The post Christmas Magners League fixtures kick off on Friday afternoon in Wales when Newport Gwent Dragons host local rivals Cardiff Blues.
Dragons will be looking for back to back victories over Welsh Regions following their success against Ospreys, whilst Blues will be looking of a repeat of last season's result to keep them in touch with the other Welsh Regions in the table.
The same evening the first game of the two legged encounter to find out which is the top team in Scotland takes place at Murrayfield with the hosts hoping to break their record attendance for a Magners League fixture at the ground. In recent years the results have always gone with the home team on the day, and the bragging rights will not be decided until the return leg on 2 January.
The derby fixtures continue over the weekend - Saturday sees Ospreys welcome Scarlets to the Liberty Stadium where the hosts will be aiming to deny their visitors the opportunity of repeating last season's 'double' if they are to maintain their challenge on League leaders Munster. In Ireland a rejuvenated Ulster will be hoping for a long overdue victory over current Magners League champions Leinster. Only one match point separates the two Irish Provinces in the table so there is plenty at stake in this game.
The round concludes in Galway on Sunday when Connacht welcome table topping Munster to a packed Sportsground. Connacht will have to overcome nearly 30 years of history to claim victory in this fixture, but the fact that Munster have won just one of their last four games against fellow Irish teams should give them heart.
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