Questions over PRO14 conference draw as Ulster join both Leinster and Glasgow
Ulster will swap sides of the Guinness PRO14 next season, moving from Conference B to Conference A.
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The existing structures had been in place for the past two seasons, ever since two South African sides, the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs, were added in the summer of 2017.
The plan had always been to redraw the split dependent on the past season's performance, although there are some early misgivings about its application.
Leinster, for example, have been cast as Ireland's second seed despite being crowned champions last season, an oddity produced by the fact that semi-finalists Munster banked more points during the league campaign.
As such, Leinster and Glasgow - last season's two best sides - are in the same side of the split. Ulster will be alongside them, as will Welsh pair Ospreys and Dragons, as well as Zebre and Cheetahs.
Leinster win the Pro14, but because they qualified for a home semi-final stupidly early and played a reserve side, finished with fewer points than Munster in the regular season, so they get ranked #2 in Ireland, and put in Glasgow's conference. Thanks a bloody lot https://t.co/UVFr9AQFii— Michael Randall (@Derblin_Randall) June 17, 2019
Dan McFarland's men had to finish ahead of the likes of Scarlets and Edinburgh last season to book their Champions Cup spot for 2019-20, but figure to find themselves in a more top-heavy set this time around. This makes a home PRO14 semi-final seem a tall order while concurrently easing the path to qualification for the top tier of Europe.
Teams play fellow conference sides twice and the others once.
PRO14 Conferences 19/20
Glasgow Warriors (SCO 1)
Leinster Rugby (IRE 2)
Ulster Rugby (IRE 3)
Ospreys Rugby (WAL 1)
Dragons Rugby (WAL 4)
Zebre Rugby Club (ITA 2)
Toyota Cheetahs (SA 1)
Edinburgh Rugby (SCO 2)
Munster Rugby (IRE 1)
Connacht Rugby (IRE 4)
Cardiff Blues (WAL 2)
Scarlets (WAL 3)
Benetton Rugby (ITA 1)
Isuzu Southern Kings (SA 2)