Sunday, 16 December 2012

Heineken Cup – as it stands after 4 rounds

Four rounds of Hieneken Cup are now over. The past two weekends were very interesting as clubs played home and away returning fixtures. The pools are getting shaped now. We already know which teams will progress to the knock-out stages, which will have to fight to survive, and which lost their chances for success in the tournament.
Saracens are leading pool 1 with 14 points and three wins. Racing Metro, also with three wins, is right behind them. Munster, which is on the third position, still has got chances to progress (at least in theory). On the bottom of the pool sits Edinburgh with no points so far.

Leicester Tigers (14 points) took charge of pool two. The second position belongs to Toulouse (13 points), the third one to Ospreys (9 points). Benetton Treviso – is forth, and still waiting for the first win.

Another English club is the leader of pool 3. Harlequins with 19 points and four wins are almost certain of reaching knock-out stages. 10 points less have got the French from Biarritz, followed by the Connacht. Italian new team Zebre is on the learning curve so far. They didn’t manage to get even one point.

Ulster – one of the favourites to win is in front of pool four. Castres and Northampton Saints still have the chance to progress, though. Glasgow Warriors, despite fierce performances and gaining two losing bonus points, are on the fourth place.

Another favourite – Clermont Auvergne is on the top of pool five with four wins and 18 points. Current champions – Leinster are second with 10 points. Exeter Chiefs are third and Scarlets fourth.

Pool six has been dominated by the French. Toulon have 18 points and four wins, and are followed by Montpellier. Sale Sharks are third and Cardiff Blues fourth.

As usual, the competition is very fierce; games are being played at the high level, some of them with intensity similar to international matches. So far, it looks like the main contenders to the trophy are French and English teams. Irish clubs, except for Ulster, are a bit underperforming. Scottish and Italian teams already lost their chances for further progress. Welsh are in trouble too, the only team with slim chances to progress is Ospreys.

Next games take place in four weeks’ time. I am looking forward to them. Below you will find current pool standings.