More end of poolery for the Northern Hemisphere this week, with only a couple of weeks left to get through to the playoffs. Whom can you watch, where?
Club Rugby Round 19 (or 20 (or 22))
Gallagher Premiership R19
Four games left and Exeter (76pts) are 32 points ahead of the fifth place team (Sale with 44pts), so they (Exeter, not Sale, despite this being an outrage) are already guaranteed a play-off spot even if they don’t get a single extra point from now on, and it’s the same for Saracens (67pts). So that leaves only two places available, and here it’s a lot less certain. Five teams are within seven points of fourth-placed Harlequins (49pts) and even Gloucester (55pts) aren’t out of the woods yet — their Saturday home clash against Bath (6th, 44pts) feels important.
Similarly, it won’t help the chances of 8th placed Wasps (42pts) if they can’t beat Exeter away on Sunday.
At the bottom of the table, only eight points separate Bristol (37pts) from Newcastle (29pts). That makes Friday’s Newcastle v Leicester (34pts) match a must-watch for fans of relegation-induced fear.
Pro 14 R20
Only two games left in the Pro 14, which does things differently…
Glasgow (71pts) and Munster (68pts) are safe at the top of Conference A, as is Leinster in Conference B (74pts). In A, Connacht (56pts), Cardiff (52pts) and Ospreys (49pts) all have a mathematical chance of grabbing the 3rd qualification spot. It’s tighter in B, because two spots are available to be shared by Ulster (54pts), Treviso (52pts), Edinburgh (51pts) and (very outsidely) Scarlets (45pts).
Two games therefore stand out as crucial for the final placings: Edinburgh v Ulster (Fri), and Connacht v Cardiff on Saturday. A Connacht win means they’ve qualified and Cardiff haven’t. End of. If Cardiff win, it’s open for another week. Not quite so clear-cut in B: we know that a win for Ulster means they’re through (in 2nd or 3rd) and Edinburgh will need to rely on others. The other way round — well that’s for next week.
Finally, Leinster v Glasgow on Saturday also attracts as who doesn’t want to watch a top of the tables clash?
Top 14 R22
Four—yes, four—weeks left in the Top14. Toulouse are still top (76pts), followed by Clermont (71pts), Lyon (60pts) and Racing (58pts). The only televised match is on Saturday between Bordeaux (6th, 56pts) and Castres (5th, 58pts), when one or both or neither of these teams will win.
Weekend TV Fixtures
Channels in bold are free to air.
Friday 12th April
08:35 Crusaders v Rebels, SR (Sky Sports Action)
10:45 Rebels v Stormers, SR (Sky Sports Action/Main Event)
18:00 Treviso v Munster, Pro14 (Free Sports)
19:35 Edinburgh v Ulster, Pro14 (Premier Sports 1)
19:35 Southern Kings v Ospreys, Pro14 (Premier Sports 2)
19:45 Newcastle v Leicester, GPR (BT Sport 1)
Saturday 13th April
02:00 IRB Sevens Singapore (Sky Sports Action/Main Event)
08:35 Chiefs v Blues, SR (Sky Sports Action)
10:45 Brumbies v Lions, SR (Sky Sports Action)
12:00 England U18 v Wales U18, 6NU18 (Free Sports)
13:45 Bordeaux v Castres, Top14 (Sky Sports Arena)
14:05 Sharks v Los Jaguares, SR (Sky Sports Arena)
14:30 Ireland U18 v France U18, 6NU18 (Free Sports)
15:00 Gloucester v Bath, GPR (BT Sport 3, Channel 5)
15:00 Leinster v Glasgow, Pro14 (Premier Sports 1)
16:15 Bulls v Reds, SR (Sky Sports Action)
17:00 Scotland U18 v Italy U18, 6NU18 (Free Sports)
17:15 Scarlets v Zebre, Pro14 (Premier Sports 1)
17:30 Bridgend v Llanelli, Principality Premiership (BBC 2 Wales / red button)
18:35 Cheetahs v Dragons, Pro14 (Premier Sports 2)
19:35 Connacht v Cardiff, Pro14 (Premier Sports 2, TG4)
Sunday 14th April
01:45 IRB Sevens Singapore (Sky Sports Action / Main Event)
15:00 Exeter v Wasps, GPR (BT Sport 1)
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