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What Bulls and Stormers require to reach play-offs

EURO SPOTLIGHT: Eight teams have already booked their places in the Champions Cup’s Round of 16. However, for the two South African entrants there is plenty to play for in the final round of league action.

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Lyon, Bordeaux-Bègles (both Pool One), Stade Toulousain, Bath Rugby, Harlequins (all Pool Two), Northampton Saints, Exeter Chiefs (both Pool Three) and Leinster (Pool Four) have already booked their play-off spots.

For them it is now about securing home ground advantage.

For the rest, including the Bulls and Stormers, there is the final mad dash to qualify.

Here is a rundown of who needs to achieve what in the last round of the Champions Cup pool stage.

Pool One

Both Bordeaux-Bègles and Lyon are already through to the Round of 16, with the former needing a point from their trip to Bulls on Saturday to clinch a home tie.

Lyon could still snaffle top spot in the pool if they win at Saracens on the same day and Union Bordeaux-Bègles leave Loftus Versfeld pointless. Either way, a Lyon win guarantees them a home Round of 16 tie.

The Bulls will qualify with a point of any kind, but need a win for any chance of a home tie, coupled with a Lyon defeat or draw.

Meanwhile, Bristol Bears, who travel to Connacht on Friday, and Saracens need to outdo each other in their respective matches, with the better performance qualifying. The Irish province needs a big win over Bristol Bears and a Saracens defeat to Lyon to have any chance of continuing.

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Pool Two

Stade Toulousain, Bath and Harlequins have all guaranteed themselves a spot in the Round of 16.

Harlequins could still seal a home tie with a big bonus-point win over Ulster at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday and a pointless defeat for either Stade Toulousain or Bath in their clash in France on Sunday.

Below that trio, all the other teams are in contention, but if Ulster can burgle a win in London, then both Racing 92 and Cardiff are out.

If the Irish province loses, Racing 92 will grab qualification by beating Cardiff in Paris on Saturday, while the Welsh region would do the same, although they might need a bonus point as well.

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Pool Three

Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs are both through. Unless Munster hammer Northampton Saints at Thomond Park on Saturday and Exeter Chiefs collapse at Aviron Bayonnais on Sunday, the Premiership pair will be at home in the Round of 16.

While Munster need only a point to ensure qualification, Glasgow Warriors must beat Toulon at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday to join them.

Aviron Bayonnais can qualify with a win and a Toulon victory, but they would need to match their TOP 14 rivals in bonus points too, while Toulon can qualify by beating Glasgow Warriors along with an Exeter Chiefs triumph.

Pool Four

Leinster can sleep easiest, having already qualified and needing only a bonus point from their trip to Leicester Tigers on Saturday for a home Round of 16 tie.

Last-placed Stade Français Paris is the only club in the competition who have no mathematical chance of qualifying for the Round of 16.

The best they can do is a place in the EPCR Challenge Cup by beating Stormers on Saturday in France.

Otherwise, it’s intrigue everywhere.

From the Sale Sharks v Stade Rochelais tie at Salford Stadium on Sunday, whoever wins is through and a bonus-point win could seal a home tie for either too.

Both Leicester Tigers and Stormers could still grab a home tie as well, but the Premiership club need to deny Leinster any kind of bonus, score four tries themselves and win by 38 to guarantee it.

Meanwhile, the Stormers need to come away from Paris with a bonus-point win to guarantee a Round of 16 tie in Cape Town.

The bottom line is whoever does best between Stormers and Leicester Tigers has home rugby in the next round.

Source: @ChampionsCup

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