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GUINNESS PRO14: Round 21 Preview

GUINNESS PRO14: Round 21 Preview

Tadhg Beirne, Rory Best, Jonathan Sexton and Jarrad Butler are pictured at Celtic Park in Glasgow, the host venue for next month's GUINNESS PRO14 final ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The stage is set for the final round of the regular season with so much still to play for in the GUINNESS PRO14. Munster and Glasgow Warriors will fight for top spot in Conference A, three teams in Conference B still have a chance of reaching the PRO14 final series and a place in the Champions Cup play-off game is on the line when Cardiff Blues host the Ospreys at Judgement Day.

This Saturday features a full slate of derby games which gives teams and fans plenty to shout about. The PRO14 final looms large on the horizon with the game taking place at Celtic Park in Glasgow on Saturday, May 25 – fans can book their places now by clicking here to get their hands on the best seats.


Quarter-Final 1: MUNSTER (A2) v Benetton Rugby (B3)
Quarter-Final 2: ULSTER (B2) v CONNACHT (A3)

Semi-Final 1: LEINSTER (B1) v MUNSTER/Benetton
Semi-Final 2: Glasgow Warriors (A1) v ULSTER/CONNACHT

Champions Cup Play-Off: Ospreys (A4, 54 points) v Edinburgh (B4, 51 points)

It is all on the line at Judgement Day as Cardiff Blues go toe-to-toe with the Ospreys in the cathedral of Welsh Rugby – Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. With just one point splitting the teams in fourth and fifth in Conference A, the winners will advance to the Champions Cup play-off game and will be guaranteed to have home advantage as long as this derby clash does not end in a draw.

Regardless of how Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh finishes, Edinburgh will end the day still in possession of the 1872 Cup having beaten Glasgow twice this season – including a 16-8 victory over their hosts at Scotstoun Stadium in December. But both teams are in vital need of a win in this fixture. Success for the Warriors means they will host the winners of the Ulster v Connacht quarter-final at Scotstoun which would leave them just 80 minutes away from playing a PRO14 final in their own city.

For Edinburgh, not even victory would guarantee them a place in the PRO14 final series, but it would secure their spot in the Champions Cup play-off. Lose, however, and it is likely that the Scarlets will gazump them into the play-off or even the knockout stages should Benetton slip up against Zebre. While all this is going on, Munster will be playing Connacht at Thomond Park hoping to take advantage of an Edinburgh win by nicking the home semi-final berth in Conference A.

The first game in round 21 kicks off at 3pm in Cardiff at Judgement Day with the Dragons playing for derby pride against a Scarlets team being led by head coach Wayne Pivac for the final time in the regular season before he departs for the Wales job. The Scarlets know a bonus point win will secure a Champions Cup play-off spot against either Cardiff or the Ospreys and could even sneak the 2017 champions into the PRO14 final series should Benetton fail to win in Parma. 

The final all-South African duel of the campaign takes place in Bloemfontein between Toyota Cheetahs and the Isuzu Southern Kings. Both sides will want to sign off the season with a win, but the Cheetahs are keen to build momentum ahead of the Currie Cup as they look to re-establish themselves as play-off contenders in next season’s PRO14.

In Parma, Zebre host Benetton with history on the line as the visitors aim to become the first Italian team to reach the knockout stages of the PRO14. A bonus point victory guarantees Benetton an away quarter-final against the runners-up from Conference A, but Zebre’s international contingent will be focusing on impressing the international selectors with the Rugby World Cup only a few months away.  

First plays second in Conference B as Ulster face Leinster at 5.15pm, with both teams already assured of home fixtures in the PRO14 final series. The game will be Leinster’s final hit-out ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday, May 11. The Ulstermen are already set to take on Connacht in a PRO14 quarter-final on Saturday week (May 4). 

Kicking off in tandem with Glasgow v Edinburgh, is the interprovincial derby between Conference A rivals Munster and Connacht at Thomond Park at 7.35pm. Connacht have made their return to the knockout stages for the first time since claiming the Championship title in 2016.

The westerners’ head coach Andy Friend will be eager to maintain momentum for their trip to Ulster next week when they go head-to-head for a semi-final place in Belfast. Munster, however, will have their target set on a bonus point win to ensure they can make the most out of anything that occurs in Scotstoun in their favour.


Saturday, April 27 –

Dragons (7th, Con B) v Scarlets (5th, Con B), Principality Stadium, 3pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 2/DAZN)

Cardiff Blues (5th, Con A) v Ospreys (4th, Con A), Principality Stadium, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 2/DAZN)

ULSTER (2nd, Con B) v LEINSTER (1st, Con B), Kingspan Stadium, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports 2/eir Sport 1/DAZN/deferred TG4)

Toyota Cheetahs (6th, Con A) v Isuzu Southern Kings (6th, Con B), Toyota Stadium, 5.30pm local time (live SuperSport 1/Premier Sports social media channels/DAZN)

Zebre (7th, Con A) v Benetton Rugby (3rd, Con B), Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 6pm local time (live DAZN/Premier Sports 2/Free Sports)

Glasgow Warriors (1st, Con A) v Edinburgh (4th, Con B), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm (live Premier Sports 1/eir Sport 2/DAZN)

MUNSTER (2nd, Con A) v CONNACHT (3rd, Con A), Thomond Park, 7.35pm (live eir Sport 1/Premier Sports 2/DAZN/deferred TG4)



Jack Carty (Connacht) 149
Sam Davies (Ospreys) 133
Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) 125
Tian Schoeman (Toyota Cheetahs) 118
Masixole Banda (Isuzu Southern Kings) 105


Sibahle Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs) 14
Dan Evans (Ospreys) 10
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 9
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) 8
Owen Lane (Cardiff Blues) 8
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 8
Yaw Penxe (Isuzu Southern Kings) 8
Shaun Venter (Toyota Cheetahs) 8
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 8


Dan Evans (Ospreys) 1196
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 1149
Sibahle Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs) 1039
Malcolm Jaer (Toyota Cheetahs) 1038
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 1006


Bill Mata (Edinburgh) 274
Stuart McCloskey (Ulster) 211
Ruan Lerm (Isuzu Southern Kings) 194
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 189
Dan Evans (Ospreys) 188


Sibahle Maxwane (Toyota Cheetahs) 34
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 28
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 26
Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton Rugby) 22
Paul Asquith (Scarlets) 21
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby) 21


Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 67
Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) 64
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby) 61
Dan Evans (Ospreys) 58
Rey Lee-Lo (Cardiff Blues) 57


Tom Farrell (Connacht) 30
Monty Ioane (Benetton Rugby) 30
Iliesa Ratuva (Benetton Rugby) 27
Johnny McNicholl (Scarlets) 26
Marco Barbini (Benetton Rugby) 22


Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues) 262
Tienie Burger (Isuzu Southern Kings) 257
John-Charles Astle (Isuzu Southern Kings) 251
Olly Cracknell (Ospreys) 247
Jarrad Butler (Connacht) 246


Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues) 25
Owen Watkin (Ospreys) 20
Nick Williams (Cardiff Blues) 20
Marcell Coetzee (Ulster) 20
Gerhardus Olivier (Toyota Cheetahs) 18


Junior Sipato Pokomela (Toyota Cheetahs) 7
George Biagi (Zebre) 7
James King (Ospreys) 7
Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby) 7
Tadhg Beirne (Munster) 7

For more statistics, please visit www.pro14rugby.org/statistics/powered-by-opta/