With all the Grand Slam silliness out of the way, we now have to refocus on how to climb another few places up the URC table, secure some end of season knockout rugby and hopefully welcome Santi Cordero to the Sportsground with some Champions Cup fare next season.
We can now be cautiously optimistic about a playoff spot, but home wins are essential, starting this weekend. Edinburgh won’t overhaul us if they win, but next week’s Challenge Cup opponents are waiting to pounce if they take care of their fellow Lions before we kick off.
In terms of grabbing a Champions Cup spot, Bulls now look marginally easier to catch than Sharks, with Ulster and Leinster still to play and only a four point lead on the table, but a win for Scarlets over Sharks will be very welcome if we get the business done against Edinburgh.
Of course, Connacht might need to get ahead of both of them to protect against the eventuality of a team below us winning the Challenge Cup and leapfrogging us for the last spot, but that might be a big ask. Scarlets are the most likely URC team to pull off that feat, with home games all the way to Dublin, so that is another reason to hope they beat Sharks and maybe sneak in as the best Welsh team.
A Zebre win over Cardiff would be a good start and at the time of going to press, is looking less ridiculous than twenty minutes ago, though the odds favour another addition to the Parmesan LBP collection.
But other than our own game, the key game is probably in Ravenhill, where the bookies have Ulster favourites to overcome the Bulls, which might leave the European door open. But first to take care of the Gunners. They have some internationals back, while we are still waiting for ours, so it might not be easy. Memories of the trip there twelve months ago are still traumatic …
Zebre v Cardiff
Leinster v Stormers
Benetton v Lions
Ospreys v Dragons
Connacht v Edinburgh
Scarlets v Sharks
Munster v Glasgow
Ulster v Bulls