Winner-takes-all play-off to decide final Pro14 European berth

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill
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The seventh Guinness Pro14 side to take their place in next season’s European Champions Cup will be decided by a winner-takes-all play-off at the end of the season, it has been announced.

The top three sides from both Conferences, who will contest the Pro14 play-offs, will automatically qualify for Europe’s elite club competition, with the two who just miss out facing off for the seventh spot.

The fixture will take place on the first weekend of May and home advantage will be awarded to the team who has finished the regular season with the highest match-points total. The South African teams are ineligible to qualify so should a South African team finish in either the top three or in fourth they will be replaced by the team that finished below them in that Conference.

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi said: “We are committed to raising the standards of our Championship and the introduction of the Champions Cup Play-Off brings a dynamic element to European qualification. After careful consultation with our clubs we strongly believe that this is best solution for the Guinness Pro14.

“No matter which Conference a club is in, eligible teams have an equal opportunity to qualify for the Champions Cup. By pitting the two fourth-placed teams against each other we’re creating a fair fight and giving fans a cup final-style occasion that they can relish.”