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Munster secure top spot on dramatic final day

May 08

The Guinness PRO12 regular season came to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday with all 12 sides playing simultaneously as the battle to reach the semi-finals and leapfrog rivals in the standings heated up.

Munster secure top spot on dramatic final day

Irish provinces Leinster and Munster had already booked home advantage in their semi-finals but Round 22 would decide which side would finish top of the pile.

Munster’s victory over Connacht coupled with Leinster’s defeat at Ulster meant that the Limerick side enter the play-offs as top seeds and will play the fourth-placed side, Ospreys, at the Aviva Stadium.

Despite Ulster’s superb win over then league-leaders Leinster, who now host Scarlets in the semi-finals, the margin of victory was not large enough to surpass Ospreys.

And after 22 rounds of competition, we can finally reveal our semi-final line up, here we take a look at how it unfolded on a dramatic final day.

MUNSTER LEAVE IT LATE
2011 Guinness PRO12 champions Munster secured a convincing 50-14 victory over Connacht at Thomond Park to ensure that they will take maximum momentum into their semi-final.

A rampant Munster took a 24-0 lead into half-time as they suffocated Connacht – who played their final match as defending champions.

And after trailing compatriots Leinster for several weeks, Munster left it late to climb above their rivals into top spot thus gaining a semi-final against the fourth-place side, Ospreys.

LEINSTER FALL AT THE LAST
Although it is no easy feat to win at the Kingspan Stadium, Leinster will have been disappointed with the way their regular season ended, having enjoyed a ten-match winning streak prior to Round 22.

Ulster required a victory to stand any chance of making the top four and they edged their Irish rivals 17-13 to ask the question of Ospreys.

But it was not to be for the Ulsterman as they fell a point short of fourth, they will however take comfort from denying Leinster top spot.

SCARLETS FINISH STRONG
Scarlets notched up their fifth consecutive win over Ospreys at Parc y Scarlets as they hit form ahead of their semi-final.

Scarlets were in danger of slipping to fourth place had they lost to Ospreys on the final day but they put fellow Welsh region to the sword in a scintillating display.

Ospreys were helped by Ulster’s failure to secure a bonus point in their victory over Leinster and held on to their fourth place to earn a semi-final berth.
ULSTER VICTORY NOT ENOUGH AS OSPREYS HANG ON
 
Ulster’s hard-fought victory over Leinster was good enough to send their departing players – Ruan Pienaar and Roger Wilson – off on a high but they could not secure the bonus point they would have given them a chance to sneak into fourth place.

Ospreys’ defeat to Scarlets means they will approach their semi-final with Munster on the back of a heavy defeat but still in with a chance of reaching the Guinness PRO12 final.

The Guinness PRO12 Final takes place on May 27 at Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Fans can guarantee their place by booking their tickets via www.ticketmaster.ie
 

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