ROUND four of the European Challenge Cup rolls around this weekend and it's the final group game for Worcester Warriors out in Italy against Zebre.

It's a different format this year in the competition so even though Worcester haven't yet won a game in the group stage, they can still qualify for the round of 16 stage.


So there are three pools of five teams in the tournament this year and the top three from each of those will qualify automatically for the knockout stage.

Them, two of the three fourth placed finishers will also qualify depending on which two have the better points total.

Here is how it stands currently in Worcester's pool.

Worcester News:

Worcester play Zebre in Parma on Saturday knowing they will not know their fate until next weekend when the final round of matches is played.

However, they do know that a bonus-point win will give them the best possible chance of qualifying from the pool so the full five points has to be the aim against a Zebre side who have not won a game in any competition so far this season.

What else needs to happen?

Newcastle Falcons' trip to Toulon was cancelled this morning due to a number of positive cases in the Newcastle camp, so going with the tournament rules, that means Toulon will be handed a 28-0 win and the full five points.

And that also means Newcastle take zero points from the game and stay on nine points, which for Worcester, is the result they would have wanted from the game anyway.

If Warriors were now to beat Zebre with a bonus-point, they would then be level on points with the Falcons (nine) in third place (automatic qualification spot), whilst the French outfit Toulon are now clear at the top with 15.

Biarritz do not play this weekend but would be in fourth with eight points and have to play Toulon in the final game, whilst Newcastle will host Zebre.

You would assume that the English side would get a bonus-point win at home to the Italian side and IF Toulon beat their French rivals Biarritz and denied them a point, the final table would look like this.

  • Toulon 20 points
  • Newcastle 14 points
  • Worcester 9 points
  • Biarritz 8 points
  • Zebre 0 points

And that would mean Worcester would qualify automatically but even if results didn't go their way, they could still come as one of the best fourth placed teams, but that would not be known until all games have been played.

Make sense? I know, it's complex but there is still plenty to play for in Europe and hopes remain alive for Jonathan Thomas' men.