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Denis Hurley racing in for the try that wasn't.
Morgan Treacy
Things Shaping Up
12 December 2009, 11:08 am
Even with only three games gone, it's looking good for Biarritz in their quest to qualify for the knock-out stages and they'll almost certainly be joined by two sides from Pool Six, Leinster and London Irish, one or the other as winners and best runner-up.

Biarritz Olympique lead the way to qualification for the knock out stages of this season's Heineken Cup and even at this early stage look likely to end up number one seed thus ensuring a home quarter final for themselves.

Victory over Newport Gwent Dragons yesterday has them on 14 points and they should add another four next weekend in Wales, take at least one from their January visit to Kingsholm and end with five after the final home game against Glasgow.

Munster's Pool One will go right down to the wire with 19 points the minimum required to win it and no chance of the second placed emerging as a 'best runner-up' qualifier despite the presence of an Italian side. That honour will go to a club in Pool 6 or Pool 3.

For sixty minutes of yesterday's Clermont Auvergne's clash with Leicester Tigers viewers were treated to the most complete performance of the competition to date. They had run the Tigers ragged and the three late tries scored by the Tigers gave a totally misleading impression to what had gone before.

The first of those tries needed confirmation from the TMO who adjudged it legitimate although TV footage clearly showed a foot fractionally brushing the touchline before Anthony Allen grounded the ball. The pass for Jeremy Staunton's try was clearly forward.

Perhaps the next best in the impressive stakes came from defending champions Leinster in Parc Y Scarlets. They, backs and forwards, played some scintillating rugby in the opening half running in three tries and simply never put a foot wrong. However, in that opening half Scarlets were abysmal in almost every aspect of their play. By the time they'd been given a deserved half-time scalding the game was over.

Scarlets can expect more of the same next Saturday at the RDS where Leinster will take another five points from them. By the time the title holders fetch up at the Madejski Stadium in mid January they'll have harvested 20 points with a home quarter final the incentive.

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