URC: Almost everything up for grabs as final round of matches kick off

Munster, Sharks, Stormers, Ulster and Bulls all competing for home quarter-finals

Leinster have topped the standings yet again, and the top eight qualifiers for the play-offs have been decided, but pretty much all else is up for grabs in this weekend's 18th and final round of regular-season URC matches.

The next five in the table – Munster, the Sharks, the Stormers, Ulster and the Bulls – are competing for home quarter-finals. Leinster and that quintet have ensured qualification for next season's Champions Cup while Edinburgh host Glasgow in a shootout to decide which of them will both advance to the play-offs and qualify for next season's premier European competition.

The loser will miss out on the eighth and final place for next season’s Champions Cup, which rests between the Ospreys and Scarlets, who go into the weekend level on points.

In the event of sides finishing level on points, the first criteria for separating them is their number of wins and, if still unresolved, points difference will come into play. The quarter-final line-up will be along traditional lines, ie 1st v 8th, 2nd v 7th, 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th.

Permutations for Shield winners, play-off rankings and Champions Cup qualifications

LEINSTER
(1st/ 62 points/ 12 games won)
Top ranking confirmed
Next game: Munster (h), Saturday night.
Best: 1st
Worst: 1st
Leinster have qualified for the Champions Cup and will have a home quarter-final, against the losers of the Edinburgh-Glasgow game, and will host semi-finals and final should they advance.

MUNSTER
(2nd/ 56 points/ 11 wins/ PD 193/ TF 63/ Total points 499/ TD +33)
Next Game: Leinster (a), Saturday night.
Best: 2nd
Worst: 6th
A win will guarantee a home quarter-final due to their superior points difference. However, as Munster are level with the Sharks, Stormers and Ulster with 11 games won, a try-bonus point victory could be key to earning top-two ranking and securing a potential home semi-final. They will have the advantage of kicking off last and hence will know exactly what is required of them. A loss to Leinster could condemn them to an away quarter-final in South Africa or Belfast.

SHARKS
(3rd/ 56 points/ 11 wins/ PD 148/ TF 57/ Total points 489/ TD +17)
Next Game: Ulster (a) Friday night.
Best: 2nd
Worst: 6th
Fractionally leading the South African Shield ahead of the Stormers on tries scored (57 to 56). A win against Ulster would guarantee a home quarter-final with a top-two place still in their sights. But a loss could see them drop out of the top four.

STORMERS
(4th/ 56 points/ 11 wins/ PD 148/ TF 56/ Total points 438/ TD +22)
Next Game: Scarlets (a), Saturday evening
Best: 2nd
Worst: 6th
Trailing the Sharks by a solitary try, the Stormers will know how the Sharks, Ulster and Bulls have fared come kick-off on Saturday in Parc Y Scarlets. A win will guarantee a home quarter-final and they also have their sights on a top-two ranking although could drop out of the top four if they lost.

ULSTER
(5th/ 55 points/ 11 wins/ PD 112/ TF 49/ Total points 388/ TD +18)
Next Game: Sharks (h), Friday night
Best: 2nd
Worst: 7th
A win will guarantee Dan McFarland's team a home quarter-final while a top two ranking would also come into play, but would most likely require a bonus-point win and losses for Munster and Stormers. A defeat would certainly all but condemn them to an away quarter-final, in Thomond Park or South Africa.

BULLS
(6th/ 53 points/ 10 wins/ PD 123/ TF 61/ Total points 480/ TD +23)
Next Game: Ospreys (a), Friday night
Best: 2nd
Worst: 7th
To earn a home quarter-final the Bulls need a bonus-point win and require two from Munster, Stormers and the Sharks to drop points. A potential top-two ranking is possible but looks a long shot.

GLASGOW
(7th/ 50 points/ 10 wins/ PD 50/ TF 52/ Total points 398/ TD +11)
Next Game: Edinburgh Rugby (a), Saturday
Best: 5th
Worst: 8th
A winner-takes-all derby. A draw is good enough as they have won more games. A loss will mean an eighth-place finish and a trip to Leinster in the quarter-final as well as missing out on next season's Champions Cup.

EDINBURGH
(8th/ 50 points/ 9 wins/ PD 86/ TF 52/ Total points 393/ TD +16)
Next Game: Glasgow Warriors (h), Saturday
Best: 6th
Worst: 8th
A loss will mean an eighth-place finish and a trip to Leinster in the quarter-final, while they must win to qualify for next season's Champions Cup.

OSPREYS
(9th/ 44 points/ 10 wins)
Next game: Bulls (h), Friday night
Best: 9th.
Worst: 10th.
Cannot reach the play-offs, but a bonus point win at home to the Bulls would guarantee qualification for next season's Champions Cup. A win without a bonus point would leave the Scarlets requiring a bonus-point win.

SCARLETS
(10th/ 44 points/ 8 wins).
Next game: Stormers (h), Saturday
Best: 9th.
Worst: 10th.
Cannot reach the play-offs and must better the Ospreys' result in order to qualify for next season's Champions Cup.