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Road to the play-offs: Booking the Euro ticket

SPOTLIGHT: And then there was one – just one more round of the 2023/24 United Rugby Championship to go, but with so much still to play for.

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All will be resolved in a fortnight when calculators will need to be at the ready.

The top three sides are all involved in derbies.

After Friday’s 29-26 bonus point win over Edinburgh, new league leader Munster host Ulster in Limerick.

Talking about timing your run to perfection, the URC reigning champs sit at the top of the table with 63 log points.

The second-placed Bulls, who are on 61 points after their 56-35 victory over Benetton at Loftus Versfeld, travel to Durban to take on the Sharks, while Leinster (60 points) entertain 10th-placed Connacht (45 points).

Glasgow Warriors (60 points), now down in fourth, will look to apply the pressure as they have a Friday night game at home to bottom-of-the-table Zebre.

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Elsewhere, there’s a huge encounter in terms of the play-off race as Benetton and Edinburgh – locked on 49 points in eighth and seventh respectively – meet in Treviso.

The Lions, who are also on 49, are away to fellow South Africans the Stormers – fifth with 54 points – in Cape Town.

There are two further derbies in Wales, with the Cardiff City Stadium the setting for a Judgement Day doubleheader.

First up, it will be the Dragons against the Scarlets. Then the Ospreys will be hoping to be in a position to secure a play-off spot by claiming maximum points against Cardiff, a scenario that hinges on other results earlier in the day.

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Before all that, two URC sides will be involved in next weekend’s EPCR Finals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Leinster take on Toulouse in a mouth-watering Champions Cup showpiece, while the Sharks face Gloucester in the Challenge Cup Final, knowing victory will see them qualify for next season’s Champions Cup instead of whoever finishes eighth in the URC.

Now that would add yet another twist to the tale on the final weekend of the regular league season!

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