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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Ospreys and Glasgow ready to sign off in style

Leinster bench can make the difference against Connacht

Ospreys can end the season on a winning note
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The final day of regular-season action in the Pro14 is a punting minefield with huge question marks over team strength, incentive and motive.

Three playoff berths are already decided. Glasgow go straight into the semi-finals as Conference A winners and Munster are guaranteed a home quarter-final, while Leinster are in the playoffs and will also go straight to the semis if they get a point against Connacht or if Scarlets fail to take five against Dragons.

Cheetahs look good things to take the final place in Conference A as they are 17-point favourites at the hapless Kings, while in Conference B Ulster must beat Munster with a bonus point and then hope Edinburgh get nothing in the evening against Glasgow.

Scarlets give up 15 points to Dragons in part one of the Judgement Day double-header at the Principality Stadium (BBC Wales & Sky Sports Action, 3.05pm).

Wayne Pivac’s side may be suffering a slight hangover from their Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Leinster last week but it’s hard to see them struggling against a Dragons side with just two wins to their name all season and missing skipper Cory Hill.

But Ospreys could be worth backing in the second all-Welsh clash against Cardiff (S4C, 5.35pm).

The Blues have all eyes on next month’s European Challenge Cup final against Gloucester, and while Ospreys have nothing much to play for, there’s a buzz about the club with news of a new coach and some big-name signings for next season.

The clash between Munster and Ulster (BBC2 NI & Sky Sports Action 5.35pm) is tricky to call as Munster have rested several big names following their European Champions Cup exit last week but Ulster are also missing key men Charles Piatau, John Cooney and Jean Deysel.
But Leinster’s trip to Connacht could provide a worthwhile wager as the visitors have also rested many of their star performers but name a strong bench.

Leinster need just one point to top the Conference but while Connacht have nothing tangible to play for, the game is a send-off for captain John Muldoon in his 327th game for the province.

Leinster don’t have to win, and chasing a try bonus point could well be the preferred option, but at 6-1 it’s worth taking a chance on Connacht being ahead at the break but being overhauled by the end.
Glasgow, with nothing to play for and a week off ahead, nevertheless put out a strong team against Edinburgh (Sky Sports Action, 7.45pm) with silverware up for grabs in the shape of the 1872 Cup.

Edinburgh are in outstanding form with just one defeat in their last eight league outings while Glasgow have coasted somewhat, but coach David Rennie clearly wants a big game from his squad and Edinburgh may well have already qualified for the playoffs come kick-off time if Ulster fail to get a bonus-point win against Munster.

Ospreys -6
1pt 10-11 general
Connacht-Leinster double result
1pt 6-1 general
1pt 10-11 general

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While Ospreys have nothing much to play for, there’s a buzz about the club with news of a new coach and some big-name signings for next season
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