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As we head into the penultimate round of fixtures, here are the various routes to Quarter Final qualification for Connacht.

The good news is Connacht can't be knocked out this weekend - even a loss to Zebre doesn't spell elimination as long as we follow it up with a win in Toulouse.
The other good news is the results the bookies are predicting (35 point win for Connacht and 10 point win for Wasps) would probably be the best outcome for Connacht.
That would presumably amount to 5 points for Connacht, 4 for Wasps and crucially, nothing for Toulouse, giving Connacht a five point lead over their hosts the following weekend.
Toulouse could still overturn that with a bonus point win and push Connacht into third on head-to-head results, but Connacht would just need to deny them a bonus point or secure a bonus point themselves to get second place. In that scenario, 18 points would probably be enough for a Quarter Final spot (more on that below).

The next best scenario (sticking with a bonus point win for Connacht) is probably for Toulouse to win and deny Wasps a bonus point. This would leave Connacht 5 points ahead of Wasps, with Wasps likely to pick up 5 against Zebre. So Connacht would need one point against Toulouse to secure second. The advantage of this scenario is that a win or draw against Toulouse would see Connacht top the pool.

A LBP for the loser of the Wasps Toulouse match makes it a little harder. A LBP for Toulouse would mean Connacht would have to deny Toulouse a bonus point AND get one themselves, while a LBP for Wasps would mean Connacht would need a draw in the Ernest Wallon (or an unlikely 2 bonus points).

A win against Zebre without a bonus point of course means Connacht need one more point in each of these scenarios.
A loss to Zebre would seem disastrous, but would not actually be terminal. Assuming Toulouse also lose, an away win would put Connacht through. A Toulouse win against Wasps could leave Connacht chasing an unlikely bonus point win in France.

The other pools and the magic number

So how many points will be needed to progress as a second placed team? Three out of five will progress and there were some favourable results for Connacht in Round 4. To finish second Connacht will probably need 18 points anyway. They may be able to pox it with 17 but it's less likely.
To progress, Connacht need to have more points than at least two of the other second place teams (or equal match points and better points difference).
Let's look at the other 4 pools.

Pool 1

Munster are likely pool winners - if they end up in second they will definitely take a qualification spot. Glasgow are likely to be second and have a very good chance of getting at least 19 points and finishing ahead of Connacht.

Pool 3

Toulon on 10 points would need to win both their remaining fixtures. This weekend they're at home to Sale Sharks so that should mean 5 points for them, but their final game is away to Saracens, who are unlikely to take their foot off the gas even if they are already guaranteed qualification.

Pool 4

Montpellier are on 11 points so their threat will hopefully recede with defeat in the RDS. Castres on 9 would need bonus point wins away to Northampton and home to Leinster (unlikely).

Pool 5

Bordeaux and Ulster are both on 9 points with negative points difference so one or other of them would need two bonus point wins to get ahead of where Connacht would likely be if they finish second. Ulster are away to Exeter and Bordeaux at home to Clermont so hard to see a TBP for either of them. They play each other in Ravenhill the following weekend so if either of them is on 14 at that stage, they could threaten.

In summary, it looks likely that if Connacht finish second with 18 points they will progress - the difficult part will be finsishing second.

What about a home Quarter Final?

Unlikely.
If Connacht win both their games with one bonus point, and Toulouse beat Wasps, they would top the pool, but would very likely be the lowest seeded team. They could sneak ahead of Munster (if they come back from Glasgow empty handed) or Leinster (if they get less than 6 points from Castres and Montpellier) but it's probably another weekend on the road if we make it. Of course if we get a try bonus in Toulouse ... oh now it's just getting silly.
Without sounding greedy, it would be nice to avoid scraping through in eight spot, with the inevitable trip to Allianz Park. Seventh would throw up some more interesting destinations - Leinster, Munster or Clermont - interesting times.

Brief summary of who to shout for

If you're watching the other games, here are the results you should be looking for.

