It is now full steam ahead in the Guinness PRO14 with complete rounds of matches scheduled between now and the end of March.
Bar a couple of re-arranged fixtures, the 12 teams now know what awaits them as the battle to reach the final and secure European places continues. Champions Leinster, bidding for a fourth successive title, and nearest rivals Ulster both have away games on Friday night with Leo Cullen’s men sitting four points ahead in Conference A. Munster, who won the last of their three titles in 2011, are in a more dominant position in Conference B, having a 10-point advantage over Connacht.
The battle below them for European places is proving even more exciting.
While Ospreys are 12 and 13 points clear of Glasgow Warriors and Dragons respectively, the chasing duo have a game in hand in Conference A. In Conference B, a single point separates third-placed Cardiff Blues from Scarlets in fourth. Edinburgh sit seven points behind the Blues, who have played two games more, so that fight could well go down to the wire with the two teams clashing in a potential blockbuster of a match in the final round!
FRI - Dragons v Leinster
Rodney Parade, Newport | KO 19:35 UK | Live on Premier Sports 2, eir Sport 1, TG4, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv.
Champions Leinster will hope to be on cloud nine at the full-time whistle as they continue their quest for a fourth successive PRO14 title.Leo Cullen’s men hold a four-point advantage over Ulster at the top of Conference A with five rounds remaining and have won their previous eight meetings with the Dragons.
Leinster’s home defeat by Connacht on January 2 remains their sole loss in all competitions since last September. Dragons, on the other hand, are on a four-game losing streak in the competition which has seen them fall 13 points adrift of the top three, albeit with a game in hand.
FRI - Glasgow v Ulster
Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow | KO 19:35 UK | Live on Premier Sports 1, eir Sport 2, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv.
Ulster know they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to knock Leinster off top spot. Their loss to the champions last time out ended a run of 10 successive wins in the PRO14 this season and left them four points behind.
Glasgow will be hoping to achieve something they have failed to do in the competition for almost a year - win back-to-back matches.The Warriors have won their last two meetings with Ulster at this venue and still have designs on securing a top-three spot, with them 12 points behind Ospreys with a game in hand.
SAT - Scarlets v Benetton
Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli | KO 15:00 UK | Live on Premier Sports 2 eir Sport 1, DAZN, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv| Deferred: Sunday 15:40 S4C
Scarlets could end the weekend in the top three of Conference B should they return to winning ways against their winless opponents. The West Walians have suffered three consecutive defeats which has seen Cardiff Blues move one point ahead of them in the standings.
Not since 2016 have Scarlets lost four in a row in the competition. Benetton sit bottom of the conference having been defeated in all 10 matches, with just five bonus points to show for their efforts. They last triumphed at this venue in the 2012/13 season.
SAT - Ospreys v Zebre
Liberty Stadium, Swansea | KO 17:15 UK | Live on eir Sport 1, Premier Sports 2, S4C, DAZN, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv.
Ospreys will aim to consolidate third place in Conference A when Zebre are the visitors. Toby Booth’s side hold a 12-point lead over Glasgow, albeit having played a game more, but have only been beaten once in five games in the PRO14 - a narrow reverse to Scarlets in Round 9.
Zebre saw their four-game unbeaten run in all competitions come to a halt when they went down 26-10 at home to Edinburgh last month.The Italians are aiming to do the double over the Welsh side for the first time, having triumphed 23-17 in Parma in November.
SAT - Connacht v Cardiff
Sportsground, Galway | KO 19:35 UK | Live on TG4, Premier Sports 2, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv| Deferred: Monday 22:00 S4C
While Connacht will be looking to eat into Munster’s 10-point lead at the top of Conference B, they also know defeat to Cardiff will threaten their hold on second spot. Connacht have suffered three losses in five games in the competition which has hugely dented their ambitions of making the final. They have also tasted defeat in their previous three games at the Sportsground in the PRO14 - they have not lost four in a row since 2013.
Cardiff have lost just once in four PRO14 matches and are on a three-game winning streak in all competitions on the road so another victory here could have big ramifications for the conference.
SAT - Edinburgh v Munster
BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh | KO 19:35 UK | Live on Premier Sports 1, eir Sport 1, Super Sport (SA), ESPN+ (USA), pro14.tv.
Munster can take a step closer to reaching their first PRO14 final since 2017 should they leave the Scottish capital victorious. With a 10-point lead in Conference B, Munster will look to continue their fine form on the road having lost just once in any competition since September.
They also have a decent record at this venue having prevailed in three of their last four visits. Edinburgh have won two of their last three in the PRO14 and will still be targeting a top-three finish with them trailing Cardiff by seven points but with two games in hand.