Lions back Sanele Nohamba smiling

Lions back Sanele Nohamba. Image: URC website.

URC playoffs permutations: Tale of the tape

As the race for a spot in the URC playoffs heats up, here’s what your team needs to make it to the knockout phase of the competition.

Lions back Sanele Nohamba smiling

Lions back Sanele Nohamba. Image: URC website.

With the competition now 11 rounds deep into the 2023/24 season, things are really starting to heat up in the race to make it to the URC playoffs.


It’s been an interesting campaign so far in the URC, to say the least, with very little separating many of the clubs as the competition approaches the business end of the regular season.

Just FIVE points separate fourth-placed Edinburgh and the eleventh-placed Lions with just SEVEN games left in the regular season.

Munster and Ulster Rugby are both on 34 points, the same as Edinburgh, with Connacht one point behind them, and Benetton just two points behind, making the battle for the top four just as interesting.

At the top of the table, just FOUR points separate the Bulls and the Glasgow Warriors from leaders Leinster following their respective wins in round 11.

What will it take this year?

50 points were enough to make the URC playoffs in the inaugural season, with 58 points being the magic number for the top four.

In the second season, just 48 points was enough to make the playoffs, but teams needed 63 points to make the top four and secure a home quarter-final.

What will it take this year?

An in-depth analysis of the numbers and detailed look at the probabilities, show 49 points are the magic number to make the URC playoffs in season three this year, one point more than last season and one point less than the season before that.

As for the top four, 57 points is the target for teams wanting secure that all-important home advantage.

So who’s in contention?

This is where it gets interesting, with a whopping 12 of the 16 teams still in contention for the URC playoffs. As for the top four, 11 teams can still make it, with seven games left to play.

ClubCurrent pointsPoints needed for playoffsPoints needed for top 4
Benetton Rugby324956
Cardiff Rugby2247Cannot qualify
Connacht Rugby334957
Dragons RFC11Cannot qualifyCannot qualify
Glasgow Warriors404957
Leinster Rugby444957
Munster Rugby344957
Scarlets12Cannot qualifyCannot qualify
Sharks10Cannot qualifyCannot qualify
Ulster Rugby344957
Zebre Parma14Cannot qualifyCannot qualify
Average points needed4957


It’s evident that from here on in, EVERY GAME COUNTS in the race for the URC playoffs.

There are going to be plenty more twists and turns before the URC playoffs start on 7 June, so teams have it all to play for when round 12 kicks off on 22 March.

Race heats up for URC playoffs.
The URC log after 11 rounds of action. Image: @URCOfficial via X.