Leinster and Munster Rugby are this weekend’s big winners both having secured a home quarter-final in the European Champions’ Cup and put themselves in line for the potential of an All Ireland final in Bilbao.
Leinster’s win in Montpellier, combined with other results on the final day of the pool stages set them up for their home tie in April against Saracens, England’s only representative in the knock out stages.
Munster’s game took a lot longer to resolve than anticipated with the referee pushing back kick off time by three hours due to heavy rain. One of the reasons for player safety cited for the delay was the danger of a player drowning at the bottom of a ruck. That’s good enough reason wouldn’t you agree to cause a delayed start.
The groundstaff at Thomond Park and a relenting weather allowed the game to proceed and Munster’s big win ensured their return to Limerick against Toulon at the end of March.
Ulster slipped out of the knock out stages with defeat in Coventry against Wasps on a pitch that was barely playable, while Connacht made sure of a home Quarter Final in the Challenge Cup where they will face Gloucester.
Leinster and Connaught are in line for home semi-finals on April 20th and 21st if they come through those quarter-final matches, and based on their opponents being the home side in the quarter-final on the other side of the draw.
It also presents the tantalising prospect of Leinster and Munster coming together for a final for the ages, at least in Irish terms in Bilbao. Now that would be something to look forward to.
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