Permutations for the final round of the URC

URC

The final round of the United Rugby Championship takes place this weekend, and there is plenty of scope for movement among the top eight clubs in the table.

Eight teams will progress to the quarter-finals of the URC, where the first placed club will be guaranteed a home quarter-final, as well as a home semi-final and home final should they make it that far.

Second place will be guaranteed a home quarter-final and a home semi-final if they win their last eight fixture, while third and fourth place will be guaranteed home quarter-finals.

However, if the home sides all lose their quarter-finals, then fifth place will be guaranteed a home semi-final and so on.

Five teams could finish in second place.

The eight quarter-finalists have already been decided, with the ninth placed Ospreys six points behind Edinburgh in eighth place with just one round to go.

However, of the top eight teams, only Leinster cannot change position this weekend. Leinster are six points clear of Munster at the top, which means that even a loss to their provincial rivals this Saturday won’t see them drop in the table.

There is plenty of scope for movement below Leinster however, with a second place finish possible for the sixth-placed Bulls if they beat the Ospreys this weekend.

Munster are currently second, but in reverse to the Bulls, they could finish sixth if they lose to Leinster and other results don’t go their way.

Munster, Ulster, the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls could all finish in second place. Ulster and the Bulls would need to win their games at the weekend to do so, while a losing bonus point could be enough for Munster, the Sharks and the Stormers.

Glasgow and Edinburgh could both finish fifth.

Edinburgh host Glasgow Warriors in the Scottish derby on Saturday with both teams currently tied on 50 points, with the latter ahead as they have notched one more win than their rivals in the URC this season.

Obviously, the winner of Saturday’s game will finish above the other, although Glasgow can finish as high as fifth while Edinburgh can finish as high as sixth, again on account of the Warriors’ winning 10 matches so far, while Edinburgh have won nine.

While Glasgow can finish in fifth place above Ulster, it is unlikely as 62 points currently separate the sides on points difference.

Although Glasgow and Edinburgh are both guaranteed a place in the URC quarter-finals, only one of them will qualify for next year’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Eight teams in the URC will play in next season’s Champions Cup, but one club from each of the shields (Irish, South African, Welsh and Scottish/Italian) are guaranteed a place in Europe’s top tournament.

As a result, one of the Ospreys and Scarlets will play in the Champions Cup next season, instead of one of Glasgow or Edinburgh.

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