Leinster v Montpellier - Leinster all the way. Defeat puts Montpellier out of range.
Northampton v Castres - Northampton, but anything other than a bonus point win for Castres is fine.
Wasps v Toulouse - ideally Wasps with no bonus point for Toulouse, but basically shout for whoever is winning. LBPs are the real enemy here.
Glasgow v Munster - Munster. If they deny Glasgow an LBP, points difference could be enough to keep them behind Connacht.
Scarlets v Saracens - Scarlets. Not that relevant but a Scarlets win would give Saracens a bit of extra motivation against Toulon next weekend.
Toulon v Sale - Sale. Not going to happen, but if it does, it's bye bye Toulon.
Bordeaux v Clermont - Clermont. Though anything other than a bonus point win for Bordeaux is enough.
Exeter v Ulster - Exeter. Anything other than a bonus point win for Ulster is fine though so hopefully for their own sake Ulster win but just don't get the bonus. It's the last game so fingers crossed enough results will have gone our way by then and we can support the neighbours.

And just one more curveball ...

The above is based on the assumption that Connacht want the second-placed teams in each pool to finish with as few points as possible, ensuring 18 points is enough for Connacht. But just assume some of the results above go the other way and the target ends up being 19. If Connacht are on 18 and Toulouse on 13 going into the last game, Connacht would now need a LBP to qualify, but since Toulouse would be out of range of the 19 point target, they'd have nothing to play for, so getting that result might be a lot easier than against a Toulouse team out to win and score a try bonus. So maybe we actually want the opposite results in all the above games! Enjoy the rugby ...

 

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Sol_ie's Avatar
Sol_ie replied the topic: #51923 2 years 10 months ago
Nope, the aviva is less of a 'home' venue than thomond. Besides, I'd prefer to face Leinster (barely!)
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51917 2 years 10 months ago
btw do you think Thomond would be prefered to the Aviva in this situation?
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51916 2 years 10 months ago

wp_rathead wrote:

connachta wrote: So it's tight everywhere but if I'm doing the maths right (assuming Wasps BP in Parma) :
Done this fast, open to checking...

Connacht to lose by 8 --- out of it
Connacht to lose by 6 or by 7 points --- (away) QF against Munster!!!!
Connacht to win without BP, to draw or to lose by 1 to 5 points --- away QF against Sarries
Connacht to win with BP by less than 62 point-margin ---- (away) QF against Leinster!!!!
Connacht to win with BP by more than 62 point-margin ---- (home) QF against Leinster!!!


Thanks for doing that out
If Connacht lose by 8+ but get a TBP (and Toulouse don't) - will it be Munster away?


Yes I think so! :)
wp_rathead's Avatar
wp_rathead replied the topic: #51915 2 years 10 months ago

connachta wrote: So it's tight everywhere but if I'm doing the maths right (assuming Wasps BP in Parma) :
Done this fast, open to checking...

Connacht to lose by 8 --- out of it
Connacht to lose by 6 or by 7 points --- (away) QF against Munster!!!!
Connacht to win without BP, to draw or to lose by 1 to 5 points --- away QF against Sarries
Connacht to win with BP by less than 62 point-margin ---- (away) QF against Leinster!!!!
Connacht to win with BP by more than 62 point-margin ---- (home) QF against Leinster!!!


Thanks for doing that out
If Connacht lose by 8+ but get a TBP (and Toulouse don't) - will it be Munster away?
DaveOC21's Avatar
DaveOC21 replied the topic: #51914 2 years 10 months ago

connachta wrote: So it's tight everywhere but if I'm doing the maths right (assuming Wasps BP in Parma) :
Done this fast, open to checking...

Connacht to lose by 8 --- out of it
Connacht to lose by 6 or by 7 points --- (away) QF against Munster!!!!
Connacht to win without BP, to draw or to lose by 1 to 5 points --- away QF against Sarries
Connacht to win with BP by less than 62 point-margin ---- (away) QF against Leinster!!!!
Connacht to win with BP by more than 62 point-margin ---- (home) QF against Leinster!!!


