EUROPE will again be the backdrop the next time Wasps play Gloucester, at Twickenham on April 19.
The two sides will clash in the Aviva Premiership but it will be a place in next season’s continental competition that will be at stake.
Sixth place looks like a lost cause for both clubs, but the new format offers the seventh placed team in the Aviva Premiership a way in and both Wasps and Gloucester are battling with Bath to claim it.
Wasps have the slight advantage at the moment, but imminent trips to Leicester and Northampton mean their three-point lead is vulnerable.
Director of rugby Dai Young said: “Getting in the top six isn’t realistic but seventh spot is still in our grasp so the Gloucester game is a real eight-pointer.”
The new tournament will cut the top tier of European competition from 24 teams to 20.
Young said: “It’s going to be very competitive to get into Europe, but it’s probably a fairer way.
“We talk about it being the best competition so you need to have the best of the best in it and I think this will kick the tournament on to another height.
“Nothing changes in England. It’s tough enough already to get into the competition and I don’t see that changing.
“But you want the best teams in there and obviously the format had to change.”