RUGBY

Gloucester Rugby face tough battle for Champions Cup qualification

Gloucester Rugby require four consecutive wins in the Champions Cup pool stages in order to qualify for the quarter-finals after back-to-back defeats.

Defeats at home to Toulouse and away at Montpellier leave The Cherry and Whites at the bottom of Pool five. Gloucester will play Connacht twice in December.

Along the way, Johan Ackermann’s men have picked up two losing bonus points which could prove crucial at the back-end of the group stages in January.

Will Gloucester qualify for the quarter-finals?

There’s still 20 points available for Gloucester but they will require difficult wins away in Ireland and France.

With the Gallagher Premiership being highly competitive and no rest weekends without the Premiership Cup, head coach Ackermann may decide to rest players in Europe.

Gloucester host Connacht in Round three and with the game being played in front of the Kingsholm faithful, it’s likely Ackermann gives the 2019 edition one last chance.

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It also helps Gloucester that only one second placed team have picked up two wins in the competition giving them good hope of qualifying as one of the best three runner-ups.

What about the other English clubs?

Five out of the seven English teams picked up wins in the Champions Cup over the weekend.

Exeter Chiefs look set to end their European campaign troubles after picking up their second five point win in as many weeks. The Chiefs will play back-to-back fixtures against Sale Sharks in December.

Saracens, Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks managed to make their mark on this year’s Champions Cup with wins in round two. Harlequins defeated Bath in an all-English affair.

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