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Race to the Final – the last round awaits

The penultimate round of the regular season was chalked off at the weekend and it remains a distinct possibility that, for the first time, there will be two Welsh clubs in the Guinness PRO12 semi-finals.

With Leinster and Munster already guaranteed home ties on May 19 and 20 respectively, Scarlets booked their place in the top four with victory over reigning champions Connacht in Galway on Saturday.

After beating Ulster, Ospreys are also in with a chance of joining their neighbours in the semi-finals – what chance of Welsh representation at the league’s showpiece event in Dublin on May 27?

SCARLETS AND OSPREYS ON COLLISION COURSE

Four first-half tries inspired Scarlets to a victory at Connacht that rubber-stamped a semi-final appearance.

Meanwhile, Ospreys moved five points ahead of Ulster after defeating the Irish province 24-10 at the Liberty Stadium and in Round 22, the two teams will be involved for a straight shoot-out for third place at Park y Scarlets.

Victory for Ospreys would see them overhaul their rivals but Steve Tandy’s troops may be more concerned with ensuring that they simply hold on to fourth place.

ULSTER HIT THE LAST-CHANCE SALOON

In the final round of regular season fixtures, Ulster can match Ospreys on points and games won, but they are still likely to require a hearty slice of good fortune to sneak into the semi-finals at the last.

If they can upset table-toppers Leinster with a bonus-point victory, they would still need an almighty swing as far as points difference in concerned – they are on +146 while Ospreys are on +216.

Ulster will have a keen eye on goings on at Parc y Scarlets.

TOP-SPOT STILL UP FOR GRABS

Both Leinster and Munster have home semi-finals already in the bag but Round 22 will be all about who finishes top of the table.

A floodlight failure at the RDS Arena added to the late drama as Leinster edged out Glasgow Warriors in a thriller on Saturday and they will be aiming to hold their nerve once again when they travel to Ulster.


Should they slip up, Munster, who are three points behind in second place, could take full advantage with victory over Connacht at Thomond Park.

GLASGOW’S CHALLENGE ENDS

Despite pushing Leinster all the way in their 31-30 defeat in Dublin on Friday, Glasgow Warriors’ semi-final dreams were brought to an end.

Warriors battled manfully but a win still wouldn’t have been enough to sneak into the top four, with Ospreys’ triumph over Ulster putting paid to their chances.

The Guinness PRO12 Final takes place on May 27 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Fans can guarantee their place by booking their tickets via www.ticketmaster.ie

Further information: www.pro12rugby.com/final