Champions Cup power rankings

Treviso , Italy - 18 January 2020; Dave Kearney of Leinster ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup Pool 1 Round 6 match between Benetton and Leinster at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso, Italy. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

With the final stages of Champions Cup pool matches completed Robert Rees takes a look at the final round of power rankings.

1st – Leinster – (-)

Leinster retain the top spot and head into the quarter finals with 28 out of a possible 30 points. They rampaged through both Lyon and Benetton in their final rounds and have set up a humdinger of a clash with Saracens in the next round.

2nd – Exeter Chiefs – (-)

The Chiefs made club history when they qualified for a home tie for the first time and have done it in style, amassing 27 points along the way. They have proved too much for la resistance of La Rochelle and the might of both Sale and Glasgow on their way to an all Premiership clash with Northampton.

3rd – Toulouse – +1

After a slow start performance wise the four-time champions have got their mojo going. A crushing final round win over Gloucester wasn’t enough for them to overtake Exeter, but it was enough to earn them a home tie in the knockout stages.

4th – Clermont Auvergne – +2

Clermont looked strong as they finished their pool stages off with a flurry. Harlequins didn’t allow them to have it all their own way, but the Top14 outfit were strong enough to keep their lead and seal the final home quarter final spot.

5th – Racing 92 – (-)

Racing hold fifth following a gutsy display to climb out of a group that contained both Munster and the reigning champions Saracens. They may have ended with a loss at Allianz Park, but they looked dangerous when led by Teddy Iribaren and Virimi Vakatawa.

6th – Ulster – -3

Ulster drop sharply following some disappointing performances against Bath and Clermont, the latter of which yielded a loss. They earned a trip to Toulouse for their troubles, which would have disappointed them given their strong home form.

7th – Northampton Saints – +2

Saints can be very proud of making the quarter finals given the batterings handed to them by Leo Cullen’s Leinster. Cobus Reinach and Dan Biggar have pulled the strings well though and Chris Boyd’s men marched on with good results against Lyon and Benetton.

8th – Saracens – (-)

The reigning European and English champions crept into the final eight courtesy of Toulouse’s victory over Gloucester in the final match of the pool stages. Despite their off-field troubles they have come together and unified to look a tightknit squad on the turf.

9th – Glasgow Warriors – +1

The Warriors ended up as the unlucky losers, finishing ninth in the seedings. Some spirited displays against Exeter and Sale in their final outings proved vital in giving them a chance, but other results didn’t fall their way.

10th – Munster – -3

Johann van Graan can feel aggrieved that his side drew the ‘pool of death’. A crushing victory over the Ospreys in round six wasn’t good enough following Glasgow’s result, but they’ll rue the draw against Racing as a wasted opportunity.

11th – Gloucester – +1

The Cherry and Whites may have been blown away in their final and decisive match at Toulouse, but the week prior they were the ones doing the blowing away. Montpellier were no match for their cutting edge, despite losing Danny Cipriani early on.

12th – La Rochelle – +3

They sit fourth in the Top14 and fell short when needing other results to go their way along with themselves relying on a big win over Exeter – unlikely! They couldn’t deliver the goods when asked to and looked far too lackadaisical across the six games.

13th – Harlequins – +4

The biggest jumpers in the final round of Champions Cup power rankings. Quins looked very good despite their loss to Clermont and Paul Gustard’s men have fought hard and till the end in most of the games despite a mounting injury list.

14th – Connacht – -1

Two losses to end your campaign isn’t what you need before heading back into the Pro14, and losing your internationals whilst at it. Connacht mounted a heroic fightback in the latter stages of the first half but couldn’t hold out to boost morale.

15th – Montpellier – +3

They may have looked disinterested in round five against Gloucester, but perked right up against the Galway men to gather some respect from their dithering Champions Cup campaign.

16th – Sale Sharks – -5

A mediocre start to their campaign left them with slim pickings as the rounds went by and a woeful display against Glasgow to end would have left them with few positives. Especially after their sloppy loss to La Rochelle the week before.

17th – Lyon – +3

Lyon haven’t lit the Champions Cup up as much as we’d have liked. They entered having lost only one Top14 game at the time and have lost seven times since, five of those in Europe.

18th – Benetton – -2

Kieron Crowley’s men looked promising after some earlier form at Leinster before a dramatic, late loss at the hands of Northampton. Despite this they never really kicked on and finished with a lowly six points.

19th – Bath – +1

Bath climb off the bottom in our final instalment of Champions Cup power rankings after a spirited performance against Ulster to end their campaign. Despite going a man down they fought to the end, something they also did the round before in their loss to Harlequins.

20th – Ospreys – -1

Justin Tipuric playing at centre is all you need to know about the Ospreys injury woes right now. They couldn’t keep going in defence against a powerful Munster attack and fell sixth straight defeat in this year’s competition.

 

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