18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The Cardiff Blues travel to Edinburgh aware that their loss last weekend to Ulster saw them drop three places in the standings.
The Blues will be keen not to slip up again as they are now in fifth place, one point off the play-off zone but with a game in hand over the four teams above them.
Benetton Treviso, who have been consistently placed mid-table in their inaugural season in the competition, travel for the first time to Connacht.
Should Connacht's run of home successes continue, they could overtake their Italians visitors in the table as just two points separate the sides at present.
The final game on Friday night is another Irish-Italian affair with Ulster hosting Aironi. Ulster have been in sixth place since round 11, even with their impressive victory over the Blues last weekend.
However, should other results go their way this weekend, a victory on Friday night could see Brian McLaughlin's men regain a play-off spot.
The round concludes with two games on Saturday - the Ospreys against Glasgow Warriors and Munster are entertaining the Newport Gwent Dragons.
Last weekend's bonus point triumph over Connacht saw the Ospreys return to second in the table. League leaders Munster have a nine-point cushion between themselves and their nearest rivals.
Victory for both home sides would raise their expectations of hosting a home semi-final. With just five complete rounds to play out after the conclusion of this weekend's fixtures, the battle for the top-four places is definitely hotting up.
MAGNERS LEAGUE - ROUND 17 FIXTURES:
Friday, March 4 -
CONNACHT v Benetton Treviso, the Sportsground, 7pm
ULSTER v Aironi Rugby, Ravenhill, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland)
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues, Murrayfield, 7.30pm
LEINSTER v Scarlets, the RDS, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC Wales)
Saturday, March 5 -
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors, Liberty Stadium, 5.30pm (live S4C/BBC ALBA)
MUNSTER v Newport Gwent Dragons, Musgrave Park, 7.30pm (live RTE 2/S4C)