But while much of the focus will be on who will claim bragging rights across the Guinness PRO14, let’s kick off media watch with an emotional video in Cardiff.
Christmas is all about family, and while for many of us it is the chance to get everyone together, for others, geography makes that impossible. Nick Williams has been in Europe for more than a decade and the Cardiff Blues made a beautiful gesture for their giant No.8, flying in his mum to see him play live for the first time over here. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house.
The derbies get going this evening as Leinster play host to Ulster. Leo Cullen’s men are 11 from 11 this season, but in typically Kiwi fashion, Matt Faddes insists that Ulster should not pay them too much respect.
The teams are out, and as well as Alan O’Connor making his 100th appearance, alongside his brother, Sean Cronin makes a long-awaited first start of the season.
The 1872 Cup clash at Scotstoun will be huge, and no one knows more about those games than Rob Harley, who has been chatting with Scrum Magazine.
One man who will miss those games is Matt Fagerson though, the No.8 has been hit with a three-week ban following his red card in Europe last weekend.
The Welsh derbies will be a chance to impress Wayne Pivac ahead of the Guinness Six Nations, and in the Western Telegraph, Chris Kirwan argues that Adam Warren deserves a mention in the debate over who should be Wales’ centre pairing in February.
The other Inter-Pro this weekend sees Munster travel to Connacht, and experienced campaigner Billy Holland has told the Irish Independent of just how important it is to get a result against their Conference B rivals.
Finally, just to get you into the mood, Benetton have provided a flavour of the work they have been putting in to get ready for their derby clash with Zebre.
— Benetton Rugby 🦁 (@BenettonRugby) December 19, 2019