All roads lead to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday as Leinster and Munster clash in another eagerly-awaited interprovincial derby. Round 5 of the GUINNESS PRO12 also includes home fixtures for Connacht and Ulster on Friday night.
Round 4 of the GUINNESS PRO12 saw some memorable records set – the fastest try of the season so far; 37 seconds by Harry Robinson for Scarlets against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield, which is also the sixth fastest try of all-time in the league and the best by any Scarlets player.
Duncan Weir claimed his 500th PRO12 point with four conversions and two penalties for Glasgow in their game against Connacht, and when Bryan Byrne came on as a late replacement to join his brother Ed playing for Leinster against Cardiff Blues, they became only the second set of twins to be on the pitch at the same time in the same game – the others being Gilberto and Riccardo Pavan who appeared together for Aironi in the 2011/12 season.
The accumulative number of tries scored this season to date (115) is a record since the competition went home and away, as is the average number of tries per game – 4.79 – while attendances have increased on those recorded for the first four rounds last year.
As we enter round 5, the only two remaining teams with a 100% winning record are both away to Italian opposition, the Ospreys at Zebre on Friday night and Glasgow Warriors against Benetton Treviso on Sunday.
Both home sides have beaten their opposition in previous seasons, so there is no guarantee of points from these trips. Whichever visiting team comes away with the most league points will be placed top of the table at the end of the round.
The other two teams in the play-off places, Connacht and Ulster, both play on Friday night, but it is the Irish provinces that currently lie fifth and sixth in the table that are the biggest draw of the weekend, as Leinster host Munster at the Aviva Stadium.
Just one point separates these arch rivals, but Munster have not won in Dublin for six years and with each team having a won two, lost two record so far this season, the signs are set for an epic encounter.
The round wraps up with the all-Welsh clash of the Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons on Sunday, the hosts being in the unusual position of drawing two of the four matches they have played so far.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 5 FIXTURES:
Friday, October 3 –
CONNACHT (4th) v Cardiff Blues (10th), the Sportsground, 7.35pm (live TG4)
ULSTER (3rd) v Edinburgh (9th), Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/BBC ALBA)
Zebre (11th) v Ospreys (1st), Stadio XXV Aprile, 8.35pm local time (live BBC 2 Wales)
Saturday, October 4 –
LEINSTER (5th) v MUNSTER (6th), Aviva Stadium, 6.30pm (live Sky Sports 2 HD)
Sunday, October 5 –
Benetton Treviso (12th) v Glasgow Warriors (2nd), Stadio di Monigo, 3pm local time (live BBC 2 Scotland/Nuvolari TV)
Scarlets (7th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (8th), Parc y Scarlets, 4pm (live S4C)