Will URC play-offs be decided by penalty kicks?
SPOTLIGHT: In the wake of the European Cup quarterfinal drama, which saw Munster eliminated in a penalty-kick shoot-out by Toulouse, many asked if this is a fair way to settle such high-profile matches?
With the kick-off times for the inaugural United Rugby Championship quarterfinals confirmed, the question was raised: ‘How will stalemates be settled?’
The competition rules determine that in the event of a tie at full-time of a play-off match, the winner of that match shall be determined by reference to the following rules:
* Extra time will be played and the team that scores the most points in such extra time shall be deemed the winner of that match.
* If the scores are tied after extra time, then the team that has scored the most tries in that match (including extra time) shall be deemed the winner of that match.
* If the scores are tied after extra time and the teams have scored the same number of tries in that match (including extra time), then the winner of the match will be determined by a place-kick competition.
So, one of the first-ever URC play-off matches may well be decided by penalty kicks!
* Meanwhile it was confirmed that the play-offs will kick off on Friday, June 3.
Four games will take place across Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4 – with Ulster’s home quarterfinal with Munster getting the action underway.
Saturday will see three consecutive quarterfinal clashes, with the action beginning and ending in South Africa.
The Bulls will host the league’s first-ever play-off game on South African soil when they face the Sharks in Pretoria.
The action then returns to the Northern Hemisphere, as Leinster take on Glasgow Warriors in Dublin, before Edinburgh’s trip to Cape Town to face the Stormers.
The timings of each game have allowed for the possibility of extra-time and a place-kicking competition.
United Rugby Championship quarterfinals
Friday, June 3
Ulster v Munster
Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast – Kick-off: 19.35 (20.35 SA time)
Saturday, June 4
Bulls v Sharks
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria – Kick-off: 13.45 (12.45 UK & Ireland time)
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
RDS Arena, Dublin – Kick-off-OFF: 15.15 (16.15 SA time)
Stormers v Edinburgh
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town – 19.00 (18.00 UK & Ireland time)
Quarterfinal One: Leinster v Glasgow Warriors
Quarterfinal Two: Stormers v Edinburgh
Quarterfinal Three: Ulster v Munster
Quarterfinal Four: Bulls v Sharks
Winners of Quarterfinal One play at home to winners of Quarterfinal Four in semifinal One
Winners of Quarterfinal Two play at home to winners of Quarterfinal Three in semifinal Two
The team with the highest ranking from the regular-season league table will host URC Final
Semifinal One: Leinster/Glasgow Warriors v Bulls/Sharks
Semifinal Two: Stormers/Edinburgh v Ulster v Munster
Rankings in the league table determine each team’s placing for the URC quarterfinals.
1. Leinster (67 points)
2. Stormers (61 points)
3. Ulster (59 points)
4. Bulls (58 points)
5. Sharks (57 points)
6. Munster (56 points)
7. Edinburgh (54 points)
8. Glasgow Warriors (50 points)