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Leinster could be parachuted into home final

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile

Dublin could host a unique summer Guinness PRO14 final as competition organisers contemplate a proposed sprint finish to complete the Covid-19 compromised campaign.

Leinster and Edinburgh, currently leaders of their respective conferences in the competition's convoluted qualification system, could be awarded automatic places in a final under one of several proposals being discussed.

And, due to Leinster's hitherto unbeaten campaign and superior record to their Scottish rivals, it may be a possibility that they could also earn the reward of a Dublin final.

The league are eager to avoid declaring the campaign null and void and are working on a number of outcomes and a straight shoot-out between Leinster and Edinburgh is being mooted according to several media outlets in England.

However, with all competitions suspended and little prospect of an immediate return to action, a proposed final is unlikely to take place soon.

World Rugby and their constituent Unions have already met to discuss the forthcoming summer tours which, although nominally still in situ, will be imminently cancelled once contractual obligations are addressed.

The PRO14 was postponed on March 6 before being suspended 13 days later, while the proposed Grand Final in Cardiff on June 20 was also cancelled.

There are still eight rounds to be completed and complicating any attempts at a truncated finish to the tournament will be the issue of European qualification, as the difference between Champions Cup and Challenge Cup is hugely significant, especially for clubs emerging from this period of financial hardship.

As it stands, Dragons and Connacht would need to play off for a Champions Cup spot so it is conceivable that a double header might be required.

However, the protracted nature of the organisers' attempts to satisfactorily conclude the season mirror the difficulties faced by other sports, especially in the professional environment.

While Leinster are 20 points clear in their conference and their claims to finish top are undisputed, Edinburgh are merely two points ahead of Munster with eight games left - including a fixture that would have pitted them against each other.

Munster are just one of several clubs who may justifiably argue that their opportunity to challenge for the title cannot be decided in such a summary fashion.