The first round of the Champions Cup was overshadowed by the tragic and untimely death of Anthony Foley on Sunday.
The Munster game at Racing 92 will have to be played in the future (probably January)
On Friday I speculated on which teams would get through to the quarter finals – and whilst the first round has only just been completed, every result is important.
Unlike the leagues the pool stage is a sprint – each team has only 6 games and can’t afford slip ups.
The usual number of points required to qualify is between 18 and 22 – although there have been instances where 17 and even 16 have been enough.
Qualification usually requires a team to win all three home games – hopefully with a bonus point or two and to get at least a couple of points on the road.
Losing away without at least a bonus starts to cause problems.
Three of the top 4 teams I picked to go through (Wasps, Saracens and Clermont) all won – Wasps with a bonus point and Clermont getting all five points on the road at Sandy Park.
My fourth side, Racing, didn’t play.
The other 4 I picked for the quarters had mixed results – Montpellier and Toulouse both lost away – but picked up a valuable losing bonus. However both Toulon (at home) and Ulster in Bordeaux lost and picked up nothing. Ulster, in particular will be kicking themselves having shipped three tries in the last 6 minutes.
At the moment I am still pretty confident of getting most of my quarter finalists – mind you Leinster and Glasgow and possibly even Scarlets may burst my bubble.
It’s R2 at the weekend – things may well change – the big game will be Leinster at Montpellier – although in this competition they are all big matches.