Edinburgh secure last playoff spot with impressive final-day victory

Edinburgh got an impressive win over Glasgow
Edinburgh got an impressive win over Glasgow

Edinburgh secured the last remaining playoff spot in the Guinness Pro14 with an impressive win after chasing side Ulster could only muster a draw.

The Scottish side clinched third place in Conference B after an impressive 24-19 derby day victory over rivals Glasgow in the final round of matches. Meanwhile struggling Ulster, who needed to better Edinburgh’s result, could only draw away to Munster after throwing away a lead.

Those results confirmed the final standings in both conferences as Glasgow finished top in Conference A with Munster second and the Cheetahs third. Over in Conference B Leinster finished first with Scarlets in second and the aforementioned Edinburgh in third.

This means Munster will host Edinburgh in the first quarterfinal while the Cheetahs will travel to Wales to play Scarlets in the other game. The winner of Munster-Edinburgh will face Leinster in Dublin in the semi-finals while either Scarlets or the Cheetahs will travel to Glasgow in the other.

Edinburgh’s impressive final-day victory capped a fine end to the season for them, following up a 52-14 win at home to Scarlets in Round 20 although they gave Ulster some hope of snatching third place after a 32-20 home defeat to the northern Irish province. Ulster ultimately couldn’t catch them despite an 8-0 victory at home to Ospreys and the final-day draw with Munster.

Munster will have been glad to at least snatch a draw at home to round off a good few weeks in the league. They completed a successful tour of South Africa, hammering the Southern Kings 39-22 while narrowly defeating the Cheetahs 19-17. The other touring side were Cardiff Blues who lost out 29-27 to the Cheetahs but followed it up with a 45-12 victory over the Southern Kings. They couldn’t continue their good form on the final day though as Ospreys came down to town and left with a 26-23 win. Meanwhile the Cheetahs beat Southern Kings 29-20 to finish off a quite miserable season for the Kings while also securing their play-off place.

Elsewhere it was a worrying final match for Leinster as a weakened side suffered their heaviest loss since January 2016. Inspired by captain John Muldoon’s retirement Connacht triumped 47-10 over the Dublin side. That followed a 35-22 defeat to Glasgow and 39-10 loss to Ospreys in the previous rounds for Connacht. Leinster have bigger fish to fry with the small matter of a European Champions Cup final on the horizon but will have been disappointed at the manner of the defeat after 41-6 win over Zebre and equally surprising 17-15 loss at home to Benetton in the previous two rounds.

Benetton had been chasing Ulster following that surprise victory over Leinster and a 29-27 win at home to Dragons the previous week but lost 22-17 at home to Zebre in the final match. That made it two wins in two for Zebre who had beaten Dragons 34-32 the previous week. Dragons rounded off a fairly miserable few weeks with a home loss to Scarlets who came away with a comfortable 33-8 win.