Thursday, 22 January 2015

And now the end is near ..

Leicester Tigers face an uphill battle to qualify for the quarter finals and the chance of glory (or another April exit), the odds seem stacked against us, but just how could we qualify?  In a homage to the indisputable greatest film of the 20th Century, Wayne's World, The Ultra Submarines have been dreaming of their best alternate endings:

The Red Rose Ending:

Stuart Lancaster’s Red Rose Revolution continues as English Clubs back up their six wins in round 3, and five wins in round 5 with a perfect seven in round 6. Wasps and Quins start us off, with thumping wins over Leinster and Castres. Northampton thrash Racing at the Gardens. Steffon Armitage is to the fore with another hat-trick as Toulon run in a try bonus point at Scarlets and Tom Youngs and Geoff Parling get braces as Tigers stroll to the bonus point win at Ravenhill. 

On Sunday, Ford inspires Bath to a bonus point win. England reject Toby Flood has a nightmare, justifying Lancaster’s decision to alienate him and Toulouse limp to a loss in Montpellier. With the Prem Rugby twitter account exploding in delight, Saracens top off the weekend winning 40-10 at the Stade Marcel Michelin and sneaking their London neighbours Quins through in the final best runner up spot. At the end of a breathless day, heavyweights Toulouse, Clermont and Leinster are out and 6 of the 8 quarter finalists are English.

Group Winners:
Saints 24 pts PD +150
Toulon 23 pts PD +81
Sarries 22pts PD +66
Wasps 21 pts PD +80
Bath 20pts PD +53

Second Places:
Racing 19 pts PD +45
Tigers 18 pts PD +29
Quins 18 pts PD +22
Clermont 18pts PD +18
Toulouse 17pts PD 0

Third Places:
Leinster 18 pts PD +17
Glasgow 14 pts PD +9

Quarter Finals:
Saints vs Quins
Toulon vs Tigers
Sarries vs Racing
Wasps vs Bath

The French Connection Ending:

“L’Espirit de Clocher”, In France, no matter what the competition, what the tables say, you play for the honour of your home town, for the church bells. Castres defeat Quins 17-9, at the same time Leinster out class Wasps leaving Pool one irrelevant in the battle for second places. 

In Pool 5, Northampton thrash Racing at the Gardens taking them to 24 points. Tigers scrape the try bonus point on the final play and a 10 point victory. Seemingly, heading out still with Sarries and Bath favourites to be best runner ups. On the Sunday, the clock tower strikes again. Montpellier are inspired to victory over Toulouse, in a humdinger of a game Toulouse pick up both a losing and try bonus going down 35-32. Clermont inspired by a large crowd and stung by previous losses hurt Sarries hard with a 21 point victory.

Group Winners:
Saints 24 pts PD +150
Toulon 23 pts PD +81
Clermont 23 pts PD +69
Leinster 23 pts PD +67
Bath 20pts PD +53

Second:
Racing 19 pts PD +45
Tigers 18 pts PD +11
Toulouse 18pts PD 0
Sarries 17pts PD +15
Wasps 16 pts PD +30

Third:
Quins 13 pts PD 0
Glasgow 14 pts PD +9

Quarter Finals:
Saints vs Toulouse
Toulon vs Tigers
Clermont vs Racing
Leinster vs Bath


The Cream also rises Ending:

In Pool 2, Leinster beat Wasps and Quins beat Castres with 4 tries and a 21 point margin. Given a target, Tigers rise to the challenge, reaching 18 points and a points difference of 31. It is said that Mulipola in full flight is like watching the running of the bulls in Pamplona.  Toulouse see Montpellier off with a bonus point win to top their pool and Bath brush Glasgow aside. Finally, Clermont beat Saracens by 6 in a low scoring match.

Group Winners:
Saints 24 pts PD +150
Toulon 23 pts PD +81
Leinster 23 pts PD +68
Clermont 22 pts PD +54
Toulouse 21 pts PD +23

Second:
Bath 20 pts PD +52
Racing 19 pts PD +45
Tigers 18 pts PD +31
Sarries 18 pts PD +30
Quins 18 pts PD +29

Third:
Wasps 16 pts PD +29
Glasgow 14 pts PD +10

Quarter Finals:
Saints vs Tigers
Toulon vs Racing
Leinster vs Bath
Clermont vs Toulouse

The Scooby Doo Ending: 

Injuries and Warren Gatland force Llanelli to send a team of kids out against the might of Toulon. After 20 minutes Toulon are 21 points up and strolling to victory, however enter our hero. Referee Wayne Barnes keeps hearing things. Can they be saying what he thinks they are? Eventually he calls the captain over:

“Look, if you don’t stop swearing I’m going to have to use some cards”

“We’re Toulon, Mate, we swear when we want. Why have they put a load of %^$£!*% kids out anyway the disrespectful $%^”&”

10 minutes later the match is abandoned with Toulon down to 8 players. At the disciplinary hearing it emerges the Young Scarlets provoked matters, asking for autographs. Barnes is found to have acted entirely in order with the rulebook and Toulon are fined 10 points. Tigers win the group and Mourad Boudjellal is left saying "Et je aurais pris la fuite avec elle aussi, si ce ne ├ętait pas pour vous m├¬ler enfants!".


Bath drown in a Ford Ending: 

Possibly less likely than the Scooby Doo Ending...

Wasps beat Leinster with Leinster getting a losing bonus point. Quins therefore crash out in third place. Saints beat Racing. Toulon win easily, Tigers limp to a one point victory in an awful game and seemingly out, the offy crashes as the "Cockerill out NOW!!!" thread gets to 100 pages by 10pm.

Then on Sunday, Glasgow beat Bath convincingly and Montpellier beat Toulouse by 4 points in an awful game. Clermont avenge their loss to Sarries in last season’s semi-final with a 45-0 victory.

Group Winners:
Saints 24pts PD +130
Clermont 23 pts PD +93
Toulon 23pts PD +79
Wasps 20 pts PD + 50
Glasgow 18pts PD +39

Second:
Racing 19pts PD +65
Leinster 19pts PD +44
Tigers 17pts PD +2
Toulouse 17pts PD -1
Sarries 17 pts PD -9

Third:
Quins 18 pts PD +30
Bath 15 pts PD +23

Quarter Finals:
Saints v Tigers
Clermont v Leinster
Toulon v Racing
Wasps v Glasgow

Reality:

Ultimately, there are many weird and wonderful ways we could qualify, including some not discussed here, Bath and Glasgow could draw for example. In reality, it’s easier to look at what results would knock us out.

Pool 1 – Anything involving both teams getting 2 points or Sarries winning and Clermont getting 1 point is curtains for us, but by the time that game is on we will know exactly what the scenario is.

Pool 2 – A Wasps win with Leinster getting 1 or more bonus points is the only result which stops us having a shot at overtaking second place in this group. They play first so we will know what we have to do.

Pool 3 – We have to win, almost certainly with a bonus point.

Pool 4 – Any combination of results which involves 3 points or more for Toulouse and either 4 points for Bath or 5 for Glasgow puts them out of reach.

Pool 5 – We can’t catch them so we don’t care. Technically one of Saints or Racing Metro could fail to qualify with very strange results elsewhere, but they will both be above Tigers regardless.

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