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Dragons and Scarlets to shape Play-Offs

Guinness PRO12 Editor

30 Apr 2011

Luke Charteris’ Dragons side have kept the race for the Magners League Play-Offs wide open as we head into the final round of regular league fixtures next week.

Their magnificent 28-15 home win over arch-rivals Cardiff Blues at a passion-packed Rodney Parade means there are effectively four teams chasing two places.

Regular league ‘champions’ Munster got out of the melee weeks ago, while Leinster would not only need to lose at home to Glasgow Warriors, but see the Blues make up an 11 try deficit to overtake them, to drop out of the Play-Off places.

But there are going to be a few sets of fans, and coaches, gnawing at their fingernails next Friday. Why? Well, just look at the possibilities.

The Scarlets may be in sixth place, but a bonus point victory over the Blues at their own Parc y Scarlets could see them creep into the top four. For that to happen they will have to stop the Blues from gaining a point and hope the Ospreys get nothing more than a draw in Aironi.

The Ospreys, the reigning champions, have lost their last two games and know they will lose their grip on the Magners League trophy if they lose in Aironi. But if they can win and the Blues lose, then they will reach the top four.

There is also a chance they could rise to as high as third if they win with a bonus point in Italy, the Scarlets beat the Blues and the Dragons beat Ulster.

Ulster will go into the final weekend in third place, with the chance to bag a home draw in the semi-finals if they can win and Leinster lose. But things could also go sour for them if they lose in Newport without picking up a point.

In those circumstances, a Blues win and an Ospreys bonus point triumph could push Ulster down to fifth place – and out of the Play-Offs.

With all the games kicking off at the same time it is going to be difficult to decide where to look. What a night of drama we have ahead of us as we seek to find out who will play who in the Magners League Play-Off semi-finals

20.05   Aironi Rugby v Ospreys                      Stadio Zaffanella
20.05   Benetton Treviso v Edinburgh            Stadio Monigo
19:05   Leinster v Glasgow Warriors              RDS
19:05   Munster v Connacht                           Thomond Park
19:05   NG Dragons v Ulster                          Rodney Parade
19:05   Scarlets v Cardiff Blues                     Parc y Scarlets