Connacht’s victory over Benetton Treviso last time out and the loss of the Scarlets’ 100% record saw Pat Lam’s men take over top spot in the GUINNES PRO12 table – a position the province had not held, after a full round of games, since the start of 2010/11 season.
With almost one third of the season gone, fans are already seeing more tries – the 186 scored to date are the most tallied by this stage since the GUINNESS PRO12 went home and away.
The results are also getting closer, as 22 of the games played so far, including four out of six in the last round, have ended up with a losing bonus point – the best ever recorded at this stage of the season.
Connacht top not only the PRO12 table but after a disrupted couple of rounds of European rugby, also lead their pool in the Challenge Cup having completed both of their fixtures.
Fellow provinces Ulster and Munster, however, along with Glasgow Warriors found their Champions Cup games against French opposition called off following the tragic events in Paris. The Ospreys are the best placed PRO12 team in the Champions Cup, leading the way in pool 4.
Round 8 of the PRO12 pits the two top teams against each other on Saturday evening when Munster host Connacht at Thomond Park, while fourth-placed Leinster and UIster, in fifth, meet at the RDS the night before.
With only one point separating each pairing coupled with the fact that the third and sixth-placed teams, the Scarlets and Glasgow Warriors, both face Italian opposition, there could be significant changes in the play-off zone comes the end of the round.
The round begins with two other sides who also top their Challenge Cup pools, Edinburgh and the Newport Gwent Dragons, facing each other at BT Murrayfield
The GUINNESS PRO12 final will take place at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Saturday, May 28. See www.pro12rugby.com for ticket details.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 8 FIXTURES:
Friday, November 27:
LEINSTER (4th) v ULSTER (5th), the RDS, 7.35pm (live TG4/BBC 2 Northern Ireland)
Edinburgh (7th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (9th), BT Murrayfield, 7.35pm (live BBC Sport Scotland/BBC 2 Wales)
Glasgow Warriors (6th) v Benetton Treviso (12th), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm
Saturday, November 28:
Ospreys (8th) v Cardiff Blues (11th), Liberty Stadium, 3pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)
MUNSTER (2nd) v CONNACHT (1st), Thomond Park, 5.15pm (live Sky Sports 4 HD)
Sunday, November 29:
Scarlets (3rd) v Zebre (10th), Parc y Scarlets, 2.30pm (live S4C)