Friday 18 August 2017

How to make sense of all possible outcomes ahead of Pro 12 final day

Leo Cullen Photo: Sportsfile
Leo Cullen Photo: Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Final day in the Guinness Pro12 and it might be an idea to pack the calculator and transistor radio before heading to the match.

There is something on the line in all six games and each of the Irish provinces has their destiny in their own hands. Three of the top four places are already known with Glasgow Warriors, Connacht and Leinster vying for a home semi-final, with Ulster and Scarlets battling it out for the final slot.

The simplest equation for each Irish side is that a win would earn them the finish they want. Leinster could do with a four-try bonus for good measure, but otherwise a victory will bring about a satisfactory result for each team.

In Galway, the top two face off with Connacht needing a win over leaders Glasgow Warriors to book a lucrative home semi-final. If they want to go into that game as top seeds by finishing first on the table, they'll need to score four or more tries.

That's because Leinster will be hoping to pick up the maximum return against Treviso at the RDS and five points would bring them to 73 points and a home semi-final.

In the Pro12, teams level on points will be separated by the number of matches they have won. If they are still level, then it comes down to points difference and, in the unlikely event they are still tied, tries scored.

Leo Cullen's men have won more games than Pat Lam's, meaning they would finish above the westerners if the two teams were tied.

Treviso, however, may not be the soft touch they have been after beating Connacht last weekend. That win lifted them above Italian rivals Zebre in the race for the final Champions Cup place and, with the Parma side taking on the Dragons who have nothing at stake, Treviso have plenty to play for.

Were Glasgow to win in Galway, however, the champions would be guaranteed top spot with or without the bonus point.

And that would likely set up a repeat of last year's semi-final where Ulster lost in dramatic circumstances at Scotstoun.

Les Kiss' side are a point clear of Scarlets, with each team facing an away trip to face the three teams battling for sixth place and a spot in the Champions Cup next season; Munster, Ospreys and Edinburgh who have a slim chance.

Munster host the Scarlets sitting four points clear of the Ospreys and five clear of the Scots, having won one more game. A losing bonus point would put Anthony Foley's men five points clear of the Welsh side, but if they secured a four-try win over Ulster then they would edge Munster out on points difference.

Of course, if Munster beat the Scarlets Ulster would be safe. If Ulster beat the Ospreys, Munster will be safe.

Clear as mud.

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