With just one point separating the four teams at the top of the table, the line up for the Guinness PRO12 Play-Offs will not be confirmed until the final whistle is blown on round 22.
And with Leinster guaranteeing their spot in Europe’s top tier next season, three teams are left battling it out for the remaining automatic place in the tournament, or to be the PRO12’s representative in a qualifying round.
Just two teams are involved in a direct head to head battle for home field advantage in the Play-Offs, second placed Glasgow Warriors hosting fourth place Ulster. Glasgow, having led the table for six of the last eight rounds, know any slip-up could let Ospreys and Munster take the coveted top two places. Ulster’s destiny may not lie in their own hands, as even a win at fortress Scotstoun may not be enough to claim a home tie.
The Ospreys' emphatic win over Glasgow last time out meant they reclaimed the top spot they had held for all but two of the first 13 round. Ospreys will have to overcome a Connacht team themselves battling for European qualification if they are to remain at the top of the table and hope that their fellow Welsh region Newport Gwent Dragons will pull off a victory over Munster in Cork.
Scarlets and Edinburgh are the other two teams involved in a three way fight for the last remaining automatic place in the 2015/16 European Champions Cup, Scarlets perhaps having the edge by being four points ahead of their nearest rivals, but nothing can be taken for granted in this competition and as it enters the last round, 10 of the 12 teams still have a viable route to the Champions Cup awaiting them.
The calculators will be out as the teams take to the pitch in an unprecedented finale to 132 enthralling games.
WHO NEEDS WHAT?
Ospreys v Connacht:
Going into the game holding first place, to guarantee a home semi-final the Ospreys need to win with a bonus point. Anything else and home advantage will be in jeopardy, dependent on what happens elsewhere.
Connacht currently occupy seventh spot in the standings. Should they finish there it will be their best finish in 10 years, earning them the right to a qualification game against Challenge Cup champions Gloucester
2. Glasgow v Ulster:
The game with most at stake is this one between two of the top four sides. If this game ends in a draw then theoretically they could both host play-off games, but that would require an Ospreys loss to Connacht as well as Munster losing to the Dragons. Without a draw, one of these two teams will likely host a play-off while the other will be left to travel.
3. Munster v Dragons:
Munster are currently third in the standings, on the same amount of points as Ospreys in first place and Glasgow in second. Should Munster record a bonus-point win, then both of the top two will need to do the same in order to rob Munster of a home play-off.
4. Edinburgh v Leinster:
Edinburgh are Connacht's direct rivals for seventh place. The Scots are one point behind the Irish side but have to beat Leinster. The boys in blue can't make the play-offs but equally cannot be robbed of their Champions Cup place, which may play into the hands of Edinburgh.
5. Benetton Treviso v Scarlets/Cardiff Blues v Zebre:
Benetton Treviso are currently in 11th spot, away from any play-off contention, but crucially one spot above local rivals Zebre. Whichever side ends the season ahead of the other will qualify for Champions Cup rugby next season as Italy's representative.
Should Zebre fail to beat Cardiff Blues then there is no way for them to finish above Treviso. Treviso lost 47-0 in the third round of competition when they travelled to Parc y Scarlets, but even more worrying for the hosts is that Scarlets arrive in Italy on the back of four wins from five, including victories over the Blues and Leinster, knowing that they can secure a place in the Champions Cup themselves with a win.
2014/15 ABBREVIATED RULES
The Guinness PRO12 shall consist of a league stage followed by a play-off stage.
In the league stage, four league points shall be awarded for a win and two league points shall be awarded for a draw.
One bonus league point shall be awarded to a Team scoring four or more tries and one bonus league point shall be awarded to a Team losing by seven points or less.
The top four Teams in the league at the end of the season shall qualify for the play- offs which shall consist of the Guinness PRO12 Semi Finals and the Guinness PRO12 Final.
If two or more Teams finish with the same number of league points, their placings will be determined by the following criteria in descending order:
number of matches won;
the difference between points for and points against;
the number of tries scored;
the most points scored;
the difference between tries for and tries against;
the fewest number of players suspended;
the fewest number of yellow cards received.
In the Guinness PRO12 Play Offs, the Team placed first in the league shall play the Team placed fourth and the Team placed second shall play the Team placed third. The Guinness PRO12 Play Offs shall be held at the home grounds of the first and second placed Teams respectively. The PRO12 Board have decided that the 2015 Guinness PRO12 Final will take place on Saturday 30th May 2015 at 6.30pm at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast.