The regular Guinness PRO12 season will be capped off by Super Saturday in Round 22 as traditional derby games take place right across the Championship with all games kicking off at 5.15pm.
Three of the Semi-Final teams are confirmed with Ospreys Rugby and Ulster Rugby contesting the fourth and final spot while the Italian derby in Parma will decide whether Zebre Rugby or Benetton Rugby qualify for the Champions Cup.
The Championship’s all-time try-scoring record for a season was broken last week by Leinster Rugby’s Rory O’Loughlin against Glasgow Warriors at the RDS Arena; by the time Round 21 had finished the total number of tries scored this season stood at 683 which means that try No 700 is likely to be recorded this weekend.
What’s at Stake?
Ulster entertain Leinster Rugby at a sold-out Kingspan Stadium knowing that a bonus-point victory would give them a slim chance of reaching the Semi-Finals depending on Ospreys’ result in Llanelli, where the visitors need a point to secure a top four finish.
Leinster, meanwhile, will need to pick up points in order to ensure they finish in 1st place with Munster Rugby lying just three points behind in second place.
Munster welcome the 2016 Guinness PRO12 champions Connacht to Thomond Park. Connacht have secured their place in the Champions Cup play-offs, but depending on Cardiff Blues result a victory here may allow Pat Lam’s team to finish the season in 7th position.
The Blues travel to Caerphilly where Newport-Gwent Dragons will host their regional clash at the Constructaquote Stadium while in Scotland Glasgow Warriors will host Edinburgh Rugby at a sold-out Scotstoun to decide who will win the 1872 Cup. The Warriors take a lead 13-point lead into the game after their 25-12 win over Edinburgh in December.
Finally, Zebre Rugby and Benetton Rugby will meet at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma with Champions Cup qualification on the line. Both teams are level on 19 points but in the event of a draw Benetton Rugby have an advantage having won more games and boast a superior points difference.
Pick of the Round: Scarlets v Ospreys Rugby
At Parc y Scarlets, 5.15pm
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 151st competition game)
Assistant Referees: TBC
Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)
The big West Wales derby at Parc y Scarlets will play an influential role in deciding the line-ups for the Semi-Finals. In the current standings Scarlets would be away to Munster and Ospreys would be away to Leinster, however, this fixture and the Munster v Connacht and Ulster v Leinster games will decide that order.
The game will also provide vital momentum for the winner going into the Guinness PRO12 Final Series and with as many as seven British and Irish Lions tour selections on the pitch the crowd in Llanelli and those watching live on Sky Sports are in for a cracker.
To finish in the top four the Ospreys must:
Secure at least one match point at Parc y Scarlets (losing or try bonus point)
To finish in the top four Ulster must:
- Beat Leinster with a try-scoring bonus point
- Ospreys would have to lose to Scarlets without any losing BP and/or try BP
- Make up a points difference of 73
Overall Guinness PRO12 head to head record:
Played 27, Scarlets won 8, Ospreys won 18 with 1 game drawn.
Did you know?
- Realistically Scarlets and Ospreys are vying for who will finish third and fourth in the PRO12 table, however there is an outside chance that mathematically Ulster could finish fourth.
- For Ospreys to finish in third place they need to beat Scarlets and gain four more league points than their rivals from this match.
- 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 PRO12 this season was way back in round 1 when Munster were the visitors.
- Ospreys are almost certain to have made the Semi-Finals for only the second time in the last five years
- Ospreys ended a three game losing run in the Guinness PRO12 with their victory over Ulster in round 21, they have not won away from home in the Championship since they visited Edinburgh on 3 March.
- 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.
For more Opta statistics visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/powered-by-opta/
The Guinness PRO12 Final takes place at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on May 27, 2017. Tickets for the Guinness PRO12 Final are available via ticketmaster.ie with a limited number of great value €35 tickets still remaining. Or get in at the top level with Premium, starting at only €70. www.pro12rugby.com/final