Round 15 of the Magners League opens on Friday night with two games in Ireland, the first an intriguing battle between Connacht and Glasgow Warriors.
Should Connacht manage to complete a first ever season’s double over Glasgow, they will leapfrog above them in the Magners League table, as both sides have currently amassed 21 points.
Munster are also in action on Friday when they welcome Edinburgh to Thomond Park. Despite the league leaders tripping up in Italy last weekend, they still have a seven-point lead over their nearest rivals and are a comfortable 11 points clear of the cut-off for the play-off zone.
The final game on Friday night pits the fourth-placed Scarlets against Ulster, who remain in sixth position. The Scarlets dropped two places in the table after their loss to Connacht last time out, so will be looking for match points to maintain their top four spot.
On Saturday Benetton Treviso host the Ospreys at Stadio di Monigo. After defeating table toppers Munster at the ground last weekend, victory over the defending champions would certainly add to the home team’s impressive first season in the league.
The Ospreys have slipped out of the top four in the last couple of rounds, and need to make the play-offs to have any chance of retaining their title.
Also on Saturday, it is second plays third when Leinster travel to Wales to face the Cardiff Blues. Leinster have maintained a steady progression up the table since round 4, and now hold a coveted home semi-final spot.
However their opponents, Cardiff, have a game in hand and are only two points adrift of second place.
The round wraps up in Italy on Sunday with the Newport Gwent Dragons facing Aironi. The Italian outfit are still looking for their first victory in the competition, and nearly pulled off a shock win over Leinster in Dublin last time out.
The Dragons have not won on the road for 15 months, so will have to be on their guard not to slip up on this trip.
MAGNERS LEAGUE – ROUND 15 FIXTURES:
Friday, February 18 –
CONNACHT v Glasgow Warriors, the Sportsground, 7pm
MUNSTER v Edinburgh, Thomond Park, 7.50pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)
Scarlets v ULSTER, Parc y Scarlets, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/BBC Wales)
Saturday, February 19 –
Benetton Treviso v Ospreys, Stadio di Monigo, 5.30pm local time
Cardiff Blues v LEINSTER, Cardiff City Stadium, 6.30pm (live RTE 2/S4C)
Sunday, February 20 –
Aironi Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons, Stadio Zaffanella, 5.30pm local time