World Cup-winner Lewis Moody is convinced that there will be a couple of surprising names in the hat for the LV= Cup semi-finals after this weekend's final round of Pool matches.
The two sides struggling in the Aviva Premiership, namely Sale Sharks and London Irish, currently sit top of their respective Pools ahead of traditional powerhouses Leicester Tigers and Saracens.
And with the Exiles travel to a Cardiff Blues side that are all but out of contention Moody has called on Brian Smith's side to ride their recent good form into the Welsh capital on Friday.
"It's strange how it works sometimes," said Moody, who won the LV= Cup with Leicester back in 2007.
"I can guarantee you that Irish would prefer to be winning games in Aviva Premiership Rugby and clear of relegation, as would Sale, but a cup like the LV= can get a side going and create momentum.
"And I can see Irish going to Cardiff and getting the job done and making it into the hat for the semi-finals.
"The Blues are a young side and will be missing a lot of players on international duty and Irish are on a good run of results with Marland Yarde in red-hot form so I'm backing them to win by six points."
Saracens' much vaunted squad depth has them right on Irish's heels waiting for them to slip up atop Pool 3 and despite predicting Sarries to get the better of Worcester Warriors this weekend, Moody thinks it might not be enough to see them progress.
"Sarries really are an incredible force these days with an amazing squad and while Sixways is a very tough place to go to normally, Worcester have not got much to play for while Saracens will be going for the bonus point win to put pressure on Irish," he said.
"I'm predicting them to win by quite a few points, maybe as many as 15, but Irish will beat the Blues handily as I said and that will be the end of Sarries' chances."
Meanwhile in Pool 3 fellow Aviva Premiership strugglers Sale face a trip to Adams Park to take on Wasps knowing that a win might be enough to put them into the final four.
But Moody knows from personal experience what a tough proposition Wasps are at home and is predicting Wasps to spoil the party for Steve Diamond's men.
"Sale will struggle at Wasps if I'm honest," he added.
"They are a tough side with talent all over the park and despite missing a few players on international duty will still pose a real threat.
"I think they'll be too strong for an undoubtedly dogged Sale side and that might leave a space for my old boys Leicester."
Sale's rivals for the top spot in Pool 2 are Moody's former club and defending LV= Cup champions Leicester.
Last year, despite using almost exclusively their younger players in the competition, they made serene progress all the way to the title. And Moody does not see why they cannot do it again this time around, including their trip to Scarlets this weekend.
"Leicester, like Irish, are facing a trip to Wales," said Moody.
"The Scarlets will not pose much of a problem in my eyes and I can see the Tigers coming away with a comfortable win, by 13 points because they're so good in these situations."
In Pool 1 Quins' challenge on three fronts this season looks set to continue, currently four points clear at the top of their group, a draw in Wales against the Ospreys this weekend would be enough to guarantee their progress.
But Moody sees a lot of the dominant Tigers sides of the 2000s in Conor O'Shea's men and is predicting them to seal their semi spot in style at the Liberty Stadium.
"Ospreys have been a little inconsistent this season, they pushed my old club Leicester close in the Heineken Cup but the LV= Cup has not gone as well for them," he said.
"Quins meanwhile are really starting to remind me of the Tigers team of old, no matter who comes into the side everyone understands their roles and they are so consistent.
"I cut my teeth in the LV= Cup as a youngster and it's the same for some of these Quins youngsters who continue to impress despite almost the whole team being changed.
"The Liberty Stadium is sometimes a tough place to go but I'm still picking Quins by ten points."
That predicted Quins victory will sound the death knell for Exeter Chiefs' hopes of progressing with Gloucester Rugby and the Dragons already out of contention in the group.
But Moody is still convinced that the Chiefs will have enough about them to spoil Northampton Saints' own hopes of progressing when the two sides meet at Sandy Park on Saturday.
"Not many teams have been able to go to Exeter in the past two years and get a win and I can't see that being any different this time around," he added.
"Sides like to do well in the LV as a route to Europe and Saints could still make the semi-finals with a win but to be honest they have disappointed me a bit this year.
"Squad depth is something they have struggled with for a while and the LV= Cup means some players have to have a rest.
"With that in mind I think the Chiefs, who themselves can go through with a win, will have too much for the Saints down south and will win by five points."
If the Saints do indeed slip up at Exeter that will leave the door open in Pool 2 for another of Moody's former clubs, Bath Rugby.
And the former England flanker is confident his old boys will be able to take full advantage in their West Country derby with Gloucester.
"Gloucester may be out of the competition but every game between these two sides is huge and this will be a grudge match," he said.
"But despite that Bath will have enough about them to edge through and make the semi-finals, this competition means more to them while Gloucester have top-four ambitions in the league to focus on, I can see Bath edging a tight one by three points or less."
That leaves the only dead-rubber of the weekend pitting London Welsh against the Dragons, a clash that Moody thinks will finally give the Welsh regions some bragging rights.
"The Welsh regions have been a bit disappointing this season, I don't know if it's a hangover from Wales form on the international stage in the last 12 months," he added.
"But this weekend I think the Dragons, fresh from a good win last weekend, will have too much for London Welsh and will win by 15 points."
Pool 1 vs Pool 4
Ospreys v Harlequins - Quins by 10 points
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints - Chiefs by 5
Gloucester v Bath - Bath by 3
London Welsh v Dragons - Dragons by 15
Pool 2 vs Pool 3
Cardiff Blues v London Irish - Irish by 6
London Wasps v Sale Sharks - Wasps by 17
Scarlets v Leicester Tigers - Tigers by 13
Worcester Warriors v Saracens - Sarries by 15
Semi-finalists: Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, Bath