Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder admits European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 3 is finely poised after watching his side draw 9-9 with Racing 92.
The Saints had suffered a 33-3 defeat in the return fixture the previous week and almost exacted their revenge at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.
Stephen Myler and Dan Carter notched up three penalties apiece, leaving the Aviva Premiership Rugby side on ten points from their opening four games in the competition.
Racing top the pool with 12 points from three outings, while Glasgow Warriors – who visit the Scarlets this afternoon – have five points from two.
Mallinder admits other results will affect their hopes of a place in the quarter-finals, however the imminent return to action of some big players is keeping him optimistic.
“We have got it all to do to qualify,” he said. “But Racing have to go away to Glasgow and there is potential for them to lose there because it is a tough place to go.
“We need to win and get some bonus points in our last two games. It is a bit like our league position – we aren't where we want to be, but we are still in there fighting.
“We are playing without some big players in Tom Wood, Dylan Hartley and Calum Clark. Some of our senior players in the backs need to play better, but they are all world class players and I think they will come good.”
Elsewhere on Friday night, London Irish visited Edinburgh in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and slipped to an agonising 18-15 reversal.
Gerard Ellis and Tom Brown traded early tries while Edinburgh, who suffered a 38-6 defeat in the reverse fixture six days earlier, went into the break 13-8 ahead.
Tom Smallbone crossed over on the hour mark and Shane Geraghty converted to put the Exiles ahead, only for John Hardie to win it with a try nine minutes from time.
That leaves both these sides on 12 points after four rounds, two points behind Pool 5 leaders Grenoble.
Northampton Saints 9 Racing 92 9
Penalties: Myler 3
Penalties: Carter 3
Referee: Nigel Owens
Edinburgh 18 London Irish 15
Tries: Brown, Hardie
Penalties: Hidalgo-Clyne 2
Tries: Ellis, Smallbone
Referee: David Wilkinson
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