100 days and counting

The race is on, the pace is quickening and there are now only 100 days to go to the inaugural Magners League Grand Final on Saturday, 29 May.

And while everyone is looking up and admiring the current leaders Glasgow Warriors, it would be foolish to write off almost anyone in the chasing pack from making the Play-Offs and going on to compete for the ultimate prize in the Grand Final.

And the leading lights of the Magners League admit to enjoying the new format this season. “It was a great idea to introduce the Play-Off system and Grand Final into the Magners League. There has definitely been an increase in intensity and standard this season,” said Tony McGahan, coach of Munster, the defending Magners League champions.

His side are just outside the Play-Off Zone in fifth place but could return to the top four as they host Edinburgh this weekend.

“Everything is so tight, with only eight points covering the top eight teams, and everyone is looking to knock their rivals out of the Play-Off Zone. We all want a top four finish and the new system means that every team will have something to play for right up to the end of the regular league season.

“Those final four rounds are going to be incredibly intense and cut throat. It is going to be a battle to the death and our eyes are firmly fixed on a top two finish in order to secure a home semi-final.

Because home advantage in both the Play-Offs and the Grand Final will go to the top ranked teams there is massive incentive for sides to finish their regular campaigns strongly to try to grab pole position.

Director of Celtic Rugby David Jordan, believes the new initiative is already having a major impact on the league and expects more big twists and turns before the final round of games on 7-9 May. “The Magners League Grand Final is all set to become a major showpiece occasion for the tournament. Every team craves the chance of appearing in the first Grand Final,” he said.