Guinness PRO14 Final Day Permutations

Guinness PRO14 Rugby Editor
25 April 2019

Share this article

It’s still all to play for in Guinness PRO14 as the final weekend of the regular season approaches.

While Conference B has its top two sides – Leinster Rugby and Ulster Rugby – already locked in to Final Series spots, three more teams will compete for the last place on a tense final day.

Meanwhile, Conference A’s Final Series teams may already be decided but top spot and an ensuing semi-final place is yet to be secured by either Glasgow Warriors or Munster.

There’s also the small matter of European qualification, which heats up the battle for fourth place in each Conference.

With a potentially crucial final day coming up, here’s all the permutations for Saturday’s raft of fixtures.

Conference A

Title clash goes down to the wire

Glasgow Warriors and Munster share two things this Guinness PRO14 season – European heartbreak at the hands of Saracens and a fierce desire to secure top spot in Conference A.

Just three points separate these two giants. The Warriors sit on 76 points after a brilliant win away to reigning Guinness PRO14 Champions Leinster, while Munster reached 73 points after a win in Treviso.

Both games kick off simultaneously on Saturday night, meaning both sets of fans will be keeping an eye on their Conference rivals’ fixture – and naturally, news will filter through to the pitch.

For Glasgow, however, the equation is simple. Dave Rennie’s men simply need to hold their composure against fellow Scottish outfit Edinburgh to secure their semi-final berth.

A draw will not be enough to carry them through if Munster fail to ensure a bonus-point win due to Johann van Graan’s troops having a better points difference.

But Edinburgh are no pushovers – sitting fourth in Conference B, they know a win could take them into the Final Series.

Fresh off a devastating European Champions Cup semi-final loss at Saracens, Munster will take on against Irish outfit Connacht Rugby.

While Andy Friend’s team already secured third spot in the Conference thanks to a home win against Cardiff Blues last time out, they will want to gain an edge over their possible semi-final opponents this Saturday.

Battle for Europe

While they won’t be playing in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, Scarlets and Ospreys are in a straight shootout for a chance to play in Europe.

Allen Clarke’s men are currently in the driving seat for the European play-off game with 54 points – but their opponents and European qualification rivals sit just a point behind.

All they need to do is avoid defeat and after a huge win against Isuzu Southern Kings which highlighted Dan Evans’ stellar form, Ospreys will certainly be confident.

Cardiff Blues go into the weekend full of regrets – a late try from Connacht’s Matt Healy last round meant the Welsh side squandered their points lead over Saturday’s opponents.

It comes a week after another disappointing defeat against Munster.

And with Gareth Anscombe, who signed for Ospreys next season, involved, it adds some bite to an already intense fixture.

Conference B

Straight scrap for last Final Series spot

The three sides fighting for a Final Series spot – Benetton, Edinburgh and Scarlets – are separated by just two points ahead of the weekend.

Scarlets kick off Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 fixture list with a trip to fellow Welsh side Dragons.

After a flurry of late tries against Zebre carried them to a 42-0 win, Wayne Pivac’s men will hope their offensive form continues against Conference B’s bottom-placed outfit.

With 50 points to their name – two behind Benetton – they’ll need a bonus-point win to maximise their chances ahead of the later kick-offs.

With the opportunity to pile pressure on their Final Series qualification rivals, they’ll be desperate to do all they can – especially as fourth place means a shot at European qualification.

As matters wrap up at the Principality Stadium, Benetton will be kicking off at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi knowing that a bonus-point win will secure them their place in the postseason.

Despite a disappointing home defeat to Munster, Kieran Crowley’s troops will look to push on with their brand of entertaining rugby.

With  Zebre in their wake, they will see this as an opportunity to flex their offensive muscles – and crucially, dot down at least four times.

In an all-Scottish tie, Edinburgh will go to Glasgow with high hopes they can upset the Conference A leaders.

With both sides having something to play for, it could get tasty at Scotstoun.

All three sides also recognise that while the Final Series is the aim, there’s also a consolation prize of a Champions Cup qualification play-off to add incentive.

The Guinness PRO14 Final is one of the most entertaining games in the rugby calendar and takes place in Glasgow’s Celtic Park on May 25. Tickets start at just £25 for adults, £1 for kids. Visit www.pro14rugby.org/finaltickets

Share this article