Following on from some heroic exploits by the celtic teams in the European competitions, the Pro12 returns once again to centre stage, and with the prospect of the festive season upon us all the games this weekend are local derbies.
Italy and Wales host two games before Christmas, with the remainder of the round being played on Boxing Day. Aironi welcome Treviso to the Stadio Zaffanella on Friday, and although the game is being billed as a charity day, the hosts will hope to avoid giving away too many points and prevent Treviso repeating last year's success.
There could be an early Christmas present in store at Cardiff City Stadium; whilst Cardiff Blues have not beaten a fellow Welsh region in 2011, Newport Gwent Dragons last win on Cardiff soil was in 2003, so victory for either side will be seen as a boost.
On Monday there is an early start to the Boxing Day game in Wales, with Ospreys needing to return with maximum points from Parc y Scarlets in a hope to regain the top spot they lost to Leinster last round. However Scarlets have won their last three home Pro12games.
It's East versus West in Scotland when the two Pro12 sides take to the pitch at Murrayfield. Glasgow Warriors, who currently lie in the final play-off spot, will be hoping set a new unbeaten record for the team, however Edinburgh have lost just once at Murrayfield in their last six games.
They will be celebrating St Stephen’s Day in Dublin on Monday, with perhaps even more fervour if Leinster can maintain their place at the top of the Pro12 table by beating fellow Irish Province, Ulster. The omens may favour the home side, but Ulster need to start accumulating the victories if they are to claim a play-off spot, although the home of the current European champions is a hard place to come away from with the spoils.
The round wraps up on the West coast of Ireland when Munster welcome Connacht to Thomond Park. Whilst Connacht started the season well, they have slipped down the table, with Munster climbing in the opposite direction to currently sit third a position they are likely to maintain if past results are anything to go by.
We look at all of the Round 11 matches:
Friday, December 23
Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons
(Cardiff City Stadium, 19.35, 19.35 GMT)
Cardiff Blues have won three of their last four games in the Pro12, and have won their last three matches in all competitions at the Cardiff City Stadium.
The Blues have not beaten a fellow Welsh region in 2011 with their last such success coming against Ospreys on New Year's Eve 2010.
Newport Gwent Dragons are without a win in their last four matches, and have not won away from home in the Pro12 since a trip to Aironi on 20 February. The Dragons only away win over a fellow Welsh region since 2007 was 21-16 at Ospreys on 30 October 2010.
Dragons have won the most recent match between the two teams, 28-15 at Rodney Parade on 29 April, to end an eight game losing run against the Blues. Dragons only previous win on Blues soil was 25-13 at the Arms Park on 7 November 2003.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Gavin Henson, 14 Leigh Halfpenny, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Alex Cuthbert, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Paul Tito (captain), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 T Rhys, Thomas, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Tyrell, 17 John Yapp, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Josh Navidi, 20 Maama Molitika, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Jamie Roberts.
Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Wayne Evans, 8 Toby Faletau. 7 Gavin Thomas, 6 Danny Lydiate, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Adam Jones, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Lloyd Burns, 1 Nathan Williams.
Replacements: 16 Steve Jones, 17 Phil Price, 18 Dan Way, 19 Jevon Groves, 20 Darren Waters, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Anitelea Tuilagi, 23 Will Harries.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Tim Hayes (Wales), Martyn Lewis (Wales)
TMO: Nigel Whitehouse (Wales)
Treviso v Aironi
(Stadio Zaffanella, 19.00, 18.00 GMT)
Aironi are still trying to double their tally of wins this season, having beaten Edinburgh at Stadio Zaffanella on 24 September.
Treviso have won two of their last three games in all competitions, and also won three of their last five away matches.
Treviso took both encounters with Aironi last season, with Aironi picking up a losing bonus point on each occasion.
Aironi: 15 Andrea Masi; 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 8 Josh Sole, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (captain), 4 Quintin Geldenhuys; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Alberto De Marchi
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Filippo Ferrarini, 20 Mauro Bergamasco, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Alberto Benettin. Coach: Rowland Phillips.
