While the Vodacom Bulls had to rely on a last gasp try from Ruan Nortje to retain their position as South African favourites to be on a flight to Italy after next weekend's last round of the PRO14 Rainbow Cup SA, in the northern competition Glasgow Warriors, in extinguishing the last flickering hopes of pre-tournament favourites Leinster, entered the equation as possible winners as they went to the top of the log.
However, they have just a one-point advantage over second placed Benetton, who still have a game to play while Glasgow have completed their schedule.
And then there’s Munster, who are four points behind Glasgow and are definitely still in it if Benetton slip up against the Ospreys in their final game on Saturday.
Even a losing bonus point won’t be enough for Benetton to secure the highly coveted place in the final on their home ground as Munster do have a superior points difference, as they also do in comparison to Glasgow.
Munster, who didn’t play this past weekend, will fancy their chances of beating Zebre when they visit Italy on the final weekend of league competition, and could well do it with a bonus point too.
But even if they do what their South African coach Johann van Graan will want them to do against Zebre on Friday, they will then have an anxious wait to find out what happens between Benetton and Ospreys. If Benetton win, they go through to the final no matter what Munster do against their countrymen.
Van Graan’s players thus don’t have their fate in their hands like the players from his former team do in the South African section. The Vodacom Bulls moved into prime position with their win over their arch-rivals from Cape Town on Friday night, but the Cell C Sharks threw a potential spanner in the works with their bonus point win in Johannesburg a day later.
Had the KwaZulu-Natalians lost the game, the Vodacom Bulls would have been through to the final and they could have sent an understrength team to Durban next week for their final game against the Cell C Sharks.
Instead, they will have to do what DHL Stormers coach John Dobson often refers to as "The Full Metal Jacket" as the Cell C Sharks can now still pip them to top spot on the log if they win with a bonus point while denying the Vodacom Bulls any log points.
The table topping Warriors will be mightily proud of their win over Leinster, who have had a sorry Rainbow Cup campaign compared to what might have been expected, with their win being sealed by a penalty from Ross Thompson.
Before that, Leinster looked like they were chugging to victory at Scotstoun in Glasgow, but a silky Adam Hastings put Kyle Steyn in for the Warriors’ second try to draw the teams level at 12-all and they were in an inspired mood after that.
In the other match that mattered in terms of who tops the final log, the Ospreys had their dreams of making the Treviso decider ended by Connacht in Galway.
A free-scoring 48-minute first half ended with Connacht seven points clear, thanks to tries from Shane Delahunt, Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane and Peter Sullivan.
Ospreys recovered from captain Rhys Webb’s sin-binning to cross three times - twice through hooker Sam Parry - and their scrumming pressure also forced the referee to bin Connacht prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy.
But there were no further scores after the break as Ospreys fell out of title contention and Connacht ended their campaign on a positive note.
In Edinburgh there was nothing but pride riding on the repeat of the 2019/2020 Guinness PRO14 semi-final at the same Murrayfield venue but it nonetheless provided an exciting game and an almost identical finish to that memorable play-off game less than a year ago.
Once again it was Ulster who won at the death, once again it was through a penalty kick, but before that the two teams shared 10 tries between them as they provided proof of the watchability of summer rugby in the UK.
Weekend results - Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup
Glasgow Warriors 15 Leinster 12
Edinburgh 31 Ulster 34
Cardiff 37 Zebre 12
Connacht 26 Ospreys 19