Guinness PRO14 Finals through the years

Paul Eddison
23 May 2018

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The reigning champions against the European champions – Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 Final has all the ingredients for a magnificent showdown as Leinster take on the Scarlets.

For the Scarlets it is a return to the ground where they won their first title in such emphatic style a year ago, racking up 46 points against Munster.

Leinster, meanwhile, are seeking to win their first league title since 2014, when they saw off Glasgow Warriors at the RDS Arena.

As we prepare for that game, we have taken a look back at some of the standout finals since they were introduced back in 2010.

2017 – Scarlets run riot

Until 2017 no team had ever won a semi-final on the road. The Scarlets did that by beating Saturday’s opponents in Dublin, despite losing Steff Evans to a red card in the first half. They followed that up with a remarkable performance at the Aviva Stadium.

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Romping to a 46-22 win, they ran in six tries with all their key performers getting in on the act. Devastating on the counter-attack, Liam Williams got the ball rolling, with Evans, Gareth Davies and Tadhg Beirne all crossing before half-time.

DTH van der Merwe added another ten minutes from time before James Davies sealed the win with the final play of the game.

2016 – Connacht complete the fairytale

Everyone was waiting for Pat Lam’s Connacht to falter, but they confounded all the experts on their way to a maiden title in 2016.

Finishing second in the table in the regular season, they saw off Glasgow Warriors on the final day of the season before doing the same again in the semi-final. They then travelled to BT Murrayfield to take on Leinster and stunned the side from Dublin.

Their back three all got on the scoresheet, Tiernan O’Halloran with the first, Niyi Adeolokun in acrobatic fashion with the second, and finally Matt Healy finally ending Leinster hopes in the 20-10.

2015 – Glasgow get over the line

A year after losing in the final to Leinster, Glasgow Warriors were back in the showpiece event – the first not to be played at the home ground of the top seeds, in this case the Kingspan Stadium.

Up against Munster, Glasgow club captain Ali Kellock was playing his final match for the team, although he was only on the bench. Instead it was the incredible Leone Nakarawa who led the charge as they ran out 31-13 winners, with first-half tries from Rob Harley, DTH van der Merwe and Henry Pyrgos.

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Finn Russell added another in the second half to complete a fantastic success and give now-Scotland coach Gregor Townsend his first major silverware as a coach.

2013 – Leinster outlast Ulster

Leinster made each of the first five finals, winning two including the 2013 final against Ulster at the RDS Arena. In Joe Schmidt’s final game in charge before heading take over as Ireland coach, they got the better of their provincial rivals 24-18 in a tight encounter.

Ruan Pienaar was the star performer for Ulster, kicking six penalties to provide all their points.

However that was not enough as Leinster scored a try in each half, through back-rowers Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip, along with four penalties from Johnny Sexton, on their way to victory.

2012 – Shane Williams signs off in style

If there was one man who knew how to seize an occasion, it was Shane Williams and he certainly did so in 2012.

In his final game for the Ospreys in 2012, he produced the decisive try in what is unquestionably the most dramatic final to date.

Up against Leinster, the Ospreys trailed 30-24 with two minutes to go when Williams squeezed through the clutches of Rob Kearney to dot down.

That left a touchline conversion for Dan Biggar, which he duly slotted, and the Ospreys held on for a second win in three years.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €50 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

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