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All to play for

Guinness PRO12 Editor

6 May 2011

The drama couldn’t be any greater with four of the final six fixtures in Round 22 of the regular Magners League season ‘live’ as we seek to find who will challenge Munster for the Magners League title.

*You can follow all tonight’s action LIVE via magnersleague.com/live, on the Magners League Grand Final Facebook site and Twitter, by using #MLPlayOffs.*

Mighty Munster are the runaway leaders in the race to reach the second Magners League Grand Final having notched 18 wins in 21 league outings to date this season. Can they make it 19 against Connacht at Thomond Park?

They have already clinched a home Play-Off semi-final on either Friday, May 13 or Saturday, May 14, but the three other places behind them are still to be properly determined. Just imagine what the tension is going to be like around the grounds tonight as effectively four teams chase two places.

In offering hearty congratulations to Leinster on reaching their second Heineken Cup final with their magnificent 32-23 semi-final victory over reigning champions Toulouse in Dublin last weekend we have to remind them that their job in the Magners League is not quite concluded.

If they want to go on and make it a memorable double at the end of the month they still have to beat Glasgow Warriors tonight to earn a home Play-Off clash with the third placed team.

Below second place, though, it is anyone's guess what is going to happen. Luke Charteris' Dragons side kept the race for the Play-Offs wide open with their magnificent 28-15 home win over arch-rivals Cardiff Blues at a passion-packed Rodney Parade last time out.

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 a large points and tries 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 tonight. 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 slip to defeat 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.

Enjoy tonight’s action and don't forget to keep your nerve!


20.05 Aironi Rugby v Ospreys Stadio Zaffanella
20.05 Benetton Treviso v Edinburgh Stadio Monigo
19:05 Leinster v Glasgow Warriors RDS live on TG4
19:05 Munster v Connacht Thomond Park live on RTE
19:05 NG Dragons v Ulster Rodney Parade live on S4C and BBC NI
19:05 Scarlets v Cardiff Blues Parc y Scarlets live on BBC Wales

NB. All kick-off times are local

Remember, you can follow all tonight’s action LIVE via magnersleague.com/live, on the Magners League Grand Final Facebook site and Twitter, by using #MLPlayOffs.