DFP Header Area

Super Saturday – What’s on the line in Round 22?

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor

4 May 2017

Round 22 – or Super Saturday – in the Guinness PRO12 is nearly upon us and there is plenty still to play for.

At both ends of the table the play-off spots, European Champions Cup qualification and local bragging rights are all up for grabs.

And, with every game kicking off at 5:15PM, we break it down match by match to tell you what is on the line.

Scarlets v Ospreys

Scarlets have already secured a semi-final spot – and it is guaranteed to be an away one – ahead of the clash with their regional rivals.

The hosts will finish third if they avoid defeat on Saturday while their opponents need to make sure of their own play-off spot.

Any sort of bonus point for the Ospreys would end Ulster’s chances of catching them, although even if Steve Tandy’s side were to finish pointless on Saturday they would still need Ulster to overcome a 73-point swing in points difference with a huge win over Leinster.

The Ospreys could also bag third for themselves, if they win at Parc y Scarlets and deny their opponents a bonus point.

Scarlets have reached only their second ever semi-final, the other being in season 2012/13, and have won their last four Guinness PRO12 matches since losing in Leinster on 4 March.

Scarlets’ only home defeat in the Guinness PRO12 this season was way back in round 1 when Munster were the visitors.

The last four fixtures between the two regions have been equally shared with two wins apiece, with each side winning and losing at home and away.

Ulster v Leinster

Leinster have already nailed down a home semi-final for a seventh time in the last eight years, now they are targeting a first-place finish in the regular season table.

Any sort of win would be enough to secure that and hold off fierce rivals Munster who are currently second.

The Leinstermen have won their last ten Guinness PRO12 matches since Munster beat them in Limerick on 26 December – their only defeat to an Irish province this season.

For Ulster to make a fifth successive Guinness PRO12 semi-final they would need a big bonus-point win and then hope that the Ospreys are soundly beaten in Llanelli.

The Ulstermen are winless in the last three rounds of the Guinness PRO12 since beating the Dragons in Newport on 24 March and they have won just two of their last ten encounters with Leinster.

Munster v Connacht

Munster have secured a home semi-final for only the second time in the last seven seasons but if they are to overhaul Leinster to become top seeds they will need a win in this game and hope that their rivals trip up.

If they win, Leinster lose or draw and they and finish at least level on league points with the Dublin province then their higher tally of league wins would see them take top spot.

Connacht have made the European Champions Cup play-offs but their only win in the last five rounds of the Guinness PRO12 was at Edinburgh on 7 April.

They are just the third reigning Guinness PRO12 champions to have failed to make the semi-finals in the year of their defence, the others being Ospreys in 2012 and Leinster in 2014.

Last season Connacht won at Thomond Park for the first time since 1986.

Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh

Glasgow Warriors have missed the Guinness PRO12 semi-finals for the first time in six years and are guaranteed to finish sixth in the table – securing Champions Cup rugby at the very least.

They are also out to wrestle the 1872 Cup out of Edinburgh’s hands for the first time since 2014 in what will be Gregor Townsend’s last game in charge.

Warriors won 25-12 at BT Murrayfield on 26 December in the first leg of the 1872 Cup whilst Edinburgh have not won on Glasgow soil since a trip to Hughenden in December 2003.

Edinburgh look set to finish ninth and will be in the Challenge Cup next season but they could slide to tenth if Dragons secure a massive victory over the Blues and make up a 97-point swing in points difference.

Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues

The Cardiff Blues are currently seventh in the table and already guaranteed a spot in the Champions Cup play-offs at the end of the season.

Connacht could catch them as mentioned above but need to make up over a 50-point swing in difference and hope the Blues take nothing from Caerphilly.

Caerphilly hosts its first Guinness PRO12 game since Ulster were the visitors in October 2002.

Newport Gwent Dragons have not tasted victory in the Guinness PRO12 since beating Benetton Treviso at Rodney Parade on 6 January and have not beaten a fellow Welsh region since 2014.

The Dragons are assured playing in the Challenge Cup next season.

Zebre v Benetton Treviso

This is a winner takes all match for the Italian qualifier for next season’s Champions Cup.

They are both currently tied on 19 points at the foot of the table but Treviso have more wins across the league season so will qualify in the event that both sides up on drawing on Saturday.

If the Dragons lose at home to the Blues, the winner of this game could also leapfrog them into tenth place in the final table.

Treviso have won twice in the last four rounds, both at home, against Ospreys and Edinburgh, but have not been victorious away from home in the Championship since they visited Zebre in December 2014.

Zebre achieved the season’s double over Treviso in 2015/16, but I Leoni won 23-12 in Treviso in round 11.

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