Following the completion of the Zurich Premiership league season on Saturday (8th May), we now have a clearer picture of how we can qualify for next seasons Heineken Cup.
Quite simply, if we beat Montferrand in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup Final at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday 22nd May then that will give us a place in the Heineken Cup next year.
By finishing sixth in the table, we have qualified for the semi-finals of the Zurich Wildcard and face a trip to Welford Road to play Leicester Tigers this Saturday (15th May), kick-off 7.15pm.
If we win on Saturday, then we will take part in the Wildcard final at Twickenham against either Gloucester or Sale Sharks on Saturday 29th May, kick-off 3.30pm. However, if we were to win on Saturday and then also defeat Montferrand seven days later, then Leicester would take our place in the Wildcard final courtesy of the lucky loser ruling, as we would have qualified for the Heineken Cup by winning the Parker Pen Challenge Cup.
If we are defeated by Leicester and Montferrand, we would still have one other opportunity to qualify but would need a helping hand from our arch-rivals London Wasps!
Two defeats from our next two matches would mean we would need Wasps to beat Toulouse in the Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham on Sunday 23rd May. By doing this, seven English teams (as opposed to the normal six) would be involved in next seasons Heineken Cup.
If Wasps were to win, they would be the top English seed in next seasons tournament, and their place from finishing second in the table would be taken by Gloucester, who finished fourth. The place on offer from the Parker Pen Challenge Cup would be given to Leicester (if we were to lose the final) as they finished fifth in the table, and would mean they would drop out of the Wildcard final.
We would then take the lucky losers spot in the final and would play Sale Sharks at Twickenham on 29th May, regardless of the outcome of their semi-final at Kingsholm on Saturday, as Gloucester would have already qualified as stated earlier.
We hope that this helps clarify our situation going into the closing stages of the season!
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.