While there were two thrilling away wins for the DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks respectively, the prospect of facing foreign opposition will have to wait a little longer.
But it’s up in Europe, where Edinburgh are currently leading the Vodacom URC challenge, the Scottish club’s resurgence that will be keenly watched by all in Ireland, especially as they snuck into the top spot a few weeks back on the back of some superb form.
Ospreys host Edinburgh this weekend, where the Scots will be looking to cement their four-point lead at the top of the log. Having already secured passage to the last 16 of the European Challenge Cup, Mike Blair’s side will be looking forward to trying to secure an away win in Wales to show they are real contenders to Leinster’s dominance of the competition.
Edinburgh’s attack is potent. They sit second overall in the league, just behind Leinster, with 205 points scored this season, of which 140 have come via their 28 tries. They’ve also made more clean breaks, 63, than any other side in the Vodacom URC.
However, Edinburgh will be up against the top-rated defending side in the competition in the Ospreys, who also top the leader board in the kicking stats; they have successfully kicked more penalty goals than any other team with 27 successful three-pointers.
In fact, the team nearest to the Ospreys are the Cell C Sharks with 14, while Edinburgh have slotted 11 penalty goals so far this season.
Cardiff winger Owen Lane is relishing the prospect of Leinster’s visit to the Arms Park, with the Irish side set to arrive as red-hot favourites with a game in hand over Edinburgh. But the Welsh side are hoping to make it a tough visit for the PRO14 champions.
“They are quality opposition,” said Lane.
“They are historically one of the best teams in the league and they are definitely playing that way at the moment so it’s a big challenge.
“But against Quins we played very good rugby, we played with the ball, we were exciting to watch and scored some good tries so hopefully we can put on a good show and try to create an upset.
“We played them last year when they had their internationals away and we were in the game until 60 minutes, but they scored a few runaway tries.
“That’s the danger with Leinster – they can score in quick concession very quickly. We have to put a full 80 minute performance in but historically we have been good finishing off games so we have to start well, get some tries on the board and hopefully we can compete for the full 80.”
Third-placed Ulster face Scarlets this weekend, with Ross Moriarty returning to give the Welsh side a boost, while fourth-placed Glasgow will be looking to stop Connacht’s resurgence to keep their title aspirations alive.
Munster should have the measure of Zebre when they head to Parma on Friday night, and have a game in hand over Glasgow.
Vodacom URC weekend fixtures (SA times)
Friday, 28 February
21h35: Dragons vs Benetton
21h35: Ulster vs Scarlets
Saturday, 29 January
15h00: Emirates Lions vs Vodacom Bulls
16h55: Connacht vs Glasgow Warriors
17h05: Cell C Sharks vs DHL Stormers
19h00: Zebre vs Munster
19h15: Ospreys vs Edinburgh
21h35: Cardiff vs Leinster