The last round of Magners League games before the onset of European competition will see a record-breaking crowd at the Aviva Stadium to watch Leinster take on arch rivals Munster on Saturday evening.
Leinster previously held the record for the league’s biggest gate, when 48,000 spectators packed into the old Lansdowne Road to watch the ‘Last Stand’ game between Leinster and Ulster on New Year’s Eve 2006, and will better that if the game is, as expected, a sell-out.
On the pitch, table-topping Munster must begin as favourites following Leinster’s slow start to the season, but the hosts have won their last four games against the men in red, and will be anxious to continue their good record when playing at the national stadium.
In order to avoid clashing with another sporting spectacle, the Ryder Cup, Magners League round 5 kicks off with a game in Cardiff on Thursday night, the Blues hosting Connacht.
Both teams have made a good start the season, with just one loss apiece, but the Blues will be hoping to extend their perfect home record against the westerners.
Friday sees two games, Benetton Treviso against the Newport Gwent Dragons and Ulster versus Glasgow Warriors.
Treviso have made the better start of the two Italian newcomers, with a won two, lost two record to date, and will be anxious to claim another Welsh scalp in front of their enthusiastic fans, having lost to Cardiff in the last round but defeated Scarlets in the opening game.
Ulster’s perfect start to the season ended with the draw at the Sportsground on Saturday, and as the Warriors have a good track record at Ravenhill, their hosts will have to perform at their best to maintain their undefeated record.
The final two games of the round take place on Saturday, Airoini Rugby, who have not had the best of starts to their inaugural Magners League campaign, hosting Edinburgh, who themselves have only recorded one victory to date.
The Scarlets, currently sitting second in the table, welcome reigning champions, the Ospreys, to Parc y Scarlets where the hosts will be keen to overturn the Ospreys’ perfect two-out-of-two record at their new home.
Having scored 16 tries so far, narrowly missing out on their fourth bonus point last weekend, the Scarlets are showing the form to do so.
MAGNERS LEAGUE – ROUND 5 FIXTURES:
Thursday, September 30 –
Cardiff Blues v CONNACHT, Cardiff City Stadium, 7.05pm (live RTE 2/BBC 2 Wales)
Friday, October 1 –
Benetton Treviso v Newport Gwent Dragons, Stadio di Monigo, 7.05pm local time (live Dahlia TV)
ULSTER v Glasgow Warriors, Ravenhill, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/RTE 2/BBC ALBA)
Saturday, October 2 –
Aironi Rugby v Edinburgh, Stadio Zaffanella, 7.05pm local time (Dahlia TV/BBC ALBA)
LEINSTER v MUNSTER, Aviva Stadium, 7.30pm (live TG4)
Scarlets v Ospreys, Parc y Scarlets, 8.10pm (live S4C)