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Predictions And Permutations For The Provinces In Final Weekend Of The URC

Predictions And Permutations For The Provinces In Final Weekend Of The URC
By Colman Stanley

The final weekend of URC action is nearly upon us, with plenty still to play for many of the sides, including Munster and Ulster.

Firstly, lets get the certainties out of the way before we take a gander through the various permutations.

Leinster are guaranteed top spot in the league, which gives them a home-quarter final, semi-final, and final, regardless of what happens against Munster.

Munster and Ulster are both guaranteed a play-off spot, while Connacht cannot achieve a play-off spot or a place in next season’s Champions Cup. Again, this is regardless of what happens in this weekend’s URC action.

This leaves Munster and Ulster as the only Irish provinces with something to play for. That something is a top four spot to guarantee a home quarter-final, a top two spot for a home semi-final, and potentially a home final. The highest ranked team in the final will have the honour of playing at home.

22 April 2022; Stuart McCloskey of Ulster is tackled by Craig Casey and Chris Farrell, right, of Munster during the URC match between Ulster and Munster at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile

Munster

A win for second placed Munster against Leinster would almost certainly guarantee them a home quarter-final, with only fifth placed Ulster capable of stopping them should Munster win. However, Ulster would have to win with a bonus point and make up a points difference of 81 against the Sharks.

In terms of a home semi-final, Munster could theoretically lose and still secure one. They would have to secure two bonus points however, one for scoring four tries and one for losing by seven points or less. They would also have to hope for losses for the Bulls and Stormers with no bonus points, and a draw between Ulster and the Sharks with no try bonus points.

Munster are currently tied in points with the Sharks and the Stormers, are a point ahead of Ulster, and three ahead of the Bulls. They are also level on wins with Sharks, Stormers and Ulster, and have won win more than the Bulls. Should they finish level on points with any of these sides (as long as they have the same or more wins), they will likely finish ahead of them thanks to their much superior points difference.

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Prediction: Lose to Leinster but keep a top four spot. Leinster will be favourites to win, but with Ulster playing the Sharks, a loss for either team will likely drop them out of the top four. The Bulls and Stormers also play away to the Ospreys and Scarlets respectively. Both Welsh teams have a Champions Cup spot on the line, and expect one of them to grab a win. The South African sides have also travelled poorly outside of their home country this season.

Ulster

Ulster will be heavy favourites against the Sharks, and a win of any kind puts them into the top four, and secures a home quarter-final. They will be very focused after their Champions Cup exit and loss to Munster, and home advantage should see them secure a four try bonus point.

For a home semi-final, they must win and hope the Stormers lose to the Scarlets.

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Prediction: A bonus point win and a top two spot, courtesy of wins for Leinster and the Scarlets.

Other Permutations

As we have mentioned above, both the Ospreys and Scarlets are in a battle to top their Welsh Shield division which would secure them a spot in next season’s Champions Cup, despite not making the URC play-offs.

Both sides are on 44 points each, while the Ospreys have won two more matches, and have a points difference advantage of ten.

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SEE ALSO: 'If Their 2nd Team Was In The URC They’d Be Top 6': Pundits Heap Praise On Leinster

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