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Every Possible Permutation That Could Happen On The Final Day Of The PRO12 And What It Means

Every Possible Permutation That Could Happen On The Final Day Of The PRO12 And What It Means
By Conor O'Leary Updated

The final day of the PRO12 is being compared to the famous final day of the Six Nations in 2014. All but two teams in the entire league still have tangible things to play for, and there are big things to gain as all six games start at the same time on Saturday.

All four of the Irish provinces start the day in favourable positions, and can all hope to qualify for the Champions Cup at least. Here is what each team is playing for, what they need to happen, and what's most likely for each team.

Leinster

3rd in the league on 68 points, 15 wins. Home to Treviso.

Leinster travel to a buoyant Treviso trying to keep their one-point lead over Zebre for the single Italian Champions Cup place. Treviso won their third game of the season last week against a poor Connacht side - but Leinster will have too much for them as they chase a home semi-final in the playoffs.

Best Case Scenario

The first tie-breaker for two teams on the same amount of points is games won. Leinster hold that advantage over the rest of the league, and should be expecting another win in Italy. Their fate rests on results elsewhere - especially in Galway where first place Glasgow take on second place Connacht. There are only two ways for Leinster to leapfrog both teams - if Glasgow and Connacht draw, or if Leinster get a try bonus point win and Connacht win without a bonus point.

Worst Case Scenario

Making a giant assumption that Scarlets can't overhaul a 100 points difference deficit, the worst that Leinster can finish would be fourth - assuming they lose in Italy and Ulster beat the Ospreys.

Most Likely Result

Given that it's highly unlikely Leinster will lose to Treviso, or that Connacht and Glasgow will end up as a draw - the most likely result is that Leinster win with a bonus point. Glasgow have been the best team in the league for the last two months, and are deserving favourites in the Sportsground. That should mean that Leinster finish second in the league and get a home semi-final - probably against Connacht.

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Connacht

2nd in the league on 69 points, 14 wins. Home to Glasgow.

Connacht's loss to Treviso last week looks to have put a big dent in their hopes for a home semi-final. They can still get the elusive home advantage - but need a result in Galway.

Best Case Scenario

Everything is in Connacht's hands. Win and it's a home semi-final, lose and it's an away semi-final (barring an outrageous result in Italy). They are a win away from being the winners of the regular season, which would be just rewards for their season.

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Worst Case Scenario

They can't drift past fourth - but Ulster would leapfrog them into third should they win with a bonus point. That would mean a semi-final against Glasgow in Scotland, which is probably the toughest possible semi-final for any team.

Most Likely Result

Glasgow are humming just at the right time, and are one of the few teams in the league that can still beat Connacht. I don't believe Ulster will get five points from their last game. That would mean that Connacht would be set for a trip to Dublin where they haven't won since 2002 when Mark McHugh scored a drop-goal at Donnybrook.

Ulster

4th in the table with 64 points, 13 wins. Away to Ospreys.

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Ulster travel to Ospreys hoping to stay in the playoffs. They lead Scarlets by a point, with only one playoff on offer.

Best Case Scenario

There's an outside chance that Ulster can sneak into a home semi-final - but they would need both Leinster and Ulster to lose without bonus points, and to beat Ospreys with a bonus point. I don't see that happening either.

Worst Case Scenario

It's simple - Scarlets hold the games won advantage over Ulster, so if they finish on the same points or higher - Ulster will miss the playoffs and will be given a bad seed in the Champions Cup group stages - facing two semi-finalists from PRO12, Premiership, or Top 14.

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Most Likely Scenario

The Ospreys haven't been good this season, and while Ulster's results haven't been great - they are one of the strongest teams in the league and should beat the struggling Welsh. They do face a daunting trip to Glasgow for the hope of claiming a final place.

Munster

6th in the table with 58 points, 12 wins. Home to Scarlets.

Best Case Scenario

Scarlets have too many wins to be overhauled by Munster, winning that the best the Reds can get is maintaining their sixth place. That would be enough for Champions Cup qualification.

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Worst Case Scenario

Anything other than sixth would be a disaster for Munster. They have a four point lead over Ospreys, while Edinburgh are a further point behind. If Munster get nothing from their game - a bonus point win for Edinburgh would be enough for them to jump ahead - while a win of any kind for Ospreys in that instance would be enough for them.

Essentially, as long as Munster draw or better - it's still in their hands and they have done enough. Otherwise they need Ospreys and Edinburgh to lose.

Most Likely Scenario

This one is much tougher to call. Munster are technically the bookies favourites to beat Scarlets - but they should also be weary that both Ospreys and Edinburgh (against the eliminated Cardiff Blues) are favoured to win their matches. Munster will be hoping that Ulster do them a favour, which should take the pressure off signicantly. Some way or some how - I'm backing Munster to do just enough to finish sixth.

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Predicted Top 4:

1. Glasgow 75
2. Leinster 73
3. Connacht 69
4. Ulster 68
5. Scarlets 64
6. Munster 62

See Also: CJ Stander's Positive Influence On Irish Rugby Now Extends To Leinster

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