18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
The Sharks have got some ground to make up on the 1997 Heineken Cup winners, but I can see the home side playing at the top of their game and picking up the four points they need to reach the quarter-finals.
The game is one of three head-to-head battles which will produce a Pool winner, but all five Pools remain live going into the final weekend. Cue plenty of drama, huge intensity and some great contests.
Back in my day in the tournament, when I led London Wasps to victory in 2003, we had a knock-out format all the way through to the final. Now it's back to the old Pool format and teams have to be at their best throughout with only the Pool winners progressing to the quarter-finals.
When ERC guaranteed the Amlin Challenge Cup winners a ticket into the following season's Heineken Cup, a major incentive was added to the tournament format. But the decision to keep three quarter-final places open for three Heineken Cup pool runners-up was a stroke of genius.
Just as the Europa League is getting ready to welcome Manchester United and Manchester City from the Champions League later this season, so the Amlin Challenge Cup could have any three of 14 top clubs joining the Pool winners in the quarter-finals. Who fancies Toulouse, Northampton Saints, Ulster, Scarlets or even Leicester Tigers at home?
There are big prizes to be won with three Amlin Challenge Cup clubs set to host Heineken Cup opposition in the last eight. Last season there was precious little difference in the quality of knock-out matches in the two tournaments and I think the standard is going to move up another notch again when we get to April.
So, if Sale Sharks are my pick for Pool 5, what about the rest? Worcester Warriors will certainly travel to Paris buoyed by recent performances in the English Premiership, but I think Stade Francais will be able to do enough to clinch Pool 1.
Michael Cheika is doing an excellent job in turning around the fortunes of last season's Amlin Challenge Cup runners-up and I expect them to be a major force in the knock-out stages. Richard Hill is making the Warriors a truly competitive side at the highest level, but as I know from my own playing days, Paris is a tough place to go and win - especially when you are four points behind in the table.
Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon are in pole position to win Pool 2 and I don't think even Newcastle Falcons' new coach Gary Gold is clinging to the hope of the French side losing at home to Petrarca Rugby. So that's two French giants into my last eight and no club in Europe will relish visiting either club in the Amlin quarter or semi-finals.
I'm looking for my old club London Wasps to give themselves a huge boost by beating Bordeaux-Begles and taking top spot in Pool 3. Dai Young has seen his new squad ravaged by injuries and they had the bare bones fit last weekend for the win in Rovigo. They've done the hard work already in this pool and if they keep their cool I can see them going through.
That makes it 2-2 in the Anglo-French stakes and I'm plumping for Exeter Chiefs to edge the majority in the England's favour. I'm sure they didn't see themselves three or four seasons ago vying with Perpignan for a place in a European quarter-final.
Rob Baxter has done a remarkable job for the Chiefs and the club is well coached and well grounded. What you see is what you get - a highly motivated, competitive and skilled group of players who are loving being in the big time.
Perpignan never travel well, and they were well beaten in Newport by the Dragons. They aren't exactly setting the Top 14 alight either, so it's the Chiefs for me to take Pool 4 and to continue their remarkable rise up the European club rugby ladder.
Lawrence Dallaglio's Amlin Challenge Cup Pool Winners
Pool 1: Stade Francais Paris
Pool 2: Toulon
Pool 3: London Wasps
Pool 4: Exeter Chiefs
Pool 5: Sale Sharks