Newport Gwent Dragons have qualified for the 24th place play-off for next season's Heineken Cup as the highest placed team in the Magners League that has not automatically qualified for next season's European tournament. They will compete against the best placed Italian non-qualifier at Rodney Parade on Friday 18th May with the game kicking off at 7.45pm in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The match will be refereed by English official Rob Debney.
The Dragons have completed their Magners League programme, finishing in ninth place on 39 points, 13 points clear of tenth placed Connacht who have one fixture remaining. It will be the second successive season that the Dragons have been involved in the 24th place play-off, failing to qualify for the current Heineken Cup tournament after being beaten 24-15 by Overmach Rugby Parma at Rodney Parade.
Their Italian opposition this time will be confirmed after the second leg Super 10 semi-final matches on Saturday. The first leg results last weekend were:
Petrarca Rugby 20 Benetton Treviso 18
Rugby Calvisano 19 Viadana 10
As the finishing positions in the regular season will determine which of the losing semi-finalists will face the Dragons, the Italian play-off spot will be filled by either Benetton Treviso, Viadana or Calvisano. The winners of the Super 10 semi-finals will secure the two automatic Heineken Cup spots from Italy.
The finishing positions in the Super 10 (with match points earned in brackets) were:
1 - Benetton Treviso (67)
2 - Viadana (62)
3 - Rugby Calvisano (59)
4 - Petrarca Rugby (58)
The play-off will kick off a bumper weekend of European club rugby action which also sees ASM Clermont Auvergne and Bath Rugby clash in the European Challenge Cup Final at the Twickenham Stoop (5.30pm) on Saturday 19th May 2007 with the Heineken Cup Final between Leicester Tigers and London Wasps taking place at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 20th May 2007 (2.30pm).