Champions Cup power rankings

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Rounds three and four are complete in this season’s Champions Cup. We have the first team into the knockout stages and Robert Rees ranks each team in the latest LWOR power rankings.

1st – Leinster (Up 1)

Leo Cullen’s men take the top spot following their qualification to the knockout stages. An emphatic double header win over Northampton making them the first side to qualify after just four rounds.

They remain unbeaten this season and despite losing Jonny Sexton for a few months at least, look set to dominate the end of season awards.

2nd – Exeter Chiefs (Down 1)

Rob Baxter’s men drop one place, mainly due to the brilliance of Leinster. The Chiefs remain unbeaten after four games and have been extremely strong in each of their performances.

Despite some hail delaying the game against Sale, it doesn’t seem like there’ll be much more of a delay on their qualification.

3rd – Ulster (Up 3)

Ulster rise from six in the second round of rankings following their brace of wins over Harlequins. A narrow win at Ravenhill projected them into three straight wins in Europe before a dominate 35-10 win pushed them clear at the top of pool three along with Clermont.

John Cooney’s sixth and seventh tries of the season highlighting how well Ulster are performing this season.

4th – Toulouse (Up 3)

Toulouse are starting to look like the side that have won four Champions Cup crowns. Two wins over Montpellier in successive weeks leaves them nine clear at the top of pool five and likely to qualify as pool winners.

5th – Racing (Down 1)

Racing may be top of their pool and unbeaten but fall in these rankings due to the success of others. Two wins over the Ospreys may not be enough to see them retain fourth in our rankings, but they are enough to set them on a seemingly easy path to a top spot in pool four.

6th – Clermont (Up 2)

The three-time runners-up are starting to bubble after a disappointing defeat to Ulster in round two. Two heavy wins over Bath leave them just one point behind Ulster in the race for automatic qualification and sets them up for qualification even if they fall at the final two hurdles.

7th – Munster (Down 2)

Following two scrappy affairs against Saracens, resulting in one defeat, Munster fall by two spots, but will chase one of the three ‘lucky losers’ spots in their final two games. A home tie against the Ospreys and a trip to Racing could leave them struggling for enough points.

8th – Saracens (Up 1)

After a slow start with squad rotations, Mark McCall’s men have attempted to begin their attempt to retain the Champions Cup. Despite defeating Munster at Allianz Park, they look set to fall short and in doing so, also leave Munster with work to do.

9th – Northampton Saints (Down 6)

Their heavy losses against Leinster leave Saints in a sticky situation. Not only are they close to being out of the premier European competition, but they have run the risk of losing their momentum.

10th – Glasgow Warriors (Up 3)

A big rise for the Warriors following their battle with La Rochelle in rounds three and four. A win in France was just what they needed after a heavy defeat to Exeter, but a few sloppy mistakes in awful conditions just cost them a win in the return game.

11th – Sale Sharks ( – )

Sale remain stationary in our power rankings following some good performances against Exeter, but no results. The Sharks look all but out of Europe now, but have certainly proven the damage they can do to quality sides.

12th – Gloucester (Up 4)

A strong bonus point win at home pushed Gloucester up the ranks after a slow start, but they have been held back by a disappointing late loss in the return game. Gloucester went back to their old selves and only rise by four due to a slow start.

13th – Connacht (Up 3)

Connacht’s late rally and fighting spirit against Gloucester sees them rise by three places after an average start to their campaign. A brilliant comeback at the Sportsground giving their supporters something big to shout about.

14th – Lyon (Up 4)

A great couple of games against Benetton sees the French outfit climb four spots, equal biggest jump in this list. A win over the Italians in round three set them up for a promising Christmas, but they were outfought in the second game, despite a solid performance.

15th – La Rochelle (Up 4)

La Rochelle look out of this year’s Champions Cup and somehow walked away with a win over Glasgow last week. They crumbled at home against the warriors from a winning position, but made up for it a week later.

16th – Benetton (Down 1)

Kieron Crowley’s side fall one spot after a solid battle against Lyon that saw them walk away with one win. They didn’t show the performances they managed against both Saints and Leinster against the Top14 side.

17th – Harlequins (Down 5)

A bitterly disappointing campaign for Paul Gustard’s men leaves them 11 and 12 points behind Clermont and ulster in their pool. Sloppy mistakes have left them wanting and despite pushing Ulster close in Ireland they haven’t managed to beat anyone other than Bath.

18th – Montpellier (Down 8)

Perhaps the most disinterested side in this year’s Champions Cup can go Montpellier, who found their only win so far against a Gloucester second team. Back to back losses against Toulouse leaves them languishing at the bottom of pool five.

19th – Ospreys (Up 1)

Dispute remaining without a win in this season’s competition the Ospreys have looked much better in their double class with Racing and picked up a losing bonus point on the road. Being down to 12 men at one stage ended their game early doors at home.

20th – Bath (Down 3)

Stuart Hooper’s side sit bottom of their pool and despite losing all of their games, haven’t always been a million miles off, but have been poor in their performances. Their campaign has yet again been a damp squib.

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