Perhaps a little early to be posting this overall ranking standings table but it just shows how much rugby is still left to be played and how a result here or there could affect the playoff berths.
If the tournament pool stages concluded this weekend, the following quarter finals would be:
- Saracens vs. Ulster Rugby
- Racing 92 vs. Glasgow Warriors
- Toulouse vs. Leinster Rugby
- Munster Rugby vs. Edinburgh Rugby
There will be twists and turns in the pool stages but it looks clear that Saracens and Racing 92 will be vying it out for the top seed given their remaining schedules. Either way, the first and second seed even at this early stage looks already locked down given the remaining schedules of these teams.
After that, it becomes muddied. Toulouse secured a vital road trip win to Wasps who are as good as out of the contest. The key contest now for Toulouse in the pool is their road trip fixture to Leinster Rugby; a potential winner getting a home quarter final up for grabs. Bath Rugby and Wasps could be vulnerable to a couple of hidings before the end of this pool phase.
Munster Rugby have an arduous series of road trip fixtures. An away assignment to Castres who always give teams a torrid time and then a trip to Kingsholm to meet a Gloucester Rugby full of confidence after taking the scalp of Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park. Pool 2 has twists and turns to go yet before the weekend of January 19th.
Saracens in particular have shown the defensive organization and attacking guile in their pool phase. Cardiff Blues and Lyon look detached already so potential bonus points on offer for both Saracens and Glasgow Warriors who should secure a best runner up berth.
Racing 92’s offloading game at home particularly has being a joy to watch. Ulster Rugby’s win at Scarlets give the Irish province a chance to secure a best runner up berth and they may need to beat Racing 92 at Kingspan Stadium to secure playoff rugby next April. Scarlets are out, disappointing campaign and Leicester Tigers could join them if they do not beat Racing 92 next weekend.
Edinburgh Rugby hold sway in the Pool 5 standings but do have a road trip to RC Toulon who will be keen to avenge a massive loss to the Scottish club in round two. Montpellier are as good as out so Newcastle Falcons may have a potential chance of securing a best runner up berth. All to play for in this pool.