Munster earned the right to host the Magners League Grand Final at their home venue after finishing as the top team in the regular season and then beating the Ospreys 18-11 in their Play-Off at Thomond Park.
Their opponents, Leinster, saw off the inter-provincial challenge of Ulster with a 18-3 victory in the Play-Off at the RDS to claim their second consecutive appearance in the Grand Final.
Despite the Munster’s impressive record in the Magners League this season, winning the title is not a forgone conclusion – the inaugural Magners League Grand Final was won by the second seeds, Ospreys, and when you include the English and French tournaments which have long been decided in this manner, in 15 previous finals the top seed has won just six.
Add to that mix the fact that Leinster will be looking to create a unique Celtic double of winning both the European and domestic titles for the first time, and the age old rivalry that an Irish interprovincial match always brings out, there is all to play for at a sold-out Thomond Park on Saturday.
Munster topped the Magners League table ever since round two and disposed of Ospreys in the Play-Offs. The Munstermen are chasing a third league title following their successes in 2003 and 2009. Munster have won their last nine Magners League encounters and another victory will leave only Leinster with a better winning run in league history, when they won their first eleven matches in 2001-2002. Munster have won all 12 home games they have played in the Magners League this campaign.
Leinster, the new European Champions, are now seeking a league and European Cup double, a first for a Celtic team and something that has only been achieved on four previous occasions (by Toulouse, Leicester – twice and Wasps). The Leinstermen have been league champions twice before (in 2001 and 2008) and have won their last seven matches in all competitions.
Munster’s 24-23 victory over Leinster at Thomond Park in April ended a five game losing run against their great rivals. Leinster’s only victory in Limerick since 1995 was 16-15 in the Magners League on 2 April 2010.
At Thomond Park, 5.05pm.
Live on RTE Sport, BBC Alba, TG4 and BBC Wales
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 75th League game). Assistant Referees: Tim Hayes, David Jones (both WRU) 4th & 5th Assistants: Alan Rogan, Trevor Collins (both IRFU). TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (WRU) Citing Commissioner: Eddie Walsh (IRFU)
WHAT HAPPENS IN CASE OF A TIE?
If the match is tied after normal Time (regardless of the number of tries scored) then extra time will be played. Extra time consists of two period of 10 minutes. If the match is still tied after extra time then the following rules will
be applied to determine a winner:
1. The team that has scored the most tries throughout the match (normal time and extra time) will be declared the winner.
2. If the teams are tied on number of tries scored then a Kicking Competition will decide the winner.
Place Kicking Competition
The only players that can take part are those remaining on the pitch at the end of extra time. Each team will nominate three kickers. There will be six different kicking positions, each kicker taking two kicks. The six positions will be:
22 metre line – centre (1), right 15 metre (2), left 15 metre (3) 10 metre line – centre (4), right 15 metre (5), left 15 metre (6). Kicker 1 – Positions 1 and 4 Kicker 2 – Positions 2 and 5
Kicker 3 – Positions 3 and 6 The referee shall declare the winner to be the team that has kicked the most goals from six kicks. If the scores are tied, the competition will continue on a ‘sudden death’ basis, with all kickers shooting from Position 4 (centre 10 metre line) in their numerical order.