Sunday, 18 April 2010

There's Method In The Magners (league)

For the first time in its history,the Magners League will be decided via a play-off. This change has given many games an extra dimension that they lacked before, making for a more exciting, competitive league.

Having taken a leaf out of the Guinness Premierships book and introduced a play-off to decide the eventual Champions, it has made the final third of the season far more interesting. 

Instead of Leinster all but being crowned Champions after their 20-16 victory over second placed Ospreys, the season is far from over for many clubs. 

Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues and the Dragons all still have a chance of catching up with Munster and Glasgow, who currently sit in the final two play-off spots. 

The teams currently occupying the top four positions will be hoping to maintain them and win themselves a chance to become Champions. 

The greater competition from the play-off's is what many fans have said the Magners League has lacked. In previous seasons it may have been a two or three horse race for the championship, with all the other teams having nothing to play for towards the end of the season, especially with the safety of no relegation.

There is also an extra twist for Welsh clubs as the Heineken Cup has only allowed three teams from Wales to qualify via the league route. Meaning that every Welsh team is fighting to avoid being the 4th placed side. Which was epitomised in Cardiff's second half comeback against Llanelli Scarlets. This has led to the Scarlets having a very slim chance of qualifying for next seasons Heineken Cup, having to rely upon the Blues to win the Amlin Challenge Cup.  

I hope that the play-off's work well in the Magners League and improves the competition between clubs. Which in turn should lead to greater attendances and media coverage to the league which unfortunately plays second fiddle to the Guniess Premiership in terms of competitiveness, despite its riches in talent.