With the top two teams in each conference advancing straight to the final in this year’s edition of the competition, Saturday night’s return clash between defending champions, Leinster, and their strongest challengers in their group, Ulster, will be eagerly awaited.
Two weeks ago, the gap between the teams on the standings was four points, and it stretched to five a week ago when Leinster kept their bonus point momentum up, while Ulster fell short.
The gap increased to six points this past weekend as Leinster picked up a bonus point for scoring four tries against the Glasgow Warriors, while Ulster were unable to get across the chalk a fourth time against Ospreys.
If Ulster secures a bonus point win in Belfast while denying Leinster any log points, it will put them one point adrift with only a few fixtures remaining, although a victory would still be enough to keep them in the race.
A defeat, however, could mean their race will have been run, meaning Leinster could start preparing for yet another final.
The final looks set to be against Munster after their fellow Irish rivals maintained their stranglehold at the top of Conference B with a comfortable away win against the Cardiff Blues.
Their nearest challengers Connacht also made sure they stayed in the title race with a narrow away win over Benetton, however, the nine-point gap between the teams on the log will make it tougher for Connacht to overcome with each passing week.
The battle for final spots aside, the closing weeks of the league phase of the Guinness PRO14 have dished up an intriguing tussle between the sides vying for the top three places in the respective conferences for Champions Cup qualification next season.
The Scarlets scored an exciting 27-25 win over Edinburgh at Murrayfield, which not only marked their first win in Edinburgh since 2013, it also stretched the Welsh team’s lead over them to 14 points.
Had Edinburgh secured a victory, it would have been all to play for in the remaining fixtures, but Scarlets’ current lead appears to be too much, although they also have Cardiff Blues chasing them.
The clash between Edinburgh and the Scarlets was entertaining, with Edinburgh starting well and building up a 20-17 halftime lead.
The Scarlets, however, got the bit between their teeth straight after the break, scoring 10 points to go 27-20 ahead. Edinburgh hit back with a try, but the missed conversion left them two points adrift.
In the shock result of the weekend, Italian side Zebre leaped from the foot of the conference A log into fourth place with a surprisingly easy 26-15 win over the Dragons, who in turn succumbed to their sixth successive defeat.
Guinness PRO14 results:
Benetton 17-19 Connacht (Stadio Monigo, Treviso)
Cardiff Blues 11-20 Munster (Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff)
Ulster 21-7 Ospreys (Kingspan Stadium, Belfast)
Edinburgh 25-27 Scarlets (BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh)
Zebre 26-15 Dragons (Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma)
Leinster 40-21 Glasgow Warriors (RDS Arena, Dublin)