Despite the appalling weather conditions in some regions, which saw the second leg of the 1872 Cup switched from a waterlogged Scotstoun Stadium to BT Murrayfield, the GUINNESS PRO12 still attracted sell-out crowds to the New Year derby fixtures.
While Edinburgh and Zebre managed to complete the season’s double over their fellow countrymen, three further games were so close that less than a score separated the teams.
The Scarlets held onto their lead at the top of the GUINNESS PRO12 table over the festive period, but Leinster are now just one point behind with a game in hand. Edinburgh moved back into a play-off spot courtesy of the eight points they took off their fiercest rivals, Glasgow Warriors.
With three PRO12 fixtures postponed this weekend to accommodate the rearrangement of European Champions Cup fixtures, the pick of this round might be the game at Liberty Stadium between the Ospreys and Leinster.
These are the two best teams in the PRO12 on current form, the Ospreys taking 22 and Leinster 25 league points from their last six matches, propelling Leo Cullen’s men to second in the table in the process.
Alternatively, looking at the PRO12 standings, the highlight would be the first versus third clash on Sunday between the Scarlets and Connacht. Neither enjoyed much success over the festive period, but the winners of this game could be the league leaders at the end of this abbreviated round.
Kicking off the action on Friday night, Edinburgh must be hoping to continue the success they experienced in their last three games in the capital, this time welcoming Benetton Treviso to BT Murrayfield, but the Italians have won at the venue before – in October 2012.
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 12 FIXTURES:
Friday, January 8 –
Edinburgh (4th) v Benetton Treviso (12th), BT Murrayfield, 7.30pm
Ospreys (7th) v LEINSTER (2nd), Liberty Stadium, 7.45pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD/BBC 2 Wales)
Sunday, January 10 –
Scarlets (1st) v CONNACHT (3rd), Parc y Scarlets, 2.30pm (live TG4/S4C)
Cardiff Blues (9th) v MUNSTER (5th) (Postponed)
Zebre (10th) v Glasgow Warriors (8th) (Postponed)
ULSTER (6th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (11th) (Postponed – now on Friday, February 5, 7.35pm at Kingspan Stadium)