Clubs eye semi-final spots
February 4, 2010
Neil Best and Northampton face a midlands derby against Leicester this weekend © Getty Images
Bath Rugby Cardiff Blues Dragons England Gloucester Rugby Harlequins Leicester Tigers London Irish Newcastle Falcons Northampton Saints Ospreys Sale Sharks Saracens Scarlets Wales Wasps Worcester Warriors Yorkshire Carnegie
With the Six Nations kicking off to a rapturous fanfare this weekend, England and Wales' club sides will be vying for places in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Northampton put one foot into the last four with their victory over Sale last weekend, and the Saints face a local derby on Saturday to confirm their second semi-final in as many seasons. Leicester are the visitors to Franklin's Gardens and the Tigers have one eye on progressing from Pool 1.
A good few weeks for the Scarlets continued with victory over Wasps last weekend and Nigel Davies' men are now five points clear of Gloucester in Pool 2. An all-Welsh derby at Parc y Scarlets will provide knock-out rugby for either the home side or reigning champions Cardiff Blues, who routed Newcastle last weekend to move to the top of Pool 3.
Harlequins are level on points with the Blues and face the Scarlets' nearest rivals, Gloucester at the Stoop on Sunday. There is a similar equation at Vicarage Road, where Saracens face the Dragons. The home side are level on points with Leicester in Pool 1, with the Dragons four points behind Northampton.
Newcastle are out of the reckoning but could influence the outcome of Pool 3 by beating Wasps at Kingston Park, with the London side a point behind the Blues and Quins.
Sale are third in Pool 1 but retain a chance of progressing should Saracens and Leicester lose out. The Sharks are on the road to Bath on Saturday. London Irish have to bag maximum points from their meeting with Worcester at Sixways if they are to overhaul Gloucester and the Scarlets, while Ospreys and Leeds kick-off the weekend with a dead-rubber at the Liberty Stadium.
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton
Cards, kicks, slips and scores: It's The Week in Pictures, the finest snaps from the last seven days of rugby