United Rugby Championship Permutations: What your team needs in the final round

United Rugby Championship Permutations: What your team needs in the final round

There is plenty at stake in the final round of the 2021/22 United Rugby Championship regular season this weekend.

The competition's debut season has been hugely competitive with only Leinster guaranteed to maintain their current position on the log in the final round.


Three regional Shields are still up for grabs as well as three home quarter-finals. Leinster are the only side to have secured both winning the Irish Shield and a home quarter-final.

With the help of the URC, we take a look at the permutations that involve 10 teams who have either silverware of Play-Off ranking to fight for and have highlighted the tie-breaker criteria that separates teams who finish level on match points.

Five of this weekend's fixtures will have direct consequences on the locations of home Quarter-finals. The South Africans will also be battling out for the SA Shield with the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls able to claim the Shield.


Over in Wales, Ospreys and Scarlets are both in contention to win the Welsh Shield and the same applies in Scotland with Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors competing for the Italian x Scottish Shield and the 1872 Cup.

 

HOW THINGS STAND IN THE RACE FOR THE SHIELDS


 

Tie-Breaker Criteria:

  1. Points Won
  2. Matches Won
  3. Highest Point-Difference
  4. Tries Scored
  5. Total Points Scored
  6. Try Difference
  7. Fewest Number of Players Suspended 
  8. Fewest Yellow Cards Received 
  9. Coin Toss
 

THE OVERALL STANDINGS

  • All four Shield winners are guaranteed a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup
  • The Welsh Shield winner will finish in 9th position meaning that only seven of the top eight will qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup
 

LEINSTER

(1st / 62 points / 12 games won) TOP RANKING CONFIRMED

Next Game: Munster (H)

Best: 1st

Worst: 1st

Shield: Leinster have won the Irish Shield and are automatically qualified for the Heineken Champions Cup

Play-Offs:

  • Leinster have secured No 1 ranking after picking up two losing bonus points on their tour to SA
  • They have a home Quarter-final and will host Semi-finals and Grand Final should they qualify
  • They will face the loser of this weekend's match between Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh in the quarters.
 

MUNSTER

(2nd / 56 points / 11 wins / PD 193 / TF 63 / Total Points 499 / TD +33)

Next Game: Leinster (A)

Best: 2nd  

Worst: 6th

Shield: Leinster have won the Irish Shield

Play-Offs:

  • A win of any description will guarantee a home Quarter-final due to their superior points difference
  • However, Munster are level with Sharks, Stormers and Ulster with 11 games won so a try-bonus point victory could be key to earning No 2 ranking and securing a home Semi-final (should they qualify)
  • A loss to Leinster opens Munster up to playing away in the Quarter-finals with the Bulls the biggest threat to breaking into the top four should they win at Ospreys
  • Munster have the luxury of knowing what is needed before kick off as they play Leinster in the final game of the weekend.
 
 

SHARKS

(3rd / 56 points / 11 wins / PD 148 / TF 57 / Total Points 489 / TD +17)

Next Game: Ulster (A)

Best: 2nd

Worst:6th

Shield: Leading the South African Shield but are level with DHL Stormers and are separated only by Tries For (57 to 56). Losses for both the Sharks and Stormers would allow Bulls to claim the Shield if they win

Play-Offs:

  • A win will guarantee a home Quarter-final. No 2 ranking for a home Semi-final is in play if Munster lose or Sharks win with a BP and Munster fail to win with maximum points but that is also true for Stormers should they win
  • A loss to Ulster would leave the Sharks vulnerable to dropping out of the top four
 

STORMERS

(4th / 56 points / 11 wins / PD 148 / TF 56 / Total Points 438 / TD +22)

Next Game: Scarlets (A)

Best: 2nd

Worst: 6th

Shield: Level with Sharks at top of the South African Shield and are behind by Tries For (57 to 56). Losses for both the Sharks and Stormers would allow Bulls to claim the Shield if they win

Play-Offs:

