Road to the Guinness PRO14 Final: Edinburgh

Paul Eddison
14 January 2020

Share this article

With the Guinness PRO14 season now at its halfway point, the look of the Conference B table is beginning to take shape.

Things look rosy for Edinburgh who sit top of the table with 34 points from their ten games so far this term.

Having clambered to the summit of the conference, can the Scottish club stay there and what are their chances of going all the way to the Guinness PRO14 final in Cardiff?

Here’s a look at the key points which will shape the remainder of their campaign.

What does the schedule look like?

Edinburgh have a three-point cushion at the summit of the table and will be acutely aware of the threat of a chasing pack of teams.

While the campaign has plenty of life left in it, Edinburgh will have the chance to strike a potentially telling blow when the Guinness PRO14 returns to action in February.

Their next league game sees them travel to closest challengers the Scarlets and a win over their Welsh rivals could set Edinburgh on their way to a strong finish to the season.

The lack of wiggle room at the top means the season could well be decided at its close and a home meeting with Munster on the penultimate weekend looks important.

Edinburgh’s final five games:

R17: Benneton (H) Friday April 10, 7.35pm
R18: Ulster (A) Saturday April 18, 7.45pm
R19: Ospreys (H) Friday 24 April, 7.35pm
R20: Munster (H) Saturday 9 May, 5.30pm
R21: Connacht (A) Saturday 16 May, 7.35pm

Who could be the key man?

As far as star power in the Edinburgh ranks is concerned it’s hard to look beyond winger Duhan van der Merwe.

The South African flyer has made a league high 18 clean breaks, leads the way in defenders beaten with 45 and has touched down five times this season.

His fine form this term also puts him out on his own with 599 metres gained – almost 100 more than his next closest challenger Rhyno Smith (504).

No wonder Edinburgh have moved to sign him up to a new deal.

What’s the must-win game?

Simply put, the next one. A statement win over the Scarlets away from home and Edinburgh will have every confidence they can seal a Final Series spot.

Given how many games are left to play, nothing will be decided at this stage of the season.

Regardless, taking a chance to get one over a side sitting a place below you in the league who are in direct play-off contention shouldn’t be sniffed at.

Can Edinburgh go all the way?

Since the introduction of play-offs in the Guinness PRO14, Edinburgh have reached the knockout stages just once, in 2017/18.

That year they lost a heartbreaker away to Munster, but if they can finish top of Conference B, they will fancy their chances of improving on that record.

At the moment, a home semi-final would be against Ulster, who Edinburgh face in Belfast in April, and it would certainly not be easy considering their form.

But with Richard Cockerill at the helm, Edinburgh will be afraid of no one, perhaps not even defending champions and unbeaten Leinster.

Share this article