Away from the battle for the play-off positions, the RaboDirect PRO12 reached a record-breaking midway point in the regular season after the conclusion of round 11.
Luciano Orquera’s perfect nine from nine penalty goals in Aironi’s 27-13 win over Benetton Treviso set a new record for an individual.
Murrayfield also saw a record RaboDirect PRO12 home crowd as Edinburgh beat the attendance set in the Scottish derby fixture three years ago, while in the same game Glasgow Warrirors became the first side to record successive draws in the history of the league.
Round 12 of the RaboDirect PRO12 is split over the New Year, with three games in 2011 and the remainder in 2012.
The round opens on Friday with the Newport Gwent Dragons welcoming the Scarlets to Rodney Parade. Meanwhile, over in Belfast, Munster are Ulster’s visitors at Ravenhill. Both home sides will be looking for a victory to create a positive end to the calendar year.
The only game on New Year’s Eve is in Italy where Aironi, having secured their first win over local rivals Benetton Treviso last time out, will be looking for a first ever season’s double over the Treviso outfit.
The Irish interpro derbies continue on New Year’s Day when table-topping Leinster, already six points clear of the second-placed Ospreys, travel west to Connacht in the hope of stretching their lead at the top of the table.
The 1872 Challenge continue in Glasgow with honours even after the first round of games between the two Scottish sides, the Warrirors will be hoping home advantage can help them earn a victory which would maintain their position in the play-off zone.
The round wraps up in Swansea where the Cardiff Blues, who sit just outside the top four but have a game in hand over their opponents, face an Ospreys side who know any slip up could see them drop down the table, with Munster just one point behind them.
RABODIRECT PRO12 – ROUND 12 FIXTURES:
Friday, December 30 –
Newport Gwent Dragons v Scarlets, Rodney Parade, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Wales)
ULSTER v MUNSTER, Ravenhill, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/RTÉ Two)
Saturday, December 31 –
Benetton Treviso v Aironi Rugby, Stadio di Monigo, 3pm local time (live RAI Sport 2)
Sunday, January 1 –
CONNACHT v LEINSTER, the Sportsground, 5pm (live TG4)
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh, Firhill Stadium, 5.35pm (live BBC ALBA)
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues, Liberty Stadium, 6.30pm (live S4C)