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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019


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WE KNOW WHO the four playoff teams are, but Munster, Ulster, Glasgow and Ospreys still have to decide who will play who and where. Also, we have Connacht’s attempt to qualify for the Champions Cup, either automatically or by making it into the seventh place playoff.

The Guinness PRO12 trophy Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

In short, this is going to be a fun day. 

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This is such a weird feeling… the final round of the Pro12 and we have about five games that mean something! If you are a fan of Cardiff Blues or Zebre, then you should leave this liveblog because I will not be mentioning that soaking wet squib even once.

However, I’ll be casting an eye over these quintet of fixtures.

  • Munster v Dragons
  • Connacht v Ospreys
  • Edinburgh v Leinster
  • Glasgow v Ulster
  • Treviso v Scarlets

Leinster might have nothing to play for but there are some interesting things to look out for in their trip to Edinburgh. Firstly, a win would secure Connacht a place in the Champions Cup playoff.

Also, Colm O’Shea and Noel Reid will start in the centre, a duo who haven’t see much game-time this season. Ian Madigan also gets the nod at ten while Lansdowne youngster Cian Kelleher will provide back three cover from the bench. No Garry Ringrose though, we will have to wait a few more months for that.

Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Sam Hidlago-Clyne, 8 Cornell Du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Fraser McKenzie, 5 Ben Toolis, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 John Andress, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 James Hilterbrand, 21 Nathan Fowles, 22  Jade Te Rure, 23 Tom Brown.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Colm O’Shea, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Cian Kelleher.

Munster host the Dragons at Musgrave Park knowing that a bonus point win will secure them a home semi-final. They have rested some key men but should still be good enough to secure a five-point win.

Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Denis Hurley (c), 11 Ronan O’Mahony, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Paddy Butler, 6 Donnacha Ryan, 5 Paul O’Connell, 4 Billy Holland, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 John Ryan.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Sean Dougall, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Andrew Conway.

Dragons: 15 Jason Tovey, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Jonathan Evans, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman (c), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Phil Price, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 James Benjamin, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Ashton Hewitt, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones.

Ulster boss Neil Doak seems to have conceded the home semi-final in favour of resting some of his frontline players. Some make the bench, while others have been omitted entirely.

Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Richie Vernon, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 Josh Strauss, 5 Al Kellock (c), 4 Jonny Gray, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Mike Cusack, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 Ryan Wilson, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 Peter Murchie

Ulster: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Rory Scholes, 13 Sam Arnold, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Chris Henry (c), 6 Clive Ross, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Louis Stevenson, 3 Ricky Lutton,  2 Rob Herring, 1 Andrew Warwick
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Bronson Ross, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Tommy Bowe

Judging from the teams selected, this semi-final line-up looks pretty likely:

Munster v Ulster

Glasgow v Ospreys.

One interesting thing about the Ulster line-up is that Stuart McCloskey starts at inside centre. The Bangor Bulldozer has been in dominant form in the last few weeks and should thrive in a starting role today.

The Scarlets lead Connacht by four points in the race for the automatic Champions Cup place and the westerners need the Welsh side to lose without any bonus points away to Treviso, and then beat the Ospreys at the Sportsgrounds.

Were the Scarlets to pick up a losing bonus point in Italy, then Connacht would have to win with a bonus point.

The Welsh team need just two points to clinch a place in next season’s European Cup.

Will this help or hinder Rhys Webb at the Sportsgrounds?

BOD seemed a little off in similar circumstances against England in 2013.

An raft of backline injuries at Connacht has seen Fionn Carr brought back into the team. Does he still have the ability to influence such an important game?

There is actually a similar scenario happening in England today, with the Aviva Premiership playing their final round of matches. Leicester, Exeter and Saracens are competing for two playoff places and it looks like the Chiefs might be the team that misses out.

Just ten minutes to kick off now… who do you think will come out on top in today’s games?

Glasgow, Munster with BP, Scarlets with BP, Leinster and Ospreys is 5/1… worth a punt?

If you put Alun Wyn Jones’ face into that stupid ‘guess the age’ app, he’d get about 50!

We are off on Judgement Day!

Good start by the Connacht scrum in Galway.

