A Look At Champions Cup Standings & Scenarios

There are major implications across the board this weekend, as the pool stages of the Heineken Champions Cup come to a close. 

Five teams - Leinster, Toulouse, Racing 92, Exeter, and Clermont - have staked their places in the quarterfinal stage, but still have home-field advantage to play for. 

Three additional spots are also still up for grabs, as teams fight to earn a wild-card berth into the quarterfinals. 

Here's how the standings look at the moment:

Pool 1


Pool 2

La Rochelle203-20210

Pool 3


Pool 4

Racing 9241071422

Pool 5



The way the Champions Cup works, the five pool winners receive automatic qualification to the quarterfinals. The remaining three places are awarded to the three second-place teams from their respective pools that have the highest point totals in the standings. 

The teams will also be seeded based upon their point totals in pool play, with the top four teams hosting a quarterfinal. 

As it stands, the seedings would look like this:

1. Leinster | 24 pts
2. Racing 92 | 22 pts
3. Exeter | 22 pts
4. Toulouse | 22 pts
5. Clermont | 20 pts
6. Ulster | 17 pts
7. Saracens | 14 pts
8. Gloucester | 14 pts

9. Northampton | 14 pts
10. Glasgow | 12 pts
11. Munster | 11 pts
12. La Rochelle | 10 pts

What's at stake?

This weekend, Leinster, Racing 92, Exeter, Toulouse, and Clermont will all be fighting for the opportunity to secure a home quarterfinal. 

Their matchups look like this:

1/18 - Benetton vs Leinster | 13:00 GMT
1/18 - Harlequins vs Clermont | 15:15 GMT
1/18 - Exeter vs La Rochelle | 17:15 GMT
1/19 - Saracens vs Racing 92 | 13:00 GMT
1/19 - Toulouse vs Gloucester | 15:15 GMT

The final three quarterfinal spots will be contested between Ulster, Saracens, Gloucester, Northampton, Glasgow, Munster, and La Rochelle. 

Their matchups look like this:

1/18 - Northampton vs Lyon | 13:00 GMT
1/18 - Ulster vs Bath | 15:15 GMT
1/18 - Exeter vs La Rochelle | 17:15 GMT
1/18 - Sale vs Glasgow
1/19 - Munster vs Ospreys | 13:00 GMT
1/19 - Saracens vs Racing 92 | 13:00 GMT
1/19 - Toulouse vs Gloucester | 15:15 GMT

Saracens have a tall task ahead of them, taking on a Racing side that put it to them in the opening round of the competition. The Sarries, however, are one of the world's best teams and are used to dealing with pressure. Factor in they'll be playing in front of their home crowd, Saracens are going to be extremely tough to beat. 

Gloucester too have a tough task, perhaps even tougher considering they'll be playing on the road against the defending Top14 champions. But the "Cherry-&-Whites" are in fine form at the moment, coming off a massive 29-5 bonus-point win against Montpellier. 

Ulster shouldn't have too much difficulty at home against a winless Bath team, but this is the toughest competition in the Northern Hemisphere, so they can't take any game for granted. A win puts them through to the quarterfinals, and with a bonus point they have a very slim chance of perhaps hosting a last-eight fixture. 

Northampton, Glasgow, Munster, and La Rochelle all need to win and then get some help to make it through. In the case of La Rochelle, they will need to secure maximum points to stay alive. 

It's going to be a crazy weekend of European rugby, and the last time we'll see many of the stars play for their clubs before the Six Nations begins on February 1st. 

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