The pool stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup have concluded for another year, with the likes of Northampton, Bordeaux and Toulouse topping their respective sections with flying colours.
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Irish side Leinster topped Pool Four in dramatic fashion, coming back from 10-0 down to win 27-10 against Leicester Tigers.
Ending this stage just one bonus point away from a perfect twenty, Leo Cullen’s side were dominant in each of their four fixtures and have conceded a tournament low of 58 points so far.
The Aviva Stadium will play host to the Tigers in the next round and after finishing runners-up in the last two editions of this tournament, expect Leinster to push for another final appearance.
Toulouse have a rich pedigree in this competition, having lifted the trophy a record five times, most recently back in 2021.
Their bid for a sixth trophy lift has started emphatically with a perfect points tally from Pool Two, as well as registering the highest points total of any side in the competition with 178.
A home tie at the Stade Ernest-Wallon against fellow French side Racing 92 is their prize for a dominant pool stage, and their past performances puts them firmly in contention for the final in June.
Bordeaux were denied an undefeated pool stage by Bulls in the final game of Pool One, losing 46-40 in an enthralling encounter.
This defeat did not deny Yannick Bru’s top spot in the section and it remains their only loss in their last nine games in all competitions.
Les Girondins will play host to Saracens at the Stade Chaban-Delmas in April and could make history this year in reaching their first ever Champions Cup final.
Reigning champions La Rochelle started their title defence with back-to-back defeats to Leinster and Stormers, with victories over Leicester and Sale eventually confirming qualification for the knockout stages.
However, their recent pedigree in this tournament means you can never truly write Les Maritimes off, with the French side winning two of the last three finals as well as finishing runners-up in the other.
A poor pool stage by their standards means they must travel to South Africa to face Stormers in Cape Town, and a vast improvement is required if Ronan O’Gara’s side wish to play in a fourth consecutive final.
No South African side has ever reached a final of the European Rugby Champions Cup, let alone lift the trophy, but Pretoria-based Bulls provide their best hope of breaking this record.
Coached by World Cup winning boss Jake White, Bulls finished second in Pool One and could very well have topped this group had it not been for their one point defeat to Lyon back in December.
Revenge may be on the cards in April however, as the Bulls will once again face the French outfit in the next round of the competition.
The Saints thrashed Bayonne 61-13 on matchday three before edging past Munster 26-23 in Ireland in their final pool match, extending their winning streak to nine matches.
Phil Dowson’s side have earnt a home tie against their aforementioned Irish opponents in the next round and, after their pool win ended a six game losing streak against Munster, the Saints could be on course to lift the trophy for the first time since 2000.
This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.