Leinster veteran Shane Horgan has given the thumbs up to the Magners League Play-Off system as he gets ready for his side’s push for a home tie in next weekend’s semi-finals.
Two-times champions Leinster have already guaranteed themselves a place in the final four, but last night saw themselves relegated from first to third as both the Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors picked up bonus point wins.
It means Horgan and co must pick up at least one point in their final game in the regular league season against Edinburgh to guarantee a home game. They need two points to top the table and put themselves in poll position for a home tie in the Magners League Grand Final if they win their semi-final.
"It has been exciting this year, I will say that. Ask me in a few weeks and I’ll tell you what I really think of it, but if you look at how many teams are potentially involved with these matches left it is exciting,” Horgan told the Irish Examiner..
"It gives fans the chance to invest in the competition. The worst thing you could possibly have is a competition that is over three or four weeks before the end. You would have a lot of dead rubbers and that doesn’t benefit anyone.
"If you are on top of the league you are maybe thinking a different way but I don’t think so. The idea of a final and showcase is quite important for the brand ‘Magners League’ as well."
Horgan picked up Magners League winners medals with the Dubliners in 2002 and 2008 and added a Heineken Cup winners medal in Edinburgh last year. But with their dreams of making it back-to-back wins in Europe shattered in Toulouse last weekend, Leinster are now setting their sights on a new target.
"There is a huge disappointment in losing the title of European champions and there is nothing that makes up for that,” added Horgan.
"But we have prioritised the Magners League this season – that shows with the teams we have picked for it and the performances we have given this year. It is an important competition.
"We are pretty familiar with the type of rugby that Edinburgh play. They have caused us a lot of difficulties over the years.
“They play much wider patterns so it is a unique set of challenges that Edinburgh bring and we have been training specifically for them this week and analysing them in detail. They are a tricky opponent."