Despite their loss to Munster at Thomond Park last Saturday, as the New Year begins, Ulster remain clear at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table with a nine-point lead over the second-placed Scarlets whom they meet at Ravenhill on Friday.
The Ulster v Scarlets clash is just one of four games on Friday, two in Scotland and one in Wales, as the teams leave behind the festive local derbies and once more take to the road.
Edinburgh welcome Irish opposition in the form of European champions Leinster, while fourth-placed Glasgow Warriors face Benetton Treviso at Scotstoun Stadium knowing that the Italians defeated them on their last trip to the city.
The fourth game on Friday sees the other Italian outfit, Zebre, who are still looking for their first win in the league, take on defending champions the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium.
There are two games on Saturday, both in Ireland, for Connacht and Munster.
Their loss to Ospreys in the delayed round 11 game on New Year’s Eve means that the Newport Gwent Dragons missed the opportunity to overtake Saturday’s opponents, Connacht, in the table before travelling to Galway.
The round wraps up on Saturday evening in Cork where the Cardiff Blues will be hoping to improve on their away record against Munster – they have not won in the province since 2007.
RABODIRECT PRO12 – ROUND 13 FIXTURES:
Friday, January 4 –
ULSTER (1st) v Scarlets (2nd), Ravenhill, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland)
Ospreys (5th) v Zebre (12th), Liberty Stadium, 7.05pm
Glasgow Warriors (4th) v Benetton Treviso (7th), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.30pm
Edinburgh (9th) v LEINSTER (6th), Murrayfield, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)
Saturday, January 5 –
CONNACHT (10th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (11th), the Sportsground, 5pm
MUNSTER (3rd) v Cardiff Blues (8th), Musgrave Park, 7.30pm (live RTÉ Two/S4C)