With the final round of the British and Irish Cup group stages upon us, here is what you need to know about the hopes of qualification going into the matches at the weekend.
The Scots will need to win in Munster to have any chance of qualifying, and their best hope of going through is as one of the best three runners-up, as Yorkshire Carnegie have all-but secured top spot in pool three.
The five pool winners go through and top four will have home quarter finals, with the three best runners-up from across the pools making up the rest of the quarter final line up.
A reminder about the relevant regulations regarding qualification for the Quarter-Finals and how any ties are decided. Below is a reproduction of the relevant regulations.
5.2.1 At the end of the Pool Stage the highest ranking Club in each pool shall be the pool winner and the pool winners together with 3 best runners up across the 5 pools will all proceed to the quarter-finals. The rankings shall be determined in accordance with the following criteria and in the following order:
(a) Competition Points; or
(b) where the Competiton Points are equal between two or more Clubs, the Club(s) that has achieved the greater number of wins; or
(c) where these are equal, the aggregate points difference from all Matches in the Pool Stage for each of the Clubs that have an equal number of Competition wins and Competition Points;
(d) or where these are equal, the Club that has scored the greatest number of points in the Pool Stage; or
(e) where these are equal, the Club that has the better result(s) from the Match(es) between the Clubs; or
(f) where these are equal, the greater number of tries scored in the Match(es) between the Clubs shall determine the rankings; or
(g) where the tries scored are equal, the aggregate points difference in the Matches between the Clubs in the Pool Stage shall determine the rankings; or
(h) where the aggregate points difference is equal the fewest number of players shown a red card in the Pool Stage shall determine the rankings; or
(i) where the number of red cards are equal, the fewest number of players shown a yellow card shall determine the rankings; or
(j) where the number of red cards are equal, by the toss of a coin.
5.2.2 The 5 Pool winners shall be ranked 1-5 in each case based on their playing record in the Pool Stages using 5.2.1 and shall proceed to the quarter-final. The 3 best runners up shall be ranked 6-8 in each case based on their playing record in the Pool Stages using 5.2.1 and shall proceed to the quarter-final.
Regulations give the Organising Committee flexibility and discretion regarding the Quarter-Final draw. The stated intention is to stick, as close as possible, to a 1 v 8, 2 v 7 etc draw but the primary consideration is keeping teams apart who have been in the same group during the pool phases.
The eight Quarter-Finalists (and seedings) as they stand currently:
1) Leinster – 24 Points (Top of Pool 1)
2) Doncaster – 21 Points (Top of Pool 5)
3) Yorkshire – 21 Points (Top of Pool 3)
4) London Welsh – 20 Points (Top of Pool 4)
5) Bedford – 19 Points (Top of Pool 2)
6) Cornish Pirates – 18 Points (2nd in Pool 4)
7) Jersey – 17 Points (2nd in Pool 5)
8) Munster – 16 Points (2nd in Pool 3)