London Irish and Pontypridd remain on course for domestic and European knock-out doubles- but something will have to go in the Parker Pen Shield semi-finals in Oxford in April.
London Irish are through to the English Cup final on 20 April after beating NEC Harlequins 32-27 on Saturday (9 March).
Pontypridd are a couple of steps further away from their domestic showpiece occasion, hosting Caerphilly in the Welsh Cup quarter-finals at the end of March. But even if Pontypridd make home advantage count against their near neighbours, the Parker Pen Shield Anglo-Welsh clash will end the double hopes of one of them.
Meanwhile, Gloucester will hope they have struck a major psychological blow over Sale Sharks ahead of their Shield last four clash at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, on 28 April, the club second in the English Premiership beating third placed Sale 42-14 at Kingsholm on Saturday (9 March).
And the strength of the Shield is suitably reflected in that the three English semi-finalists occupy places in the top four of the Premiership with only Heineken Cup champions Leicester ahead of them. For their part, Pontypridd are well placed in the Welsh/Scottish League to qualify for the 2002/03 Heineken Cup.
Parker Pen Shield 2002 Semi-Finals.
(Kick-offs LOCAL time).
Saturday 27 April. London Irish v Pontypridd, (S4C) 5.30pm The Kassam Stadium, Oxford.
Sunday 28 April.Gloucester v Sale Sharks, 2.00 pm Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton