In contrast to Ulster and Connacht (Celtic Cup semi-finalists), Munster and Leinster are not enjoying the best of starts to this current season and whatever about Leinster's chances of halting the slide in Wales, Munster face a formidable task, despite home advantage, against a northern side who are beginning to hit their stride. They. like Connacht, showed admirable character to edge into the penultimate stage of the Celtic Cup and will feel they have a score to settle with their southern cousins after that Celtic League semi-final defeat last season in Thomond Park.
Fresh from that superb win in Stradey Park last weekend Connacht are boosted by the return from injury of Eric Elwood and Wayne Munn to a side side who deserve to attract a big audience to the Sportsground for their game on Saturday against The Borders.
Connacht (v The Borders, Sportsground, Saturday, 2.30pm)
Meanwhile, Ulster coach Alan Solomons makes two changes from the side that defeated Leinster last week in the Celtic Cup for Friday's visit to Musgrave Park. Seamus Mallon starts at outside centre in place of Ryan Constable while prop Rod Moore, who has just returned from Australia, starts with Bryan Young moving to the bench.
Ulster: B Cunningham: S Young, S Mallon, S Stewart, T Howe; A Larkin, K Campbell; R McCormack, P Shields, R Moore; M Mustchin, M McCullough; A Ward,capt N Best, T McWhirterReplacements: N Brady, B Young, R Frost, R Wilson, R Spee, R Constable, J Topping