EDINBURGH are hanging on by their fingernails to second seed status for next season’s Heineken Cup despite suffering their worst campaign yet.
Their run to the semi-finals last season elevated the Scottish side to the second group of seeds, though it ultimately did them little good as they ended up with Saracens from the third pot as well as top-ranked Munster in this year’s tournament and finished last in the pool.
Glasgow did ensure the Scottish clubs did not finish with a whitewash, Peter Horne’s last-minute try sealing a fine 27-20 defeat of Northampton at Scotstoun on Saturday, but the Warriors will remain in the third pot for next season’s competition after also finishing a disappointing fourth in their pool.
The four seeding pots of six teams are based on the official European Rugby Cup rankings. Though Edinburgh have now dropped outside the top 12, to 13th, Biarritz and Stade Francais are struggling to qualify from the French Top 14 for next season’s tournament, unless they win the Amlin Challenge Cup.
The big movers after this season’s pool stages are Johnnie Beattie’s Montpellier, up from 30th spot to 20th, and they could overtake Edinburgh if they reach this year’s Heineken Cup final. Should Saracens beat Ulster and reach the semi-finals they would also pass Edinburgh. If either French team win the Amlin and Montpellier or Saracens leap above Edinburgh, Michael Bradley’s team would then drop back into the third pot for next season’s draw, along with 19th-placed Glasgow.
• Saracens are in discussion with Barnet Council over the possibility of staging their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at their new Allianz Park home. The Barnet ground is the preferred choice for the match, which is to be played on the weekend of 26-28 April, with Wembley or Twickenham potential alternatives. Sunday’s Test event against Cardiff in the LV= Cup will be the first game played on the artificial pitch in front of a crowd of 3,500, three weeks before the official opening against Exeter on 16 February.