The maths behind Cardiff Blues making the Challenge Cup quarter-finals

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Last week’s loss away at Leicester Tigers has left Cardiff Blues on the back foot when it comes to qualifying for the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Progressing in the competition is now out of our hands, but it is still possible to make it to the knockout stages, if a sequence of three things go our way in the final round of pool stage games on Saturday afternoon.

Do our job

It starts with Cardiff Blues upholding our end of the bargain, and that is a simple one; hammer Calvisano to claim a bonus point win.

Of course you would back John Mulvihill’s men to win against semi-professional Italian opposition anyway, but we really need to put on a try scoring show at the Arms Park on Saturday. Secure the bonus point early on and then keep going.

Five points is crucial, but extending our points difference could also come in handy at the end of the day.

Come second in the pool

At the same time as our game Pau will be hosting Leicester in the other pool five game, and we really need the French side not to win this one to ensure we finish as runner-up.

Josh Adams Leicester

They can lose with two losing bonus points, or even earn a draw and secure a bonus point, and we would still finish second, but if Pau beat Leicester then the qualifying dream is over.

Come on Leicester!

Then pray

If by 3pm we have somehow managed to finish second in our pool then to ensure we finish as one of the best runners-up we will need favours elsewhere.

There is a chance that we could finish as one of the best runners-up straight away, but that would need an unlikely set of results from pool one who play on Friday night, that includes Dragons losing at home to Enisei, therefore we will discount that.

Instead we would either need Edinburgh to get two or less points from their game against Agen at Murrayfield, or Scarlets to get four or less points from their game against London Irish at the Madjeski Stadium.

The former is pretty unlikely as Agen are currently bottom of pool three with no points from their five games, but Scarlets may not find it too easy to get a bonus point at London Irish, not an easy place to go even if the English side are already out.

All in all, it’s going to be a tense day, but as long as we do what we have to then that’s all that can be asked.

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