The race for quarter-final qualification is entering the home straight with the majority of the coveted eight places set to go all the way to the completion of Round 6 matches on the weekend of 19 / 20 / 21 January…


Pool 1 leaders London Wasps face back-to-back French tests but a home win for the 2004 Heineken Cup champions over second placed Perpignan in Round 5 would go a long way to booking a quarter-final place. Perpignan need to win at Wasps and home to Benetton Treviso in Round 6 to stay in the mix for qualification as Pool winners.

Maximum points attainable:
London Wasps – 25 points
Perpignan – 23 points
Castres Olympique – 20 points
Benetton Treviso – 10 points


It might still go down to the wire in Pool 2 when Leinster travel to Kingsholm to face Gloucester Rugby in Round 6 but the Irish province, who already have a healthy four-point cushion at the top, could put a foot in the quarter-final door by beating Edinburgh at Donnybrook in Round 5 while Gloucester must win at Agen. Two wins for Agen would keep them in contention.

Maximum points attainable:
Leinster – 25 points
Gloucester Rugby – 21 points
Agen – 19 points
Edinburgh – 15 points


The losing bonus point Stade Français Paris picked up at Sale Sharks in Round 4 could end up being priceless as it gives them the edge in a Pool that might still need a slide rule. The Ospreys must beat both Stade Français Paris at home and Sale Sharks away while the Paris club finish with a home match against Rugby Calvisano.

Maximum points attainable:
Stade Français Paris – 25 points
Ospreys – 24 points
Sale Sharks – 20 points
Rugby Calvisano – 10 points


Defending champions Munster – who have now won a record 12 successive Heineken Cup matches – travel to the new tournament venue of Geneva aware it could still come down to Leicester Tigers’ visit to Thomond Park in Round 6 to decide the group winner.

Maximum points attainable:
Munster – 28 points
Leicester Tigers – 24 points
Cardiff Blues – 15 points
Bourgoin – 10 points


Llanelli Scarlets are in the driving seat and a win over Ulster Rugby at Ravenhill in Round 5 would put them in the last eight with a match to spare. Ulster must win that match and then win at Toulouse to stay in the hunt.

Maximum points attainable:
Llanelli Scarlets – 28 points
Ulster Rugby – 20 points
Toulouse – 18 points
London Irish – 16 points


Biarritz Olympique could become the first team to qualify with a maximum 30 points since the introduction of bonus points in season 2003 / 2004. They play their 50th tournament match when they meet Overmach Rugby Parma at Parc des Sports Aguilera in Round 5 and could celebrate by guaranteeing themselves both a quarter-final place and a home match for good measure. Northampton Saints are the best placed runners-up so far with 15 points in the hunt for the two final knock-out places to be earned along with the six Pool winners.

Maximum points attainable:
Biarritz Olympique – 30 points
Northampton Saints – 25 points
Border Reivers – 15 points
Overmach Rugby Parma – 10 points