While the four teams that will contest the 2014/15 GUINNESS PRO12 play-offs are now known – Glasgow Warriors, Munster, Ulster and the Ospreys – it is still not confirmed which teams will have a home draw.
In addition, there are three automatic 2015/16 European Champions Cup places still up for grabs along with a further play-off spot to compete against English and French opposition for the remaining place in Europe’s top tier for next season, so there is still plenty to play for in round 21.
This is the sixth year of the PRO12 title being decided via the play-offs and Glasgow Warriors have missed out only once. They are now aiming for a second successive home semi-final berth.
Munster have also only missed out just once, but they have only been at home once before when they went on to lift the trophy in 2010/11. This is the fourth time Ulster have reached the play-offs but, like their provincial rivals, they too have only once been seeded at home.
This will be the Ospreys’ first appearance in the play-offs since 2011/12, having finished fifth in the table for the last two years.
As it stands a bonus point victory for the Warriors on Friday evening will see them claim a home semi-final – if other results go their way it could be less, but that will not be confirmed until Ulster play Munster the following day. Should the Ospreys claim a home victory, however, the placings could go down to the wire the following weekend.
The race for the Italian qualification is still very much on, leaving two direct qualification spots for the Champions Cup next season to be filled along with a further place in the qualifying round involving Aviva Premiership and Top 14 opponents.
There are four candidates left to claim those three places – Leinster, the Scarlets, Edinburgh and Connacht – so one will definitely miss out.
With Italian teams lying 11th and 12th respectively, in effect the seventh-placed PRO12 team will play the Challenge Cup winners, Gloucester, with the winners of that game facing the seventh-placed Top 14 team to contest the final Champions Cup place. These matches will be played on the weekends of the PRO12 semi-finals and final.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 21 FIXTURES:
Friday, May 8 –
Newport Gwent Dragons (9th) v Edinburgh (7th), Rodney Parade, 7.30pm
LEINSTER (5th) v Benetton Treviso (11th), the RDS, 7.35pm (live TG4)
Ospreys (4th) v Glasgow Warriors (1st), Liberty Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Wales)
Saturday, May 9 –
ULSTER (3rd) v MUNSTER (2nd), Kingspan Stadium, 2.40pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)
Zebre (12th) v CONNACHT (8th), Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 6.30pm local time/5.30pm Irish time (live TG4/Nuvolari TV)
Sunday, May 10 –
Scarlets (6th) v Cardiff Blues (10th), Parc y Scarlets, 4pm (live S4C)