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The Pro 12 Table 2015 Shows Meritocracy Is Working

The Pro 12 Table 2015 Shows Meritocracy Is Working
By Conor O'Leary

Sometimes in sport, it's very hard to remember what happened a few months ago. A few bad results in a short space of time - and it almost doesn't matter what happened a few months prior.

Take Munster for example - five straight losses in all competitions, and the calls for Foley to be axed as head coach is growing. It's easy to forget that his Munster team has been very good in the Pro 12 under his tutelage, especially in 2015. He guided the province to the Pro 12 final in his first year, a full four years after Munster's last appearance final appearance.

How good were Munster in the Pro 12 in 2015? A calendar year table will tell you they were very good. The second best team in the league, and just three points behind the leaders:

Those leaders are the Scarlets. That's the Welsh region who finished last season in sixth place ahead of Connacht, and are the current league leaders.

When you look at the table for the year, not much jumps out at you - the top six teams are the expected top six, with the Irish provinces still in the same order that they finished last season in. But it's the 13 points that separate first from eighth that jumps out. In the final 2014/15 table, 13 points was the gap between first and fifth. If that gap between the top eight teams in the tournament is shrinking, it hints towards a more competitive league. A more competitive league would appear to suggest that the new meritocracy based European qualification has appeared to work.

Even the number of points that the Scarlets have in first shows that the league is more competitive. The 68 point total wouldn't have been enough to reach the playoffs last season, suggesting that more teams can beat each other in this league.

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This evidence is further backed up by both of last season's finalists are outside the European qualification places, while the likes of Connacht, Edinburgh, and particular Scarlets are surging. The Irish teams are set for an intriguing battle in the fight for European qualification, and the playoffs - and it could well be that the highest place Irish province in 2015, could easily finish as the fourth best province in 2016.

See Also: Munster Made The Right Decision To Keep Anthony Foley For Another Year

See Also: The Form XV In Irish Rugby Gives Creedence To A World Cup Hangover

Picture credit: Matt Impey / SPORTSFILE

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