Treviso: 15 Ludovico Nitoglia, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Ezio Galon, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Brendan Williams, 10 Willem De Waal, 9 Fabio Semenzato, 8 Marco Filippucci, 7 Benjamin Vermaak, 6 Manoa Vosawai, 5 Corniel Van Zyl, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 2 Diego Vidal, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Enrico Ceccato, 17 Lorenzo Cittadini, 18 Michele Rizzo, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Gonzalo Padrò, 21 Simon Picone, 22 Edoardo Gori, 23 Alberto Di Bernardo.
Referee: Carlo Damasco (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperirni (Italy), Filippo Bertelli (Italy)
TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)
Monday, December 26
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors
(Murrayfield, 17.35, 17.35 GMT)
Edinburgh's last five games have all been won by the home side on the day. Edinburgh have won two of their last three encounters in the Pro12, and have lost just once at Murrayfield in their last six games: 15-38 to Leinster on 28 October.
If Glasgow Warriors can avoid defeat they will set a new Glasgow record for the longest unbeaten run in the history of this tournament – currently standing at six matches.
The Warriors have not won on the road since a trip to Aironi on 5 November.
Each side won their respective home game in this fixture last season, whilst Glasgow's only previous win at Murrayfield was 22-15 on 2 January 2010.
Edinburgh: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 James King, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 9 Mike Blair, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 David Denton, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen/Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Alun Walker, 17 Kyle Traynor/Robin Hislop, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Phil Godman, 22 Matt Scott, 23 Jim Thompson.
Glasgow: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 David Lemi, 13 Troy Nathan, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Rory Lamont, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Chris Cusiter, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 John Barclay, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jon Welsh, 18 Moray Low, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Henry Pyrgos, 21 Chris Fusaro, 22 Colin Shaw, 23 Ruaridh Jackson.
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland), David Changleng (Scotland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Leinster v Ulster
(Royal Dublin Society, 17.30, 17.30 GMT)
Table-topping Leinster are unbeaten in their last eleven fixtures in all competitions since Glasgow lowered their colours at the RDS on 17 September. The Leinstermen's only defeat in their last five clashes with a fellow Irish province was 9-19 to Munster in last season's final.
Ulster have won their last three games but have not won away from home in the Pro12 since a trip to Aironi on 10 September. The Ulstermen's most recent victory on the road to a fellow Irish province was on 25 September 2009 in Connacht.
Leinster have won their last four encounters with Ulster, whilst Ulster have not won on Leinster soil since August 1999 in the Irish Interprovincial Championship.
The teams: TBC
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Trevor Collins (Ireland)
TMO: Jude Quinn (Ireland)
Munster v Connacht
(Thomond Park, 19.45, 19.45 GMT)
Munster's solitary defeat in their last six matches was 13-19 at Ospreys in the Pro12 on 3 December.
Munster's only home loss this season was also to Ospreys at Thomond Park on 8 October. The Munstermen have lost just once at home against a fellow Irish province since January 2009.
Connacht have lost their last ten matches in all competitions since they beat Newport Gwent Dragons 17-13 at the Sportsground on 23 September. Connacht's solo away win this season was 11-9 in Treviso in the opening weekend of Pro12 play.
Connacht's only victory on a fellow Irish province's soil in the history of this tournament remains their 26-23 triumph against Leinster at Donnybrook on 13 September 2002.
Munster have won their last five encounters with Connacht, whilst Connacht have not won in Munster since an 11-9 victory at Thomond Park on 22 November 1986.
The teams: TBC
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant referees: John Carvill (Ireland), Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
Scarlets v Ospreys
(Parc y Scarlets, 14.05, 14.05 GMT)
Scarlets have slipped to three straight defeats in all competitions, but have won their last three games at Parc y Scarlets in the Pro12. Scarlets are unbeaten in their last four clashes with fellow Welsh regions, whilst they have not lost at home in a Welsh derby since Ospreys were the visitors on 2 October 2010.
Ospreys only reversal this season in the Pro12 was 17-28 at Glasgow Warriors in round seven. Ospreys are winless in their last four fixtures against fellow Welsh regions.
Scarlets have not beaten Ospreys since a 17-12 victory at the old Stradey Park on 27 December 2007.
The teams: TBC
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Jon Mason (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)
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