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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May, 2004, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
The race for Europe
Andy Beattie
Bath have already qualified for the Heineken Cup
Bath completed a remarkable domestic season by securing top spot in the league and a place in the Zurich final.

Having just avoided relegation in 2003, this year Bath produced one of the most impressive defensive performances since the league began to seal first place.

Wasps, hammered 48-17 by Leicester on the final day, still finished second to clinch their semi-final play-off place.

And after crushing Northampton 57-20 in the play-off, they will now face Bath in the final at Twickenham on 29 May.

Northampton, who finished third, had already qualified alongside the top two for the Heineken Cup next season.

Newcastle, who won the Powergen Cup, will also play in Europe's premier competition next year, as will Harlequins following their Parker Pen Challenge Cup win over Montferrand.

As Wasps beat Toulouse in Sunday's Heineken Cup final, there will be an extra English place in next season's competition, which goes to Gloucester - who finished fourth in the league.

As a result, Leicester will play Sale in the Zurich Wildcard final for a seventh Heineken Cup spot.

The Wildcard Final is due to be played at Twickenham on 29 May with a 1530 kick-off - a curtain-raiser for the Zurich Premiership final (1800 kick-off).

Wasps 57-20 Northampton
16 May 04  |  English
Leicester 43-26 Harlequins
15 May 04  |  English
Gloucester 44-35 Sale
15 May 04  |  English
Cup place up for grabs
01 Apr 04  |  European Club

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