The return of the United Rugby Championship after a drama fuelled final pool stage in the European Champions Cup delivered high excitement levels.
A week our from the start of the Six Nations Championship, the domestic front can always have a degree of uncertainty with many players in their respective international training camps.
The stand-out result from round 11 was obviously Cardiff’s last gasp win over Leinster in the Arms Park.
Jarod Evans’ 45m penalty in the 82nd minute securing what on the whole was probably a deserved 29-27 win for the Welsh region.
It was their first victory over Leinster in 11 years and it consigned the Irish Province to only their second defeat of the current campaign.
All eyes were on a much changed Ulster side as they faced Scarlets in front of an expectant Kingspan Stadium crowd.
While one of the big talking points was whether Craig Gilroy should have seen yellow or a red card for a collision with Tom Rodgers in making a tackle, the Ulster winger crossed for the bonus point securing fourth try in a 27-15 win.
The try heralded the new term from commentator Mark Robson on Premier Sport – ‘The Doak Poke’ after man of the match Billy Burns had placed the ball back in a tackle, scrumhalf Nathan Doak showed great vision to poke the ball gently through and Gilroy was the beneficiary.
Perhaps the most disappointing side of the game was the fact home fans only got to see young prospect Aaron Sexton for about three minutes as a replacement – I for one would too like to see him getting more opportunity, and on the wing!
And, as the post match with Dan McFarland reveals, there is a good chance a few of the youngsters will get an opportunity soon.
Connacht were savaged at home by Glasgow, 42-20 and that will just leave the Westerners even more determined when they come to Belfast this weekend for a rearranged URC game against Ulster.
For McFarland’s side, it is the opportunity to avenge a disappointing away loss to Connacht in round five and also put one over on their old rivals, something which used to be a regular occurrence but in more recent times has become increasingly hard to do.
Munster had few problems in Parma with a 34-17 win over struggling Zebre, still seeking their first win of this campaign.
Current league leaders Edinburgh remain there in spite of a 23-19 loss to Ospreys in what was another tight affair.
There were two draws in round 11, one of Newport where Dragons and Newport finished 13-13 and in South Africa, The Stormers rallied to share the spoils with Sharks with an 81st minute penalty try.
In the other South African derby, The Bulls were 34-10 winners over the Lions.
The South African clubs will play the reverse of those fixtures on Saturday, while the perfect way for Northern Hemisphere fans to get ready for a big weekend of Six Nations action is to tune in to Ulster v Connacht not only available from Premier Sport but on BBC Northern Ireland!