TRY! Munster 7-3 Dragons

Australian centre Andrew Smith shows lovely footwork to dance down the touchline and touch down in the corner. Perfect start for Munster at Musgrave Park.

Glasgow 3-0 Ulster

Munster 7-10 Dragons

Finn Russell has kicked Glasgow into the lead after Ulster go offside while the Dragons have struck back immediately through Ashton Hewitt!

Edinburgh 3-0 Leinster

Connacht 0-3 Ospreys

A scrum offence allows Dan Biggar to give the Ospreys the lead in Galway while Sam Hidalgo-Clyne has opened the scoring in Scotland.

Munster 14-10 Dragons

A classic Munster score! Keatley goes to the corner with a penalty and CJ Stander rumbles over from the back of a maul.

Tommy Bowe has come off the bench for the injured Michael Allen in Glasgow.

Ospreys are piling on the pressure early on in Galway.

Great maul defence from Connacht keeps the Ospreys out… just as Treviso open the scoring against the Scarlets! UPSET ALERT*!

*Just trying to generate some excitement

Treviso 5-0 Scarlets

Edinburgh 3-3 Leinster

Davide Giazzon scored for the Italian’s but Jayden Hayward missed the conversion. Meanwhile, who said Ian Madigan couldn’t be a traditional ten? Jordi Murphy wins a lineout in Edinburgh territory and then Madigan slots a DG.


Connacht 0-10 Ospreys

The Connacht scrum is destroyed, allowing Dan Biggar to cross under the posts. Looks like Connacht might even miss out on the Champions Cup playoff unless Leinster do them a favour.


Munster 21-10 Dragons

The home side set another maul and after going through the phases, Conor Murray burrows over from close range. Another try and Munster will secure the one seed, and a home game with Ulster, as it stands.


TRY! Edinburgh 3-10 Leinster

Ian Madigan and Sean O’Brien combine to release the forgotten man Noel Reid, who finishes with gusto. A lovely score by Matt O’Connor’s men.

Obviously Connacht wouldn’t want to lose Kieran Marmion, but John Cooney has played some excellent rugby in the last few weeks.

Treviso 8-0 Scarlets

Munster 28-10 Dragons

Hayward kicks another penalty so if Connacht can turn things around at home, they will take the last automatic Champions Cup spot. Elsewhere, Murray’s second try has sealed a bonus point for Munster.

Treviso 8-3 Scarlets

A Rhys Priestland penalty has reduced the gap to five in Italy.


Connacht 0-17 Ospreys

Ben John scores an easy try and it could already be game over at the Sportsgrounds. Very disappointing performance by Pat Lam’s men.

Treviso 13-3 Scarlets

Edinburgh 10-10 Leinster

Connacht 0-24 Ospreys

A Jayden Hayward interception try for Treviso increases their lead while Hamish Watson has levelled the match in Edinburgh. Also, new dad Rhys Webb has crossed for the Ospreys’ third try, and as it stands, Connacht will be playing in the Challenge Cup next season.

Glasgow 3-7 Ulster

After a yellow card to Glasgow second row Jonny Gray, Chris Henry touches down after a rolling maul. As it stands, Munster would host Glasgow!.

Edinburgh 10-17 Leinster

Ian Madigan plays a part in another Leinster score, this time linking with Dave Kearney to put replacement Jack Conan over for a score.

Glasgow 6-7 Ulster

Another Russell penalty reduces the gap to the minimum right on half time.

Glasgow 6-10 Ulster

But Ian Humphreys puts the lead back to four almost immediately with a penalty of his own.

Ospreys were just denied their fourth try but the TMO. They have a home semi-final as it stands and it just depends on who they will host.

TRY! Munster 33-10 Dragons

It what could be his last ever game at Musgrave Park, Paul O’Connell crashes over at the back of the maul, which has been a potent weapon for Munster in the first half.

We have now reached half time in the final round of the Pro12. Here are the scores:

Connact 0-24 Ospreys

Munster 33-10 Dragons

Edinburgh 10-17 Leinster

Glasgow 6-10 Ulster

Treviso 13-3 Scarlets.

