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Ospreys boss Toby Booth questions URC's integrity

By Ian Cameron
Adam Beard (C), the Ospreys captain looks dejected (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Ospreys boss Toby Booth has questioned the integrity of the United Rugby Championship (URC) after stating that the staging of the final round of the competition may offer a certain sides an advantage.

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The Opsreys can potentially finish as the top Welsh side if they can claim a bonus-point win over the Bulls on Friday, May 19th. If they don’t get the bonus point victory, Scarlets will go into their Saturday, May 20th game against the Stormers knowing beforehand exactly what they need to do to finish as the top Welsh side.

Finishing as the top Welsh side will guarantee qualification for the Heineken Champions Cup, as the winner of each regional pool will qualify, followed by the next four highest-ranked teams in the main league table. Because of where the Ospreys and the Scarlets currently sit on the table [9th and 10th respectively], the second-placed Welsh side is likely to end up in the Challenge Cup instead.

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Eben Etzebeth | Rugby Roots
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Eben Etzebeth | Rugby Roots

Booth sees that as unfair, believing the final round of the games should be played simultaneously in a similar manner to the Gallagher Premiership.

“I can’t understand why it is not [all games played at the same time],” Booth said following his side’s 50-31 win over the Dragons on Sunday. “For the integrity of the competition, surely it has to be at the same time, especially when there is something tangible on it.

“I have come from the Premiership in England where all games finish at the same time [on the last day]. “I appreciate things like television picks. But even now, if there are meaningful games with big repercussions, there has to be that integrity of competition, despite the TV picks. There are enough quality games so we can fill the schedule. We will be asking the question for sure.”

“That is potentially a competitive advantage and can adjust how you approach a game. So for me that diminishes the integrity of the competition.”

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