  • A win will guarantee a home Quarter-final. No 2 ranking for a home Semi-final is in play if Munster lose or the DHL Stormers win with a BP and Munster fail to win with maximum points but that is also true for Sharks should they win
  • A loss to Scarlets does not rule out a home Quarter-final but it would require other results to go in favour of the Stormers
 

ULSTER

(5th / 55 points / 11 wins / PD 112 / TF 49 / Total Points 388 / TD +18)

Next Game: Cell C Sharks (H)

Best: 2nd

Worst: 7th

Shield: Leinster have won the Irish Shield

Plays-Offs:

  • A win will guarantee a home Quarter-final. No 2 ranking for a home Semi-final is possible and would most likely require a win for Ulster and losses for Munster and Stormers who boast the lead in many of the tie-breakers
  • Only a bonus-point loss coupled to a heavy defeat for either Stormers or Munster would see Ulster sneak into the top four
 
 

BULLS

(6th / 53 points / 10 wins / PD 123 / TF 61 / Total Points 480 / TD +23)

Next Game: Ospreys (A)

Best: 2nd

Worst: 7th

Shield: Vodacom Bulls trail the Cell  C Sharks and DHL Stormers by 3 points in the SA Shield

Play-Offs:

  • To finish 2nd the Vodacom Bulls need a BP win with a winning margin of at least 25 points and losses to Munster, DHL Stormers and a draw between Ulster and the Cell C Sharks (neither side claims a try BP) although two bonus-points in defeat for Munster would probably give them the edge in finishing second
  • To earn a home Quarter-final Bulls need a BP win and require two from Munster, DHL Stormers and the Cell C Sharks to drop points
  • Defeat allows either Edinburgh or Glasgow Warriors to finish above the Vodacom Bulls
 
 

GLASGOW WARRIORS

(7th / 50 points / 10 wins / PD 50 / TF 52 / Total Points 398 / TD +11)

Next Game: Edinburgh Rugby (A)

Best: 5th

Worst: 8th

Shield: Glasgow are level with Edinburgh on 50 points at the top of the Italian X Scottish Shield. Winner takes all in this Scottish derby. A draw is good enough for Warriors who have won more games

Play-Offs:

  • A home Quarter-final is out of reach but Glasgow can still finish 5th, however, it will require a substantial BP win over Edinburgh and a heavy defeat for Ulster and a Vodacom Bulls loss
  • A loss will mean an eighth-place finish and a trip to Leinster in the Quarter-final
  • Defeat for either team will end their hopes of competing in the Heineken Champions Cup as the eighth-placed team will not gain a place in the competition due to the Welsh Shield winner finishing in 9th position in the table
  • Having won the R9 fixture 30-17, Glasgow Warriors hold a 13-point lead in the 1872 Cup and should they lose to Edinburgh, the aggregate score between that game and the R18 contest will decide the winner
 
 

EDINBURGH RUGBY

(8th / 50 points / 9 wins / PD 86 / TF 52 / Total Points 393 / TD +16)

Next Game: Glasgow Warriors (H)

Best: 6th

Worst: 8th

Shield: Glasgow are level with Edinburgh on 50 points at the top of the Italian X Scottish Shield. Winner takes all in this Scottish derby. A draw is good enough for Warriors who have won more games

Play-Offs:

  • The highest position on offer to Edinburgh is 6th and would largely depend on a win for the Scottish team and loss for the Vodacom Bulls, however, if Edinburgh did not pick up a BP and the Vodacom Bulls did, then points difference will come into play
  • A loss will mean an eighth-place finish and a trip to Leinster in the Quarter-final

  • Defeat for either team will end their hopes of competing in the Heineken Champions Cup as the eighth-placed team will not gain a place in the competition due to the Welsh Shield winner finishing in 9th position in the table

  • Having won the R9 fixture 30-17, Glasgow Warriors hold a 13-point lead in the 1872 Cup and should they lose to Edinburgh, the aggregate score between that game and the R18 contest will decide the winner

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