Munster 38-10 Dragons

Munster are putting on a real show in their regular season finale. Keith Earls has scored their sixth try at the start of the second half.


Connacht 3-24 Ospreys

Jack Carty kicks a penalty from straight in front, and then runs back to halfway like Steven Gerrard in Istanbul in 2005!

Pat Lam obviously did his best Joe Kernan impression at half time, throwing his Challenge Cup registration sheet against the wall at half time!

Edinburgh 13-17 Leinster

Things get a little more nervous for Connacht as Hidalgo-Clyne narrows the gap for Edinburgh.

Munster 40-17 Dragons

Denis Hurley and Jason Tovey swap tries in what is a very entertaining game in Cork.

Connacht 6-24 Ospreys

Connacht kick another penalty with 30 minutes to go. Can they do the unthinkable?


It’s all Connacht at the moment!

TRY! Connacht 11-24 Ospreys

Eoghan Masterson goes over at the back of a maul. Game on in Galway! If Connacht can somehow get the win, they will be in the Champions Cup – as things stand.

Edinburgh 18-22 Leinster

Pressure back on Connacht as Tim Visser reduces the gap with a try.

Connacht 13-24 Ospreys

Glasgow 11-10 Ulster

Carty nailed the touchline conversion in Galway while Stuart Hogg has given Glasgow the lead after gathering a grubber kick to score.

Edinburgh 20-22 Leinster

Hidalgo-Clyne converted the tricky kick and now Edinburgh are a score away from putting Connacht into the Challenge Cup… although they are a few scores away from putting themselves into the Champions Cup. Permutations!

TRY! Treviso 13-8 Scarlets

Big score for the Welsh side as Liam Williams touches down in Italy. A losing bonus point would be enough for that last Champions Cup place.

Treviso 13-10 Scarlets

Glasgow 18-10 Ulster

Priestland converts Williams’ try while Finn Russell goes over for Glasgow.

Munster 45-17 Dragons

Conor Murray completes his hat-trick as Munster edge towards the half century. They host Ulster, as it stands.

Edinburgh 23-22 Leinster

Hidalgo-Clyne puts Edinburgh in front with another penalty. Unless Leinster score or Connacht complete their comeback, they will be in the Challenge Cup.

TRY! Treviso 13-15 Scarlets

Steff Evans crosses for the Welsh side, who look to have secured Champions Cup rugby for next season.

Edinburgh’s kickoff goes out on the full and Leinster have a scrum on halfway. Connacht will be praying that they can milk a penalty…

TRY! Edinburgh 23-27 Leinster

They did much better than that as Jordi Murphy scores a try that puts Connacht back into the Champions Cup playoff place!

Edinburgh 23-29 Leinster

Madigan converts to increase Leinster’s lead to six.

TRY! Glasgow 25-10 Ulster

Another Finn Russell dart from close-range yields another Glasgow try. If Glasgow score another try, they will host Ulster in the semi-finals, with the Ospreys travelling to Munster.

TRY! Glasgow 32-10 Ulster

The Scottish side have secured a home semi-final and unless the Ospreys score a fourth try, they will host Ulster in a rematch next weekend.

FT Edinburgh 23-29 Leinster

Leinster end their season with a win, which means that Connacht will play away to Gloucester in the Champions Cup playoff semi-final.

TRY! Connacht 20-24 Ospreys

Denis Buckley dives over for a consolation score for the home side as the clock strikes 80.

FT Connacht 20-24 Ospreys

The Ospreys had three tries at half time but their inability to score a fourth cost them a home playoff game. They will visit Munster next Saturday.

FT Munster 50-27 Dragons

A dominant Munster display means they earn the right to host the Ospreys next Saturday evening in what should be a cracker. The Welsh side won at Thomond Park earlier in the season.

FT Glasgow 32-10 Ulster

A rampant second half from the home side means that they will face Ulster at home next Friday night. Of course, Ulster will be at full-strength for the semi-final clash…

That’s all the games wrapped up this evening and thank you for joining me for this afternoon’s riveting final day! Make sure to check the site in the next few minutes as we go through what all the results mean for next weekend’s Pro12 and Champions Cup playoffs.

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