Guinness Premiership 2009 - Wasps dreams of a comeback are over

Last night, Wasps lost away to Bath. This now means that it is impossible to gain a top four place. Due to the problem of internationals being taken from clubs for long periods during tournaments like the six nations, the Guinness Premiership runs a playoff system, at the end of the season the top placed and the fourth placed team play (top club at home), likewise the second and third placed teams play. The winner of each match goes to the Premiership final. It would always have been a struggle to get to the top four, but Wasps have done that before. Last season we gained a top four finish by the skin of our teeth and went on to win the competition.

This season, it is not to be. The trick will be to get a top six finish.

Why does this matter? Well, qualification for the Heineken Cup goes to the top six teams in the premiership by right. If an English team wins the Heineken Cup then they get a place by right, and if they were in the top six then the seventh placed team goes through.

There will be two English teams in the Semi Final. On the 11th, Leicester play Bath in the quarter finals, the winner going on to play away at Cardiff or Toulouse. On the 12th, Quins are at home to Leinster with the winner playing away at Munster or Ospreys.

The Semi-finals will be played on the weekend of the 2nd May, and the final will be on the 23rd at Murrayfield.

To get up to sixth position is a big ask. Given that Wasps have to get 12 points from an available 15 - and that is without the other teams gaining anything.

On the upside, Wasps cannot now be relegated.

This weekend, Wasps need to see Saints lose to Gloucester, and Leicester beat Sale. Obviously, Wasps will have to beat Newcastle.

Then, Wasps will want Sale to lose to Quins, Saints to lose to Irish, Wasps to win away from home at Bristol, Saracens to lose to Tigers, Newcastle to lose to Bath.

... and then we'd need things to go well in the final week. Whilst there is always hope, I don't think sixth is attainable. Seventh is our best hope, but even that is a reach with the end of the season so close.

I really don't see Wasps taking part in the Heineken Cup next year. Still, they do say that the European Challenge Cup gives more interesting destinations (assuming that the games fall on dates when I can travel).

Bristol are in danger of relegation, but are just managing to hang on. Any win by Worcester, or any loss by Bristol, will see Bristol drop down to National League One. Bristol have to play The Exiles (Irish), Wasps and Tigers (Leicester). Worcester face Saracens, Gloucester and The Exiles.

In National One, Leeds Carnegie lead the table and could be bouncing back into the premiership, but the Exeter Chiefs are only four points behind.

  Team P W D L F A BP PTS
1 Harlequins 19 12 1 6 463 344 7 57
2 Leicester 19 12 1 6 456 354 7 57
3 Bath 19 11 2 6 488 390 9 57
4 Gloucester 19 12 0 7 404 361 8 56
5 London Irish 19 10 1 8 464 329 13 55
6 Sale 19 11 0 8 364 349 7 51
7 Saracens 19 9 0 10 398 376 10 46
8 Newcastle 19 9 1 9 330 398 4 42
9 Northampton 19 8 1 10 364 371 5 39
10 Wasps 19 8 0 11 349 389 7 39
11 Worcester 19 5 2 12 298 484 2 26
12 Bristol 19 2 1 16 257 490 7 17