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The Pro 12 Final Day Is The First Chance To Get Excited About Irish Rugby's Future

The Pro 12 Final Day Is The First Chance To Get Excited About Irish Rugby's Future
By Conor O'Leary
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It's finally here. It doesn't seem like it, but today represents the last bit of rugby for a lot of the Northern Hemisphere. It's the last day of the Pro 12 regular season, and there is a lot to decide, thanks to the new meritocracy in the competition.

Each of the four provinces are in action, with all games kicking off at the same time. Munster and Ulster are in contention at the top, while Connacht's season could come down to the last game. Here's why you should stay tuned:

Tight At The Top

While extremely entertaining, neither Munster or Ulster can be happy with last week's draw. It leaves the two provinces in third and fourth positions, with Ospreys and Glasgow on course for the home semi finals. The Irish provinces are right behind them and will be looking to make the most of any slip up.

Interestingly, Ulster have Glasgow to play today, with the winner likely to have a home semi final, with the loser travelling away. Munster play for the final time in Cork this season against the Dragons, while both will be looking for a favour from Connacht in Galway.

Connacht's European Hopes

Speaking of Connacht, they have the task of overcoming the Ospreys at the Sportsground. If that wasn't enough, they are still in the hunt for European places. They can finish somewhere between sixth and eighth - with sixth guaranteeing Champions Cup rugby, seventh sending them into a playoff and eighth relegating them to the Challenge Cup.

It's quite a lot at stake. In their favour is a stellar home record this season, but Ospreys are one of the sides that have had their number in the past seasons. Scarlets are four points clear of Connacht in sixth, and will be travelling to Treviso in their final game. Stranger things have happened, but it's more likely that Connacht will be hoping for a seventh place spot. They are a point ahead of Edinbhurgh at present, who will be hosting Leinster who have nothing to play for.

Next Generation

With Leinster already out of contention for the play offs, they've chosen to rest a number of key players. This means we get to see what's coming through the ranks with the likes of Collie O'Shea and Cian Kelleher making appearances.


In fact, it's Kelleher's first ever appearance in a Leinster squad, and is just reward for the newly crowned Ulster Bank Rising Star of the Year. Last year's U20 back three player is on the bench, and with Ulster also giving games to youngsters Sam Arnold and Stuart McCloskey, with Munster having Jack O'Donoghue on the bench, the future of Irish rugby is in rude health.


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