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Aviva Premiership
Heineken Cup lifeline for Wasps?
April 27, 2012
Wasps' Joe Launchbury looks dejected, Bath v London Wasps, Aviva Premiership, The Rec, Bath, England, April 21, 2012
Could Wasps' Premiership woe be eased by qualification for next season's Heineken Cup? © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Heineken Cup

London Wasps' hopes of finding a new owner could be handed an unexpected boost with qualification for next season's Heineken Cup.

The Wycombe-based club may be threatened with both relegation and administration, but they could still end a miserable campaign with a place among the elite thanks to their ERC Ranking that is based on their performances in Europe over the past four seasons. However, the unlikely qualification route will only be open to them if either Clermont Auvergne or Edinburgh win this year's competition.

Edinburgh face Ulster in a Dublin semi-final this Saturday and Clermont host defending champions Leinster in Bordeaux. Wasps would also have to secure their own Aviva Premiership status, which they can do with a single bonus point against Newcastle on May 5. If Ulster and Leinster both win this weekend to set up an all-Ireland Heineken Cup then the last qualification place for next year's competition will go to Connacht.

If Edinburgh or Clermont do prevail, Wasps will qualify as the highest-ranked non-French club not to have already qualified. The ERC rankings are based on European performances over the past four years.

Heineken Cup qualification would be a massive shot in the arm for a club desperate to find new financial backers. Wasps face going into administration unless they can find a new owner by June, following the recent collapse of takeover talks with a prospective buyer.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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