12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Ballynahinch, runaway winners of Division 1B last season, will kick off their campaign in the top flight with a visit from perennial league challengers Cork Constitution the same day.
'Friday Night Lights' games have proved very popular and attracted large crowds in recent seasons - they will be a key feature again this year with Irish Rugby TV streaming live games and match highlights from Division 1A throughout the year.
In Division 1B the big question this season will be can Shannon bounce back? They open their campaign against Blackrock College while fellow Limerick club UL Bohemians, also relegated last season, will travel to newly-promoted Terenure College for their first league game.
Division 2A promises to be a hotly contested division and early season favourites Banbridge face Cashel, while fellow Ulster club Ballymena will start their campaign for promotion at home to Galwegians.
The two newest clubs in the league face interesting games during their first weekend in Division 2B with Tullamore on the road to Greystones and Richmond travelling to Boyne.