After the excitement of the RBS Six Nations last weekend, attention in Ireland, Scotland and Wales switches back to the Magners League this week with two intriguing top-versus-bottom clashes on Friday night – including Leinster’s trip to Connacht.
Leaders Leinster travel west to Connacht looking to increase their six-game winning streak and at least maintain their six-point lead at the top. In contrast Connacht, who have won their last two games at home, will be hoping to keep in touch with Ulster in the battle for the third Irish Heineken Cup qualifying place.
In the other game in Ireland on Friday night, both Ulster and Llanelli Scarlets will be looking to capitalise on the result in Galway.
Should Leinster slip up, the second-placed Scarlets could close the gap at the top with a win at Ravenhill, which would be their fifth in a row against the Irish province.
For their part, a second win under Matt Williams could see Ulster put more space between themselves and Connacht at the bottom – depending on how things go in the west.
Elsewhere on Friday night, the Ospreys are up against Glasgow Warriors at Firhill, with the hosts looking for their first league win since November – a run that has seen them drop to eighth place, while the Welsh region will be looking for their first away league win of the season.
Friday’s schedule is completed at Rodney Parade where the Newport Gwent Dragons host Edinburgh, who are looking for a second win in the Principality this season, following their victory at Cardiff last month.
A win for the Scots and defeat for the Scarlets in Belfast could see Edinburgh up to second place – at least until Saturday evening when the league’s third and fourth-placed teams meet at the Arms Park.
Cardiff Blues will be looking for a fourth straight Magners League win over Munster, although the Irish side will have the carrot of a fourth win over Welsh opposition this season.
MAGNERS LEAGUE – ROUND 12 FIXTURES:
Friday, February 29 –
CONNACHT v LEINSTER, The Sportsground, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports 2)
Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys, Firhill Arena, 7.30pm
Newport Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh, Rodney Parade, 7.10pm
ULSTER v Llanelli Scarlets, Ravenhill, 7.30pm (live Setanta Sports Ireland)
Saturday, March 1 –
Cardiff Blues v MUNSTER, Arms Park, 5.30pm (live Setanta Sports 2/S4C)