Pool Three of the Heineken Cup will go to the wire, as predicted. But Clermont Auvergne, who are a point behind the leaders, Leicester, will be favourites to qualify automatically for the last eight. The French club beat the third team in the mix, the Ospreys, 27-7 at home yesterday.
The Welsh region play Leicester at home on Saturday while Clermont play Viadana away. If Clermont take a bonus-point victory in Italy, as they will expect to do, only a bonus-point victory for Leicester in Wales will stop them winning the pool. Clermont have collected more points than either of their rivals in the matches between them, and will thus finish above either side if they are level.
The Ospreys led Clermont 7-0, thanks to a try from Tommy Bowe, and a conversion from Dan Biggar. For Clermont, the Australian fly-half, Brock James, kicked four penalties and a drop-goal and Julien Malzieu and Napolioni Nalaga scored tries.
The Ospreys' match against Leicester may still provide a quarter-finalist, as either side will reach 20 points with a win. The Ospreys will reach 21 if they also score four tries, and given Leicester's need for five points to win the pool, attack should be in order.
The Ospreys' head coach, Sean Holley, said: "it's Leicester, we're at home and it's winner-takes-all. We are still in a position to qualify and that will sharpen our focus."
In Pool One, Munster scored six tries in a 44-7 win over Treviso in the Veneto. The centre Keith Earls scored a try in each half and Denis Hurley, Donncha O'Callaghan, Paul Warwick and Donnacha Ryan also scored tries. Ronan O'Gara kicked 12 points. Alessandro Zanni scored Treviso's try and Marius Goosen converted.
Munster play Northampton in Limerick on Friday. They are seven points clear, so if the Saints lose at Perpignan today the Irish province will win Pool One. If Northampton win today against a side who are out of the competition, a tasty little match will be in prospect at Thomond Park.
In Pool Six Leinster beat Brive 27-10 in Dublin. Isa Nacewa, Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll scored tries for the holders, who were also awarded a penalty try. Pierre Uys and Scott Spedding scored for Brive. Leinster play London Irish in the pool decider at Twickenham on Saturday.
In the Amlin Challenge Cup, Leeds won 38-16 at Overmach Parma and Worcester beat Olympus Madrid 54-3. Leeds are in contention in Pool One, level with Bourgoin, their opponents at Headingley on Sunday. Rhys Oakley, Jonny Hepworth, Jon Goodridge, Luther Burrell and Calum Clarke scored their tries; Cerion Thomas kicked five conversions and a penalty. Manoa Vosawai scored the Italian side's try. Barry Irving kicked 11 points.
Worcester's match was a dead rubber. The No 8 Matt Cox scored a hat-trick, the flanker Jake Abbott scored two tries and Chris Pennell, Sam Tuitupou and Greg King scored one each. Matthew Jones kicked four conversions and Joe Carlisle three.Reuse content