Just looked at this before I logged on and got the same result. Regardless of who we play getting to the QF is what we want! :)
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51912 2 years 10 months ago

Decadence wrote:

connachta wrote: I know but I hate those namings "Allianz, Aviva, Ricoch..."
I stop there, no politics I was told :p


I think you're confusing politics with geography!


You got my point, even if they moved into a new stadium, I'm reluctant to say the name "Allianz Park" and I don't know if there's another one
Decadence's Avatar
Decadence replied the topic: #51910 2 years 10 months ago

connachta wrote: I know but I hate those namings "Allianz, Aviva, Ricoch..."
I stop there, no politics I was told :p


I think you're confusing politics with geography!
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51909 2 years 10 months ago
I know but I hate those namings "Allianz, Aviva, Ricoch..."
I stop there, no politics I was told :p
Decadence's Avatar
Decadence replied the topic: #51907 2 years 10 months ago

connachta wrote:

Decadence wrote: The other results have not exactly gone our way, a couple more/less points for saracens/glasgow and we'd be guaranteed to avoid saracens.


That's a real pity for all-Ireland QF chances, but TBF, on a pure rugby point of view, I don't think a trip to Vicrage road is worse than facing any of Munster/Leinster in the Aviva, this season...


Well a trip to Vicarage Road would be fine with me, but they haven't played there in 4 years!
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51906 2 years 10 months ago

Decadence wrote: The other results have not exactly gone our way, a couple more/less points for saracens/glasgow and we'd be guaranteed to avoid saracens.


That's a real pity for all-Ireland QF chances, but TBF, on a pure rugby point of view, I don't think a trip to Vicrage road is worse than facing any of Munster/Leinster in the Aviva, this season...
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51905 2 years 10 months ago
The case in which we lose by 5 is peculiarly facinating and not unrealistic

Sarries are 3rd seed behind Munster only for a 2-point aggregate difference
And we would face them as 6th seed, ahead of Glasgow, with same number of points but also exact same aggregate difference, just resolved by more tries scored!
Decadence's Avatar
Decadence replied the topic: #51904 2 years 10 months ago
The other results have not exactly gone our way, a couple more/less points for saracens/glasgow and we'd be guaranteed to avoid saracens.
eezipc's Avatar
eezipc replied the topic: #51903 2 years 10 months ago

connachta wrote: So it's tight everywhere but if I'm doing the maths right (assuming Wasps BP in Parma) :
Done this fast, open to checking...

Connacht to lose by 8 --- out of it
Connacht to lose by 6 or by 7 points --- (away) QF against Munster!!!!
Connacht to win without BP, to draw or to lose by 1 to 5 points --- away QF against Sarries
Connacht to win with BP by less than 62 point-margin ---- (away) QF against Leinster!!!!
Connacht to win with BP by more than 62 point-margin ---- (home) QF against Leinster!!!

Thanks for that Connachta. But just to be clear, does anyone have any update to contradict this? I'll be sittting in the middle of Toulouse fans so I don't want to make a holy show of myself if Connacht lose by 6.
Also, what doToulouse need to qualify? Also, I'm thinking that they can only get an away quarter so hopefully they couldn't be arsed.
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51902 2 years 10 months ago
So it's tight everywhere but if I'm doing the maths right (assuming Wasps BP in Parma) :
Done this fast, open to checking...

Connacht to lose by 8 --- out of it
Connacht to lose by 6 or by 7 points --- (away) QF against Munster!!!!
Connacht to win without BP, to draw or to lose by 1 to 5 points --- away QF against Sarries
Connacht to win with BP by less than 62 point-margin ---- (away) QF against Leinster!!!!
Connacht to win with BP by more than 62 point-margin ---- (home) QF against Leinster!!!
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51901 2 years 10 months ago
Glasgow is hammering Leicester. Could change everthing for the ranks
Don't know who we could back between Munster and Racing then, to have our Munster vs Connacht QF... Point difference will be so tight...
I just get the feeling we will end with Sarries :(
fatgav's Avatar
fatgav replied the topic: #51900 2 years 10 months ago
Racing have started well at Thomond, and I think that's a good thing.

