With just one round of action left before the inaugural Magners League Play Offs, we thought we’d try and explain all the possible semi-final scenarios prior to this weekend’s games.
It can appear pretty complicated but we’ve tried our best to give you every possible scenario and to make things as simple as we can.
Here’s the score…
Four teams will qualify for the Magners League semi-finals.
The top team teams will each receive a home semi-final.
First will play fourth and second will play third.
Positions are decided on league points. If two or more teams finish on equal league points, then the number of wins becomes the deciding factor. If they are still equal, points difference comes into play.
As things stand, three teams have already qualified for the Play-Offs. They are Leinster, Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors.
No team is yet guaranteed a home semi-final.
There are three teams still in with a shout of the last remaining Play-Off place. They are Munster, Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh.
Leinster will secure top spot if they avoid defeat to Edinburgh at the RDS on Sunday night. The lowest Leinster can finish is third if both the Ospreys and Glasgow pick up bonus-point wins and Leinster slip to defeat by more than seven points.
The Ospreys will be guaranteed a home semi-final if they gain a maximum-point win over the Dragons at the Liberty Stadium on Friday. If they fail to do this, they could be overtaken by Glasgow. The lowest the Ospreys can finish is fourth, with Glasgow and Munster both able to overtake them.
Two match points at the Scarlets would secure third place for Glasgow. A bonus-point win would be enough to claim a home semi if the Ospreys fail to pick up maximum points. A straight win would also be enough if the Ospreys lose or draw with the Dragons.
This is where it gets complicated…
Munster know that anything other than defeat at the Blues would secure a top-four finish, as would a losing bonus point and a try scoring bonus point. A single losing bonus-point would also be enough for fourth spot if the Blues fail to score four tries and Edinburgh don’t pick up a bonus-point win at Leinster and overturn a current points deficit of 35. Munster’s points difference is currently plus 38, while Edinburgh’s is just plus three.
Munster could yet secure a home semi-final depending on results involving the Ospreys and Glasgow. To overtake Glasgow, Munster must win and hope that the Warriors lose. If Glasgow draw with the Scarlets and fail to score four tries, then Munster will need a bonus-point win or they will need to overturn a points deficit of 26. Glasgow’s points difference is currently 64.
Munster can overtake the Ospreys if they gain a maximum point win over the Blues and the Ospreys take just a point from their clash with the Dragons. If the Ospreys pick up two match points, Munster can still move ahead of them if they secure a maximum-point win and overturn a points deficit of 16. The Ospreys’ points difference is currently plus 54.
A win will be enough for Munster if the Ospreys fail to pick up any points, while they would need to overturn that points deficit if they were to win and the Ospreys were to pick up a single point as both teams would be level on league points and number of wins.
The highest Munster can finish is second. The lowest they can end up is seventh.
Phew. Now on to the Blues.
Cardiff Blues need a bonus-point win over Munster to guarantee a Play-Off Place. A win of any sorts would be enough if they prevent Munster from picking up a match point and if Edinburgh fail to win with a bonus point at Leinster.
The highest the Blues can finish is fourth. They have no chance of a home semi-final. The lowest they can finish is seventh.
Edinburgh must beat Leinster in Dublin with a bonus-point to have any chance of progressing. They must then hope that the Blues beat Munster without a bonus point. If that is the case, then Edinburgh would qualify for the Play-Offs providing Munster don’t pick up any match points. If Munster pick up a single losing bonus point, then Edinburgh must overturn a points deficit of 35.
Like the Blues, the highest Edinburgh can finish is fourth. They cannot gain a home semi. The lowest they can finish is seventh.
Told you it was complicated!
Fortunately, things will get a lot simpler after this weekend.
For a look at the Magners League table as it stand, click here
To read the Magners League rules on how teams are ranked, click here