With just five full rounds of the GUINNESS PRO12 left to go for most teams, all eyes will now be on the run-in to the play-offs and there are some great derby games coming up.
The highlight this weekend must be the clash at the Sportsground on Saturday between the top two teams – Connacht and Leinster, the winners assured to go top of the table.
That game will be matched in intensity the previous evening when reigning champions Glasgow Warriors host fourth-placed Ulster, with an eye on the prize of a place in the play-off zone.
Connacht and Leinster have perhaps the toughest run-in of all the teams with each having to play all three of their fellow Irish provinces before the end of the season. Leinster’s clash against Munster at the Aviva Stadium on, April 2 is already attracting ticket sales of over 35,000.
In Wales, for the Ospreys to maintain a challenge for top tier European qualification next season they must overcome the Scarlets on Saturday. With Cardiff Blues hosting Benetton Treviso in this round as well, a win for both home sides could set up a tense finale to the end of the season.
The match at the Liberty Stadium sets off a run of six Welsh derby encounters in a row culminating in Judgement Day IV at the Principality Stadium on April 30, for which over 40,000 tickets have already been sold.
With just 25 possible league points remaining on offer for most teams, there certainly are no ‘easy games’ left in the GUINNESS PRO12 this season as the players raise the bar in a final push to remain in with a chance to lift the silverware on May 28.
The PRO12 final will take place at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh on Saturday, May 28. See www.pro12rugby.com for ticket details.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 18 FIXTURES:
Friday, March 25 –
MUNSTER (5th) v Zebre (11th), Thomond Park, 7pm (live TG4)
Cardiff Blues (9th) v Benetton Treviso (12th), BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 7.05pm (live BBC 2 Wales)
Glasgow Warriors (6th) v ULSTER (4th), Scotstoun Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/BBC ALBA)
Saturday, March 26 –
Ospreys (8th) v Scarlets (3rd), Liberty Stadium, 3pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)
CONNACHT (1st) v LEINSTER (2nd), the Sportsground, 5.15pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD/TG4)
Sunday, March 27 –
Newport Gwent Dragons (10th) v Edinburgh (7th), Rodney Parade, 2.30pm (live S4C/BBC ALBA)