In the bitterness of Ulster’s recent defeat to Leinster, the former’s head coach Dan McFarland has stated that his side deserves to participate in play-offs rugby.
Ulster fell to Leinster 38-19, a result which has snuffed out any hope of McFarland’s men taking the Pro14 title this year. The competition has been rejigged due to the pandemic and the approaching Rainbow Cup, meaning that only the top teams in each conference will advance to the final.
"We were good enough to be top of our conference this year and we've definitively said we were good enough to be second," said McFarland.
"In my personal opinion, if you finish second in your conference in the format the league is around at the moment, you should be playing play-off games.
"We've earned the right to be playing a play-off game. It just seems like a real damp squib that there's only going to be one game to finish the season, and a season where a lot of these games have been characterised by under-strength teams.
"Fans are surely crying out for the play-offs, games that have actual knock-out meaning.
"The administrators of the game, the formula they have to work to is so difficult and complex. I understand it's got to be mixed in with weekends and timings, there's obviously commercial interests and all of that," he said.
"I can't speak to the complexities of their decision-making processes, what I can speak to is that fact that at the end of the 16-game round robin season, it just doesn't seem right that there's only one game to finish it.
"People love play-off games."