After six rounds of Pool play the Champions Cup quarter-finalists have been confirmed, yet a side who finished eighth on competition points failed to make it through to the knockout stages.
Connacht fell agonisingly close of a quarter-final spot after Sunday’s 19-10 loss to Toulouse – with the French side going through as the second best runner-up across the five Pools.
The result, as well as Wasps’ bonus point win over Zebre, meant Pat Lam’s men fell from first to third in Pool 2 – and in turn failed to progress in the competition.
Based on overall competition points on a traditional ladder, Connacht finished eighth, two points clear of Toulon who sneak into the next round as the third best runner-up overall.
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) rules that the five pool winners and the three best placed runners-up qualify, and Connacht knew this heading into Sunday’s match.
But even still it seems unjust that Connacht – who not only finished on more competition points, but had more wins, tries and a superior points differential than Toulon – didn’t progress.
The quarter-finals throw up some tantalising fixtures, with six out of the eight teams involved having won Europe’s biggest club trophy.
Clermont will host Toulon in an all Top 14 affair, with the winner to take on who prevails from the clash between the fourth and fifth seeds in Leinster and Wasps.
On the other side of the draw, Toulouse will head to Thomond Park to take on Munster, while defending champions Saracens host first time quarter-finalists Glasgow Warriors.
These fixtures will be held between March 31 and April 2.
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