The last round of the RaboDirect PRO12 before the start of the Six Nations opens on Friday night at Rodney Parade where the second-placed Ospreys will be looking to consolidate their play-off place with a derby victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Ospreys, however, have only won once at the venue since the Welsh regions were formed in 2003.
Also on Friday night Edinburgh welcome Ulster to Murrayfield, a ground where the hosts are building a good home record. Ulster, on the other hand, are finding it difficult to gather points on the road this season.
The remaining fixtures all take place on Saturday, starting with Aironi’s game against Connacht in Viadana. If the Italian outfit are to improve on last season’s final standing, a repeat of their previous victory in this fixture could see them move off the bottom of the table, other results permitting.
There are two games in Wales on Saturday, the Cardiff Blues hosting table-topping Leinster and Glasgow Warriors visit the Scarlets.
The Warriors, along with Munster, were the only two teams who changed places in the table after the last round, the Glasgow outfit’s victory over Edinburgh lifting them above the Munstermen in the play-off zone.
Fifth-placed Cardiff still have a game in hand over their nearest rivals, but any slip-up to the leaders could see the gap between themselves and the top four widen, something the Blues will hope to avoid going into the break.
Finally Munster, looking to bounce back from their defeat in Ulster, welcome Benetton Treviso to Thomond Park. The Italian side may have won three of their last four matches away from home, but face formidable opposition both on and off the pitch in Limerick.
RABODIRECT PRO12 – ROUND 13 FIXTURES:
Friday, January 6 –
Newport Gwent Dragons v Ospreys, Rodney Parade, 7.05pm (BBC 2 Wales)
Edinburgh v ULSTER, Murrayfield, 7.30pm
Saturday, January 7 –
Aironi Rugby v CONNACHT, Stadio Zaffanella, 4.35pm local time/3.35pm Irish time (TG4/Rai Sport 1)
Cardiff Blues v LEINSTER, Cardiff City Stadium, 6.15pm (live TG4/S4C)
Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors, Parc y Scarlets, 6.15pm
MUNSTER v Benetton Treviso, Thomond Park, 8.15pm (RTÉ Two)