4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
Declan Kidney's side have amassed 21 points, the only 100 per cent record in the competition this season, from their five Pool 2 wins and take on Benetton Treviso at Lansdowne Road in Round 6 on Saturday looking to secure a home quarter-final as one of the top four Pool winners.
But the other seven quarter-final places are far from decided with 13 teams still in the hunt for the remaining seven prestigious knock-out places.
The calculators will be out this weekend, with Munster in the driving seat in their pool, safe in the knowledge that a win over NEC Harlequins will secure a quarter-final berth.
Following their gritty win over Gloucester last Friday night, Ulster are holding on to their outside chance of qualification, with a bonus point win over Cardiff their main aim. After that, it is essentially out of their hands.
Here is how the quarter-final qualifiers - and rankings - will be determined:
HOW THEY QUALIFY
1(a) Pool Matches Four points for a win, two points for a draw (match points). A bonus point will be earned by a team scoring four or more tries and by a team losing by seven or less points. The six Pool winners and two best placed runners-up will qualify for the Quarter-Finals and will be decided by the following criteria:
(i) the Pool winner will be the Club with the highest number of match points earned in each Pool. The runners-up will be the two second placed Clubs from all six Pools with the next highest number of points. For the Quarter-Final round, the Pool winners will be ranked 1 - 6 in terms of the number of points earned. The runners-up will be ranked 7 and 8.
Clubs in the same Pool: (ii) if Clubs are equal on points and the Clubs are in the same Pool, then qualification / ranking will be based on the matches played between the Clubs concerned: (a) the Club which has earned the most number of match points from the matches (four points for a win, two points for a draw and bonus points). (b) the Club which has scored the most tries in the matches. (c) the Club with the best points difference from the matches.
Clubs from different Pools: (iii) if still unresolved, or the teams have not played each other previously in the Pool stage, qualification/ranking will be based on: (a) the number of tries scored in all Pool matches. (b) aggregate points difference from all Pool matches. (c) the Club with the fewest number of players sent off and / or suspended in all Pool matches. (d) toss of a coin.
Teams ranked 1 - 4 will have home advantage. The Quarter-Finals will be:
Team 1 v Team 8; Team 2 v Team 7; Team 3 v Team 6; Team 4 v Team 5