With just 3 full rounds (plus one catch-up fixture) left to play there’s little room for manoeuvre at the top of the Pro 12. Here at On Top Of The Moon we’ve looked to try and predict the final composition of the table but to get a real feel for who’s moving into the closing stages of the campaign with momentum on their side it’s instructive to look backwards as well and consider which sides are currently in the best form.
Without further ado here’s the Pro 12 current form table – after Round 19 (click for large version):
Glasgow have been in a slightly false position since their first Pro 12 postponement in December. It’s taken a run of excellent form as well as the unwinding of their games in hand to work them back into the playoff slots though. Key game: beating Leinster with 3 academy players, a makeshift back row and a scrum half on the wing.
The Blues resurgence continues and the question has to be asked – where would they be if it hadn’t been for a 7-game losing streak very early on in the season? Key game: taking their strong home form on the road and dealing the Scarlets playoff hopes a blow in Llanelli.
This season’s surprise package Connacht have continued their fine form, bouncing back every time it looked like they were faltering. This will be severely tested as they follow up defeat at Kingspan on Friday evening with a visit from provincial rivals Munster. Key game: overpowering Leinster at the Sportsground outwith the 6 Nations window.
Leinster may have wobbled on the road but the RDS (and Aviva Stadium) remain a fortress – which could be hugely significant given they must remain strong favourites to host a playoff semi-final. Key game: edging out Munster was crucial after a chastening defeat at top 4 rivals Connacht.
They’ve been up and down like a fiddler’s elbow throughout the campaign but their loss to Leinster looks to have finally ended Munster’s hopes of the playoffs – and they’ll need to be clinical in their remaining fixtures to stay in the Champions’ Cup qualification spots. Key game: that loss to fierce rivals Leinster.
Edinburgh have slipped back after a tough recent run of games and some close finishes. Toiling on the road has proved particularly costly to their ambitions of playing in the top European competition next season. Key game: a late fightback wasn’t enough when set against a powerful Connacht first half as the men from Galway conquered the castle at Murrayfield.
After the Scarlets ended a 9 year Liberty Stadium hoodoo in Round 18 the smart money was moving towards a home playoff semi-final at Parc Y Scarlets – but then the Blues came calling to throw a spanner in the works. Key game: that historic triumph over the Os and the potential indication of a changing of the guard at the top of the Welsh regions.
Ulster are still in the mix for the playoffs but their recent form has left them supping at the last chance saloon – keeping themselves alive with a strong showing against Connacht on Friday night. Key game: a 1 point home loss to Scarlets that the Ulstermen will look back on with regret if their season ends early.
The Ospreys have never really recovered from losing 5 of their first 6 matches. Add in only winning 2 out of 5 during the Six Nations and the international windows have been costly for the West Walians – and this is reflected in their current form. Key game: surrendering their long winning streak over the Scarlets and potentially ending their challenge for a Champions’ Cup place.
The 2015/16 season has seen Treviso, Dragons and Zebre continue to struggle. The 3 sides all seem to lack support from their respective unions – and it’s hard to see anything other than the (very) occasional upset victory to give their fans much cheer next season unless this is remedied.