by Ciarán Duffy
Italian Champions Cup Spot
The game with the most at stake on the final day is the Italian derby. Zebre host Treviso in a head to head battle for that Italian Champions Cup place. Zebre have never won 3 home games in a row in the Pro12. That’s a record they’ll have to break having beaten Connacht and Dragons at home recently. Treviso are ahead in the table at the moment having won one more game., a draw would be enough for them provided they match Zebre in terms of bonus points. This has the makings of a tight game with the boots of Carlo Canna and Ian McKinley deciding it.
The semi-final pairings
Leinster and Munster have both guaranteed home semi-finals but who they play is still to be determined. 1st plays 4th, and 2nd plays 3rd, if the order stays the same Leinster would host Ospreys while Munster would host Scarlets. If Scarlets and Ospreys finish level on points Scarlets would finish third having won more games. For Ospreys to finish 3rd they need to beat Scarlets with a BP with Scarlets not getting two bonus points, or to beat Scarlets without Scarlets taking anything from the game. Scarlets have secured a semi-final place, with Ospreys all but there unless we see…
An Ulster Miracle
Ulster need a lot to go there way today. They need a win with a bonus point, and for Ospreys to take nothing from their game. That’ll see them level on points, and games won. Ulster would still be 73 points worse off than Ospreys. If it happens I’ll happily go through all the permutations but for now, Ulster look like they’ll have to settle for 5th.
Play-off Match ups
The Champions cup play-offs return this year having taken a break with the World Cup. The two highest place Pro12 teams who have not already qualified will face the highest placed non-qualifiers from the Aviva Premiership and the Top14. Pro 12 7th place will play the Top 14 team, while 8th place will play the Aviva Premiership team. As it stands now Cardiff play Stade Francais and Connacht play Northampton Saints. Connacht trail Cardiff by 5 points, 1 win, and 57 points. Like Ulster it would take a lot for them to move up. Connacht and Cardiff are guaranteed the two Pro12 play-off places. 6 Teams could still get the French play-off place; Racing 92, Stade Francais, Pau, Lyon, Brive, or Bordeaux. 4 Teams can still get the English play-off place; Harlequins, Northampton Saints, Gloucester, Newcastle Falcons.
This is pushing it so I’ll make it quick. Seeding for the Challenge Cup could change today. Dragons could overtake Edinburgh, but again it would take a massive points difference swing. They could still finish below Treviso or Zebre if they were to lose their game. In terms of the Champions cup, we’ll have to wait and see who gets into the final to be sure of who is in which tier.
That’s that, the permutations for the Pro12, now hopefully something drastic happens to justify all that maths.
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Ciarán Duffy (@TheVoiceDepth) is a Leinster supporter who would watch any game of rugby while undoubtedly taking it too seriously. He enjoys over analysing and taking a pessimistic look at the bright side while talking about Irish, European, and World Rugby issues on and off the field.
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