The back-to-back weeks of European rugby are crucial for qualification and exciting for supporters, but from a player's perspective they can be tricky to deal with.
Depending on the quality of the opposition, it can make for a gruelling couple of weeks, especially with the World Cup barely in the rearview mirror and the fixtures coming thick and fast.
Some teams had the luxury of resting a few of their big guns last week.
Munster picked a relatively inexperienced side whereas the other provinces went for more of a mixture between youth and experience to stay on the right side of the result.
Team selection coming into Europe is a funny one when you do your analysis. Everyone's star players need game time, but clubs also need to balance the team in terms of giving certain connections a game together.
In some circumstances, crucial players will need to be rested.
Many of Ireland’s World Cup players had their feet up last weekend, so from an opposition point of view, it is hard to look at the provinces' games with any real clarity.
Do you look to the last game in Europe to try to find the trends or can you still rely somewhat on the flow of the team to see what you’re going to come up against? Or, should you really depend that heavily on analysis at all?
There’s a balance to be struck.
Some guys like to know what they're coming up against, others like to read the play in front of them or just rock up and see what they can create
You could spend the week preparing heavily for a certain team selection and then the sides get announced and suddenly the tactics are altered accordingly.
At the same time, you want to have the confidence going into the game that you have done as much as you possibly could so you are in a good mental state on the pitch.
It probably depends on the individual. Some guys like to know what they’re coming up against, what foot their opposite number likes to step off, what foot the half-backs kick with, certain go-to patterns of play that the opposition use, opportunities in attack etc.
Other guys like to read the play in front of them or just rock up and see what they can create. I’d have been a bit down the middle as a player. Some information needs to be banked, but you shouldn’t analyse it to death.
Do you go with the same game plan and try to perfect it again the following week or opt for the double bluff and change things because your opposition will be expecting the same approach?
Going into the second game the analysis seems very familiar and life is easier for the backroom team because they have more relevant information.
There is also the chance that your opposition will lure you into a trap based on the previous week.
Do you go with the same game plan and try to perfect it again the following week or opt for the double bluff and change things because your opponents will be expecting the same approach?
Maybe you might try a couple of trick plays to set them up and strike somewhere else.
Or you could do what New Zealand did to the Lions during the last tour by changing how they played completely in the first game which caught the Lions on the hop.
In any case you could get yourself caught by relying too heavily on your analysis or memory of the previous 80 minutes. Your expectation of what you think is coming could give you the wrong signal and you could make the wrong play as a result: 'paralysis by analysis’.
The back-to-back week also gives you a good opportunity to focus more on yourself.
The whole team has a fresh idea of what the opposition are going to bring.
You might take a quick glance through their team selection and confirm what you’re expecting for the most part, maybe take notice of what is different and how that might affect how they will play but it will take a lot less attention than a normal week.
Ten points on offer in Europe in two weeks is already enough to get excited about but as we creep in to December, there is a great feeling around most sports grounds.
The high stakes mean that attendances are higher, the atmosphere is more enjoyable and some teams will have one foot in the quarter-finals whereas others might be up against it with two games to go.
You’d wonder if Saracens, who face Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday evening, are going to continue to rest their first team players across these two weeks to try to rescue their league status.
It must be a strange position for their English stars who are facing having to sit out the most exciting back-to-back weeks of the year.
It would be three weeks without rugby for them if they rest completely, or would they go with a half-and-half approach to keep the team ticking over in preparation for their next league game?
It will add to the difficulty in Munster’s preparation. Players will say that it makes no difference, they are focusing on themselves and nobody else, but human nature creeps in and you have an eye on what the opposition are doing.
There should be two provincial wins at a minimum but hopefully European rugby can produce another memorable weekend for Irish provinces
Saracens still have the quality and capability to cause an upset, but after Racing left Limerick with a draw, Munster will be doing their best to bag a full five points and use Saracens' situation as an opportunity for them to close in on qualification to the knock out stages.
Leinster have to go to a high-flying Northampton, while Ulster host mid-table Harlequins and Connacht travel to a similarly average Gloucester who do have a dangerous Danny Cipriani pulling the strings.
There should be two provincial wins at a minimum but hopefully European rugby can produce another memorable clean sweep for the Irish.
Listen to live commentary of Ulster v Harlequins (3.15pm) & Munster v Saracens (5.30pm) on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport