last edit: 2 years 8 months ago by neill_m.

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2 years 8 months ago #52095

19-21 May 2017

Play-off 1: Aviva Premiership v PRO12

Play-off 2: TOP 14 v PRO12

The PRO12 clubs' opponents to be decided by a draw

The Premiership and TOP 14 clubs will have home advantage

26-28 May 2017

Play-off Final: winner Play-off 1 v winner Play-off 2

Home advantage to be decided by a draw

The winner of the Play-off Final will take the 20th place in the 2017/18 Champions Cup


So the Pro 12 side is away from home in the SF and most probably in the final as well!

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2 years 8 months ago #52514

Great win for Castres away to Bordeaux and expected defeat of Toulouse in Montpellier today means that Castres are now the more likely to claim the automatic spot, sending Toulouse to the playoffs. Bookies have Toulouse 7th favourite now at 40/1 between Castres (14/1) and Bordeaux (150/1). Pau could be the dark horse - they're on an unbeaten run stretching back to November having beaten Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Clermont, etc., and are currently sixth. Expected to drop out of the Top 7 but with a short trip to almost-relegated Bayonne next and then a home showdown with Castres, who knows.

England is still a bit of an unknown. Leicester are probably reasonably safe at this stage but only 3 points covers 6-9th. Newcastle currently in the playoff spot with Northampton 7th favourites. Quins and Gloucester also in the mix.


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2 years 8 months ago #52515

I've been looking to those games for a few weeks too

let's be honest Toulouse again would be a disaster. Pau an unexpected good surprise for us (didin't say we'll win, but more chances)
Same for Newcastle/Gloucester rather than Northampton/Leicester.

Last edit: 2 years 8 months ago by connachta.

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2 years 7 months ago #52990

Bit of a gap opening up in England between the top 5 and the next 4, who look like they'll be fighting it out for the last automatic spot and the one playoff spot. Two of them go head to head next weekend when Quins travel to Gloucester, while Newcastle host Saracens and Northampton have to travel to Sale. Hard to know who to shout for at this stage, might be best to avoid Saints maybe - but are they more likely to go up to sixth or down to 8/9th, etc? (maybe the latter as they have a tough run-in, playing 4 of the top 5).
Surprise win for Bristol in the derby at the other end of the table gives them a chance to avoid relegation and give Pat something to do next season. Crunch game away to Worcester coming up.


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Last edit: 2 years 7 months ago by pinky.
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2 years 7 months ago #53176

Probably not the most favourable of results for us so far in France.
Castres beating Clermont, Grenoble overcoming Racing and Brive completing the season double over Toulon (all denying their guests a losing bonus) would normally put a smile on my face, but that now leaves us with a 6-7-8 axis of Toulon/Racing/Toulouse, none of which I particularly fancy for my summer holidays. Pau's failure to beat their struggling neighbours doesn't help either.
The upside is Brive are on the up and could make 7th, but more likely Pau will drop to 8th or so, Castres will make the Barrages and we'll be left with a tough one.
Four away wins in England including Quins and Saints leave those two likely to be 6th and 7th. Bookies giving Northampton the better chance, suggesting Quins in the playoff.


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2 years 7 months ago #53177

pinky wrote: Probably not the most favourable of results for us so far in France.
Castres beating Clermont, Grenoble overcoming Racing and Brive completing the season double over Toulon (all denying their guests a losing bonus) would normally put a smile on my face, but that now leaves us with a 6-7-8 axis of Toulon/Racing/Toulouse, none of which I particularly fancy for my summer holidays. Pau's failure to beat their struggling neighbours doesn't help either.
The upside is Brive are on the up and could make 7th, but more likely Pau will drop to 8th or so, Castres will make the Barrages and we'll be left with a tough one.
Four away wins in England including Quins and Saints leave those two likely to be 6th and 7th. Bookies giving Northampton the better chance, suggesting Quins in the playoff.


Followed that too...Let's pray for Quins. If not, we're done...

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2 years 7 months ago #53179

We are done !! Absolutely not ! F**k this we are four on bounce all our injuries are coming to pass like one big jigsaw coming into play at the right time . We should fear absolutely nobody in any playoffs ...

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2 years 7 months ago #53180

Honnestly, I agree Connacht have changed, and we can beat everyone we proved it. But not away.
The rule was made by the Franglish for a reason.
In any case we have to make the stadium a home, like edinburg last season...

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2 years 7 months ago #53181

Doesn't matter if the "Franglish" made the rule. Because it rotates every year... Next year the 7th team in pro12 will have home semi against one of the two teams from premiership, the year after then home semi against one of the two French clubs... I firmly believe we have nothing to fear if we get into the playoff semi.. We beat Toulouse this year already and with a few more players could have beat them in France too.. We beat Quinn's only a couple of years back and they are much weaker now imo. I fancy our chances against any of the teams named away. Our squad is getting bigger by the day with injured players returning.. And by doing a bit of simple maths ... Bigger squad = more competition for places = better performances from players to prove themselves = better team form.

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2 years 7 months ago #53182

chops123 wrote: Doesn't matter if the "Franglish" made the rule. Because it rotates every year... Next year the 7th team in pro12 will have home semi against one of the two teams from premiership, the year after then home semi against one of the two French clubs...


Whaaat?

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2 years 7 months ago #53183

I think Pinky covered this in the not-HEC qualification thread, but as there are two Pro12 teams as opposed to one from each of France and England, and as the Pro12 teams are 8th and 9th seeds as opposed to 7th seeds from the other leagues, the Pro12 teams are *always* away in the qualifier semis, there's no rotation.

m.epcrugby.com/europeanrugbychampionscup...lification/index.php

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2 years 7 months ago #53188

That page clearly states that is to get into the 17/18 season not for all seasons. It's rotation I read into in detail a few years ago.
1st year) pro12 travelled to England then winner had home advantage v French (Connacht travelled to Gloucester
2nd year) because of World Cup would just be the winner of the challenge cup

3rd year) (this year) the pro12 would get the two teams
And each year it would rotate and then on then on the World Cup years the challenge cup winners get qualification.
This information is not on the Internet anymore so he can shoot me down all ye want. But it's fact and ye will see at start of next season...

But more importantly we can just talk about where we think we'll have a weekend away in May, before we come back to the clan stand for one last time this season (I'm optimistic we'll win the first match and win the toss of the coin to get the home draw for the qualification final )

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