The Guinness PRO14 now takes a three-week break and with just four rounds of the regular season remaining, the playoff race is really beginning to heat up.
Three of the four Irish provinces recorded wins this weekend with Munster the only one of those to fall to defeat as they lost out 10-6 against the Scarlets in torrential conditions in Llanelli.
Here, we take a look at how those results have impacted the fortunes of the Irish teams in their bid to secure a playoff spot come the end of the season.
Leinster secured a straight-forward win over the Cheetahs at the RDS on Friday night. Although it wasn’t a perfect performance from the reigning champions, the four points gained guaranteed them top spot in Conference B and with that, a home semi-final.
With four games remaining, Leinster can afford to experiment and give more exposure to their exciting young players knowing that the hard work has already been completed.
Remaining Fixtures: Edinburgh (A), Benetton (H), Glasgow (H), Ulster (A)
Leinster v Cheetahs – Match Report
Connacht bounced back from their heavy defeat to Glasgow Warriors last weekend by putting six tries past the Ospreys at the Sportsground on Saturday.
It was an excellent performance from the westerners with Kyle Godwin impressing and the result now means that Andy Friend’s side are back in the playoff positions.
The bonus point win brings Connacht up to third in Conference A and it looks like it will be a straight shootout between themselves and the Cardiff Blues for that final third playoff spot.
Connacht lead the Blues due to their superior points difference. The two sides meet in the second last round of the competition in what looks to be a crucial match.
Remaining Fixtures: Benetton (H), Zebre (A), Cardiff (H), Munster (A)
Connacht v Ospreys – Match Report
Munster fell to a disappointing defeat to the Scarlets in Wales on Saturday in torrential conditions. Considering Munster dominated possession and territory for long periods, they will be annoyed that they didn’t come out of South Wales with all four points.
That loss had great repercussions as it means they drop down to second in the standings with the Glasgow Warriors overtaking them in first place.
Three points separate the sides and it looks like the race for first could go down to the wire.
Remaining Fixtures: Zebre (H), Cardiff (H), Benetton (A), Connacht (H)
Scarlets v Munster – Match Report
Despite losing three players to the sin bin in their match against the Dragons on Sunday, Ulster still prevailed with a bonus point win as they eased past thanks to a 15-28 scoreline.
That win puts the northern province into third spot in Conference B and just one point behind second-placed Benetton and four points ahead of fourth-placed Scarlets.
Besides their next match against the Southern Kings, Ulster face a tricky season run-in so an away win in Scotland will likely be needed if they are to overtake Benetton in second.
Remaining Fixtures: Southern Kings (H), Glasgow Warriors (A), Edinburgh (A), Leinster (H).
Dragons v Ulster – Match Report