With all three Celtic nations in Test action over the next three weeks, Round 9 of the Magners League is spread out between this weekend and November 25, starting with three matches this Friday.
Leaders Ulster have a free week so the chasing pack will be looking forthe opportunity to close the gap at the top of the table. The second-placedLlanelli Scarlets travel to Border Reivers on Friday night knowing thata big maximum point win could take them above Ulster and into top spot- and the omens are good for the Welsh region.
The Reivers are rooted tothe foot of the table with only one win in the league this season,while the Scarlets have never lost to the Scots in their eightprevious meetings.
Leinster, who moved into third place after their bonus point win over the Dragonslast weekend, will be hoping to further close in on the table-toppers when theGlasgow Warriors travel to Donnybrook, also on Friday. The province have now racked up 11 consecutive home wins while Glasgowhave a very poor away form and are without a win on the road since lastFebruary.
Friday's third game sees two sides - Newport Gwent Dragons andEdinburgh, who will be smarting from defeat last weekend, meet atRodney Parade. The Scots will be looking to get back in touch with thetop two, and have a good recent record against the Dragons - winning