Rough top-of-my-head maths tells me that Connacht (if they qualify) will get an Irish team in the Quarter-Final if Munster don't get five points from this one. The alternative is Saracens.

The only caveat would be if Glasgow absolutely hockey Leicester, but it would have to be a 40+ point win.

So the long and short of it is that I'm being patriotic and shouting for the French.
Podge57's Avatar
Podge57 replied the topic: #51898 2 years 10 months ago


Interesting 24 hrs ahead!
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51893 2 years 10 months ago

Bazzo wrote:

connachta wrote: Except if a club finishing 2nd can be ranked ahead of a club finishing 1st of its pool.
Which on 2nd reading, seems to be the case..


? A team finishing 2nd in their group can't be ranked ahead of a team who wins their group. Ranks 1-5 are reserved for the group winners and 6-8 for the 3 best second place teams. Leinster have won their group.


So I was right.
With a TBP, and other results going as logic goes :
Leinster with 1 or 2 points didn't change anythying (except "official hosting" for finances). The same game, Pro12 final remake, would have taken (and still could take) place in the Aviva.
PS : don't think Connacht would have chosen Thomond and Leinster the RDS, I doubt anyone of the clubs, players, fans, IRFU, and EPRC would have had real interest to push for that
Moy's Avatar
Moy replied the topic: #51892 2 years 10 months ago
Is it up to the "home" club (Leinster in this example) to decide whether to host at the RDS or Aviva...or would the EPCR/IRFU get involved? Would it be possible that Leinster may want to keep the match in a smaller venue after seeing the numbers that turned out in Murrayfield last year?
Decadence's Avatar
Decadence replied the topic: #51891 2 years 10 months ago
Yeah, Connacht can only get a home qf with a bp win, which means they'd win their group.

And, apart from the fact that the other results might not go as expected, financially speaking I'm sure there's a big advantage to being the 'home' team, even if it is in the Aviva.
Bazzo's Avatar
Bazzo replied the topic: #51890 2 years 10 months ago

connachta wrote: Except if a club finishing 2nd can be ranked ahead of a club finishing 1st of its pool.
Which on 2nd reading, seems to be the case..


? A team finishing 2nd in their group can't be ranked ahead of a team who wins their group. Ranks 1-5 are reserved for the group winners and 6-8 for the 3 best second place teams. Leinster have won their group.
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51889 2 years 10 months ago
Except if a club finishing 2nd can be ranked ahead of a club finishing 1st of its pool.
Which on 2nd reading, seems to be the case..
connachta's Avatar
connachta replied the topic: #51888 2 years 10 months ago

Decadence wrote: Why the hell did Castres not kick one of those penalties and win the game! Leinster are beyond Wasps now, and we realistically will not pass them on points difference even with a bonus point win in Toulouse.


Assuming we have a TBP win on Sunday, it doesn't change anything, in all likehood (with Munster/Clermont/Sarries winning as expected).
We will end 5th overall against the 4th, Leinster
We would have ended 4th, against the 5th (Leinster)
Same game in the Aviva in both case! :D
Decadence's Avatar
Decadence replied the topic: #51887 2 years 10 months ago
Why the hell did Castres not kick one of those penalties and win the game! Leinster are beyond Wasps now, and we realistically will not pass them on points difference even with a bonus point win in Toulouse.
mikey's Avatar
mikey replied the topic: #51854 2 years 10 months ago
Lads, it's seriously late, ye should be tucked up in bed, unless you are working as I am.On a quick coffee fix,and reading about Allianz Park brings me out in hives. It's a kind of allergic reaction to an external "agitator", and the combination of Saracens and Allianz Park has me scratching. All we can do is pray Toulon do the job on them..
Now to go out explain to folk why I'm scratching....
ABS, Anyone But Saracens.
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