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Munster Only Need Three Other Results To Reach Champions Cup Knockouts

Munster Only Need Three Other Results To Reach Champions Cup Knockouts
By Conor O'Leary
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When Munster rolled over to have their tummies tickled in Paris, it never seemed likely that they could go into the final round of the pool stages with any hope of reaching the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

But now, they might regret that lamentable display two weeks ago, given that their chances might still be alive when they take to the pitch against Treviso on Sunday. Granted, they aren't in the hunt as much as Ulster - who themselves need a result or two to go their way - but they have more than a 1% chance - barely.

Munster need to make sure they beat Treviso with a try bonus point, which seems entirely likely. This would leave the Red Army on 15 points, and hoping for JUST THREE of five results to go their way.

Here's the scenario that Munster need to reach the knockout stages as one of the three best runner-ups:

Game 1: Ulster v Oyonnax, 1 pm Saturday

Ulster are themselves trying to reach the knockout phase as a best runner up, and need to get the maximum points from this game. This is the most unlikely of all the games that Munster need, especially given that the bookies put Oyonnax at a 66/1 chance despite the one-point last minute victory over the French team two weeks ago.

Game 2: Wasps v Leinster, 3.15 pm Saturday

At this stage, one of Munster or Ulster should have had their dreams dashed - but it means that at least one will be set up to have a real chance.

What they need is a Leinster victory to prevent Wasps from adding to their 15 points. It's one that didn't look possible until just last week when Leinster proved that they could in fact play in Europe. Leinster to win by eight or more is counted as a 4/1 chance, with a Leinster victory with no handicap a 7/4 chance. Munster need that lack of a bonus point, Ulster just need a Leinster win.


It's not the dead rubber that people thought, and could be one of the games of the weekend.

Game (s) 3: Glasgow v Racing; Scarlets v Northampton, Saturday 5.30 pm

There are two teams in Pool 3 that could finish as a potential runners-up. Glasgow are in the same position as Munster on 15 points, but they face pool winners Racing at home. They do have more tries scored than Munster, so Munster just need to make sure that they score more than the Scottish side.

But more relevant is the threat of Northampton on 14 points. JJ Hanrahan's Northampton travel across the Severn to face bottom dwellers Scarlets who need to rediscover their blistering early season form. The Welsh side has lost eight of it's last 11 games - with two of those victories against Italian sides. That includes two utter humiliation that makes Munster look good, a 43-6 loss to Glasgow, and last week's 64-16 loss to Racing.


George North has cut throat his old side before, and the necessary Scarlets victory seems more unlikely than the bookies odds of 13/5.

Game 4: Stade Francais v Leicester, 1pm Sunday

The most important game of all for Munster. All of this agonising over Saturday's games will be for nought if Leicester don't do them a favour at the same time Munster dispatch Treviso.

Munster can't finish second in their pool without a Leicester victory in Paris. It's a little surprising to me that Stade are favourites in this game (8/13) even with their home advantage.


This is one game that Ulster need to, and following the conclusion of this game we should know the fortunes of the Irish provinces.

Game 5: Clermont v Bordeaux, 3. 15 pm Sunday

This game is more of a last chance saloon if things haven't gone the way either Munster or Ulster need. The desired Bordeaux victory have been given a 9/1 chance. That's just a 10% chance of Bordeaux beating Clermont in their home fortress.

If either province are relying on this result to happen, things aren't going to be pretty.


See Also: The Unnecessary Over-Analysis Of What The Champions Cup Lineups Mean For The Six Nations

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