Ulster have today announced the capture of South African international Arno Botha, who will move to Belfast following the conclusion of the 2017 Super Rugby campaign. He will join the province on a two-year deal.
Connacht have today confirmed that out-half Steve Crosbie and centre Tom Farrell have been added to the senior squad for the remainder of the 2016/17 season. Loosehead prop Peter McCabe has also joined the province on a loan deal from Munster.
The festive period was not a happy one results-wise for Connacht with successive interprovincial defeats, and they will have to produce one of their best performances of the season so far to win away to the in-form Ospreys on Saturday.
Leinster are back in front of their home fans for their second successive week, beginning the New Year by hosting Zebre, the GUINNESS PRO12's bottom side, as they look to strength their position in the top four.
Ulster have struggled for results of late, winning just two of their last six GUINNESS PRO12 matches, so getting the better of fellow play-off chasers the Scarlets would give Les Kiss' men a serious boost at the start of 2017.
Ruan Pienaar sustained a right knee injury during Ulster's GUINNESS PRO12 derby defeat to Leinster and will see a specialist this week to decide on further management. He will be unavailable for selection this week.
The Munster squad gathered in UL today in preparing for next Saturday's respective fixtures, the rescheduled Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 and the rescheduled British & Irish Cup game against Doncaster Knights.