Round 2 of the RaboDirect PRO12 sees the introduction of two new grounds into the competition, and the return of an old favourite.
Tournament newcomers Zebre play their first home game at the Stadio XXV Aprile in Parma when Connacht are the visitors on Friday. Both teams are looking for their first victory this season, and the hosts will be hoping to improve on their opening performance.
The second new ground will be Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, the new home of Glasgow Warriors. The stadium has already played host to the IRB World Sevens Series in May, and will feature in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Friday night sees Warriors take on the Scarlets, who do not boast a very good record in Scotland, in the first ever RaboDirect PRO12 game at the ground.
In a battle of the capital cities, Edinburgh also face Welsh opposition on Friday night, but this time in the Principality as they travel to Cardiff to take on a Blues team who have returned to their spiritual home at Cardiff Arms Park, a venue where they won both home games played there last season.
In the final fixture on Friday Benetton Treviso face Munster in one of the most iconic of RaboDirect PRO12 stadia, Thomond Park.
Treviso may have beaten Munster last season, but not on their own patch, and face a tough task if they wish to come away from Limerick with the points. However, the Italians did lower the colours of the reigning champions, the Ospreys, in last week’s opening round.
The round wraps up with two games on Saturday, both Irish-Welsh affairs. Leinster host the table-topping Newport Gwent Dragons, and must be hoping they can maintain their impressive unbeaten home run against the visitors.
Ulster, meanwhile, travel to the Liberty Stadium to take on the Ospreys. The Ulstermen have not won at the Swansea venue since 2009.
RABODIRECT PRO12 – ROUND 2 FIXTURES:
Friday, September 7 –
Cardiff Blues (6th) v Edinburgh (8th), Cardiff Arms Park, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Wales)
Zebre (12th) v CONNACHT (7th), Stadio XXV Aprile, 7.05pm local time/6.05pm Irish time (live TG4/Sport Italia)
Glasgow Warriors (10th) v Scarlets (2nd), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC ALBA)
MUNSTER (5th) v Benetton Treviso (4th), Thomond Park, 8pm (live TG4)
Saturday, September 8 –
LEINSTER (11th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (1st), the RDS, 6.15pm (live RTÉ Two)
Ospreys (9th) v ULSTER (3rd), Liberty Stadium, 6.30pm (live S4C)