Leinster v Edninburgh
When? Tonight, 7.45
Where to watch? TG4 (If not the RDS)
The story so far: This is a meeting of Heineken Cup semi-finalists, but as Leinster’s deep and talented squad compete for honours on all fronts, Michael Bradley has appeared to put all his focus on the big European basket.
Joe Schmidt has led his side to the top of the Pro12 tree and they will seal a home semi-final with a win tonight.
Bradley’s outfit are only kept off the bottom of the table by (the soon to be defunct) Aironi. Leinster will be eager on bouncing back, having lost their last league outing at the RDS when the Ospreys inflicted defeat on the eastern province for just a third time this season.
Edinburgh, meanwhile, have managed just one win in the last nine, but that did come last time out against the Llanelli Scarlets.
Team news: A tale of two schools of thought here; Bradley has made just five changes from the side which showed tremendous guts and poise to see off Toulouse. Only one of those has been made to his back division where Mike Blair is nursing a shoulder injury.
Schmidt, on the other hand, has made 12 alterations and given a full rest to the majority of his front-liners. Only Eoin Reddan, Richardt Strauss and Kevin McLaughlin could be counted as experienced players on the bench.
Leinster: Nacewa; D Kearney, McFadden, D’Arcy, Carr; Madigan, Boss: Van Der Merwe, Cronin, White; Browne, Toner; Ruddock, Jennings, Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Strauss, McGrath, Moore, McLaughlin, Auva’a, Reddan, Reid, Macken.
Edinburgh: Brown; Jones, De Luca, Scott, T Visser; Laidlaw (capt.) Leck: Traynor, Ford, Cross; Lozada, Cox; McInally, Grant, Talei.
Replacements: Kelly, Hislop, Gliding, Gilchrist, Denton, Rennie, Godman, Thompson
Connacht v Ulster
When? Saturday 5.45
Where to watch? TG4, BBC NI (If not the Sportsground)
The story so far: Connacht sit two points above Edinburgh at the wrong end of the table. However, with just two defeats in their last five, they have begun to collect points after a long barren spell.
Ulster will seek to continue the momentum gained from their Heineken Cup win in Thomond Park with another provincial win in hostile territory.
Connacht have lost 10 on the trot to Irish teams, their last point though, was against Ulster at the Sportsground in September 2010. Connacht’s last win over the northern province was a 22-12 home win in 2005.
Team news: Eric Elwood has made just one change from the side which beat the Dragons two weeks ago. George Naoupu will return to the back row. He will be flanked by John Muldoon and Ray Ofisa, meaning Mick Kearney is demoted to the bench.
Like Leinster, Ulster have made 12 changes to a winning team. Stefan Terblanche, Ian Humphreys and Tom Court are the trio asked to turn out again. Humphreys’ inclusion means that Paddy Jackson will take up an unfamiliar berth at inside centre. Craig Gilroy and Ruan Pienaar are available to come off the bench if required.
Connacht: Duffy (capt), O’Halloran, Tonettie, Fa’afili, Vainikolo; Nikora, Murphy: Wilkinson, Reynecke, Loughney; Swift, McCarthy; Muldoon, Ofisa, Naoupu.
Replacements: Flavin, Buckley, Ah You, Kearney, O’Connor, O’Donohoem Jarvis, Griffin.
Ulster: Terblanche; Whitten, Spence, Jackson, D’Arcy; Humphreys, Marshall: McAllister, Brady (capt), Court; Stevenson, McComb; McComish, Faloon, Diack.
Replacements: Kyriacou, Black, Macklin, Henderson, Birch, Pienaar, Gilroy, Allen
BJ Botha is one of seven injured for Munster. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Munster v Glasgow
When? Saturday 7.15
Where to watch? RTE 2 (If not Musgrave Park)
The story so far: Munster will have been feeling down in the dumps this week, but they will have to pick themselves up quickly if they want to defend their league title.
The Warriors will arrive in Cork smelling an upset. The Scottish side sit fourth in the table, level on points with their hosts and both sides are vying to hold off Ulster (in fifth) and overtake the Ospreys (second) who are just two points ahead of them.
Team news: Injury in a draining European semi has deprived Tony McGahan of seven players. Ronan O’Gara, Paul O’Connell, BJ Botha, James Coughlan, Keith Earls, Denis Hurley and David Wallace are all sidelined.
Conor Murray – rushed back from a knee injury to face Ulster – will only start from the bench, meaning Tomas O’Leary will once again partner Ian Keatley at half back.
In a reshuffled pack, Peter O’Mahoney will fill Coughlan’s berth at number eight while Donncha O’Callaghan will win his 200th cap for the province alongside Mick O’Driscoll.
Glasgow have made six changes from the rout of Cardiff Blues – a game which proved the end of Gavin Henson’s career with the Welsh outfit. They will have Richie Gray in harness along with the impressive young back, Stuart Hogg. Ruairidh Jackson will line up at number 10.
Munster: Jones; O’Dea, Murphy, Mafi, Zebo; Keatley, O’Leary: Du Preez, Sherry, Archer; O’Callaghan, O’Driscoll (capt); Ryan, O’Donnell, O’Mahony.
Replacements: Varley, Horan, Ryan, Holland, Butler, Murray, Deasy, Dineen.
Glasgow: Murchie; Aramburu, Hogg, Dunbar, Shaw; Jackson, Cusiter: Welsh, MacArthur, Cusack; Gray, Kellock (capt); Harley, Fusaro, Beattie.
Replacements: Hall, Grant, Low, Ryder, Forrester, Pyrgos, Weir, Seymour.