It’s getting real, now…
After round 21 (Sale’s bye week), the maximum total for each team looks like this (I’ve included the current points difference for each team as well):
|Saracens||82||126||1H (LI), 2A (Nor, Bat)|
|Sale||71||80||1H (New), 2A (Bri, Glo)|
|Leicester||63||30||2H (Exe, Har)|
|London Irish||61||79||1H (Exe), 1A (Sar)|
|Exeter||58||–18||1H (Bri), 2A (Lei, LI)|
|Northampton||58||–61||1H (Sar), 1A (New)|
|Bristol*||56||–19||2H (Sal, Glo), 1A (Exe)|
|Harlequins||56||–26||2H (Bat, New), 1A (Lei)|
|Gloucester*||55||–42||2H (Bat, Sal), 1A (Bri)|
|Bath||47||–63||1H (Sar), 2A (Glo, Har)|
|Newcastle*||46||–86||1H (Nor), 2A (Har, Sal)|
Northampton are the lowest-placed team in the above table that can catch us now. Although Bristol and Quins can get to the same number of points, we’re already on 11 wins and the best they can do is 10. So, sixth place is guaranteed: not good enough.
We need one win to guarantee a semi-final place. Eight points will give us a home semi. Mind you, I’m hoping for three wins (and a couple of bonus points as well): we’re fully capable of beating all three teams home or away, so it would be very disappointing to struggle against any of them.
Gloucester looked clueless against Newcastle, we know how to beat Bristol – we just have to do it – and home advantage should tell against Newcastle. We should keep second place, but that doesn’t stop me from worrying about it…
As before, working on the assumption that each team gets a five-point win against teams below them in the max total table, and take two points from teams above them, here’s the table at the end of the season.