There is a lot more than just bragging rights on the line at Thomond Park as despite being nicely positioned in the GUINNESS PRO12 table, third-placed Munster and Connacht, in sixth, both have teams below them ready to pounce if they lose again.
Late tries from Louis Ludik and Paul Marshall secured a 36-17 bonus point victory for Ulster over the plucky Cardiff Blues, as Neil Doak's men cut Glasgow Warriors' lead at the top of the GUINNESS PRO12 to just two points.
Ulster Rugby have today confirmed that Chris Henry has been selected as a replacement for tonight's GUINNESS PRO12 game against Cardiff Blues. Henry suffered a mini-stroke in November and underwent heart surgery to repair a defect in his heart wall.
Munster head coach Anthony Foley has named a strong selection to face Connacht in round 18 of the GUINNESS PRO12 at Thomond Park on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm). Centre Denis Hurley captains a side which includes a number of returning Ireland internationals.
John Feehan, Chief Executive of PRO12 Rugby, today announced that Rhino Rugby would be continuing its sponsorship of the GUINNESS PRO12 by both supplying the official match ball and match officials' apparel and by extending its sponsorship of the Rhino Golden Boot award for another four years to 2019.
After a scintillating finish to the RBS 6 Nations Championship, there is an Irish-Scottish flavour again in this round of Guinness PRO12 games with a repeat of a final and semi-final from the last two seasons, Leinster v Glasgow Warriors.
A brace of tries from the in-form Craig Gilroy and a late score from debutant Ross Adair were not enough for Ulster as the Newport Gwent Dragons took advantage of the province's disjointed display to take a 26-22 verdict.