The GUINNESS PRO12 began last weekend with a scintillating opening round which saw more tries scored than ever before (33), the second highest ever draw in the competition (Scarlets 32 Ulster 32), and increased attendances at all games resulting in an overall improvement of almost 20% compared to the gates for round 1 last year.
Friday night rugby returns in force to the GUINNESS PRO12 in round 2, with no fewer than four games at the start of the weekend.
Both Italian teams are in action, Zebre travelling to Belfast to play Ulster and Benetton Treviso welcoming Munster to Italy.
Both Irish provinces will be looking for their first win of the new season, although Ulster came away with a three-point haul from their four try, 32-all draw at Parc y Scarlets last weekend.
Two of the five teams that gained a victory in the first round go head to head also on Friday night, so one of their perfect starts will have to go when Edinburgh host Connacht at BT Murrayfield.
The final game on Friday night pits two Welsh regions against each other, the Newport Gwent Dragons welcoming the table-topping Ospreys to Rodney Parade – a ground they last won at in the PRO12 on New Year’s Eve 2012.
Defending champions Leinster are in action against the Scarlets at the RDS on Saturday and will be hoping to avoid a repeat of their start to the 2003/04 season which saw them chalk up two opening defeats.
The round wraps up in Wales on Sunday when two more teams that won their opening games come face to face, Cardiff Blues and Glasgow Warriors.
The Blues sit second in the table thanks to claiming five tries in their 41-26 defeat over Zebre, while Glasgow needed a last-gasp penalty to give them the four points against Leinster.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 2 FIXTURES:
Friday, September 12 –
Edinburgh (5th) v CONNACHT (3rd), BT Murrayfield, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC ALBA)
Newport Gwent Dragons (10th) v Ospreys (1st), Rodney Parade, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Wales)
ULSTER (7th) v Zebre (11th), Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland)
Benetton Treviso (12th) v MUNSTER (8th), Stadio di Monigo, 8pm local time/7pm Irish time
Saturday, September 13 –
LEINSTER (9th) v Scarlets (6th), the RDS, 2.40pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)
Sunday, September 14 –
Cardiff Blues (2nd) v Glasgow Warriors (4th), BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 4pm (live S4C/BBC ALBA)