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Magners League: Round 17 Preview

Magners League: Round 17 Preview

The matches are coming thick and fast for the provinces as the Magners League nears the inaugural play-offs, with Leinster and Munster currently on course to reach the semi-finals and Connacht and Ulster battling it out to secure Heineken Cup qualification.

The first phase of the 2009/10 Magners League season reaches the penultimate round on the back of a record breaking weekend.

Dan Parks kicked a league record four drop goals in a single game as Glasgow overcame Ulster 25-18, while Cardiff Blues lock Deiniol Jones equalled Adam Black’s all time record for Magners League appearances – 117.

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A season’s best of six bonus points were also claimed over the weekend with the Newport Gwent Dragons and Edinburgh each gaining a try-scoring bonus point in their 49-28 points fest on Sunday. 

Before round 17 kicks off, there is a midweek rearranged game between Connacht and Leinster to fit in. Leinster became the first team to garner a play-off spot, but still need three points to secure home advantage.

Connacht lost their eight-match unbeaten home record to Munster on Sunday and host Leinster in a top-versus-bottom clash. 

Round 17 opens with an all-Welsh game between the Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues. The Dragons still have hopes of making the play-offs, anything but a victory here could quash those depending on results elsewhere.

Also on Friday night, Leinster travel to Glasgow Warriors, with a top four finish on the cards for the Scots if they can secure the victory.

Third plays second at Thomond Park on Saturday when Munster welcome the Ospreys. These two teams are so close that only a points difference of eight can separate them in the table.

But the Ospreys’ record at Thomond Park is not good. Both sides are looking for a victory to go towards securing a home semi-final.

Pride is at stake at Parc y Scarlets on Sunday, as depending on the result against Leinster on Wednesday night, Connacht could be looking for a win to take them off the bottom of the table for the fist time since round 3.

Having swapped places with Glasgow Warriors after the last round, Edinburgh will chasing four points or more against Ulster and hoping that other results will go their way to return to the play-off zone going into the last round.

The same five teams have shared the top four play-off places since round 9, and with just three match points separating second to fifth places, they are likely to continue to do so. The question is which one will miss out on a semi-final berth?



Wednesday, April 21 –

CONNACHT v LEINSTER, the Sportsground, 7.45pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)


Friday, April 23 –

Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, 7.05pm (live Setanta Sports 1/BBC Wales)

Glasgow Warriors v LEINSTER, Firhill Stadium, 8pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)

Saturday, April 24 –

MUNSTER v Ospreys, Thomond Park, 6.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/S4C)

Sunday, April 25 –

Scarlets v CONNACHT, Parc y Scarlets, 2.05pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland/BBC Wales)

Edinburgh v ULSTER, Murrayfield, 4.05pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)