Yesterday's matches in the LV Cup might have gone unnoticed by anyone not concerned with bar receipts – all five games finished in time for the Calcutta Cup to be watched on big screens in the warmth of various clubhouses – but they had quite a bearing on the fortunes of some of the competing clubs. The competition, you see, offers Heineken Cup qualification for its winners and relatively rich gate receipts for its home semi-finalists.
Northampton, Leicester and the Scarlets are thus sitting a little prettier this morning, confirmed as they are as winners of three of the four pools. Today's match between Bath and Exeter will decide the other semi-final place – Saracens (whose match against the Newport Gwent Dragons fell victim to the freeze on Friday night) have the slightest chance of catching Bath in Pool One, although if Bath take anything at all against the Chiefs they will be through.
Exeter's hopes disappeared yesterday when Northampton wrapped up Pool Four by hammering Wasps 57-10 at Franklin's Gardens. Wasps were already out of contention in Pool One: in the LV, teams play across pools. Andy Long, James Craig, Jamie Elliott (twice), Noah Cato (twice) and Alex Waller scored tries for the Saints; Joe Simpson, a scrum-half not needed by England at Murrayfield, scored for Wasps.
The Scarlets won Pool Three despite losing 19-14 at Sale, because Gloucester lost 23-15 at London Irish. Sale, for whom Onasai Auva'a scored a try, were out anyway; Peter Edwards scored a try for the Scarlets. At the Madejski Stadium, Brian Blaney scored a try for London Irish. They were outscored in that sense by Gloucester, for whom Ian Clark scored two, but Tom Homer's boot did the business for the home team.
The Exiles have not made the semi-finals, however, because Leicester yesterday beat Newcastle 24-13 to win Pool Two. Thomas Waldrom and George Skivington scored tries for the Tigers and Jamie Helleur scored one for the Falcons.