After the excitement of Ireland's three emphatic Autumn Nations Series wins over Japan, New Zealand and Argentina, the United Rugby Championship returns.

First up Connacht welcome Ospreys, who took the scalp of an unbeaten Munster in the last round, to the Sportsground tonight, in a game that’s live on RTÉ.

Munster were to be the first Irish side to taste the action in South Africa on Saturday with the Bulls the hosts in Pretoria, however, that game and their tour has been called off for Covid-19 reasons and the squad are arranging to fly home soon.

The Irish interest finishes off with an inter-pro derby in the RDS on Saturday evening with table-toppers Leinster, minus a number of front-liners, looking to continue their winning start as Ulster come to Dublin.


TV

Connacht v Ospreys, and Leinster v Ulster are live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player.

RADIO

Leinster v Ulster is live on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.

ONLINE

RTE.ie/sport will have live scoring and blogs across the weekend with match reports and reaction from the grounds. All games are live on URC TV.

WEATHER

Galway is forecast to see rain showers in about 7C, while Dublin is set to see cloud cover in 4C for Saturday evening's inter-pro.

Listen to the RTÉ Rugby podcast on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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A quick glance at the overall playing record in this fixture confirms Ulster have got it all to do, winning just eight of 43 previous meetings with Leinster while losing 33 and drawing twice.

Since losing to Glasgow in the Rainbow Cup last season, Leinster have not looked back, reeling off six successive victories.

Ulster have also been impressive this term, putting together a four-match winning run before losing to Connacht last time out.

However Ulster have not won at the RDS Arena since March 2013 while also losing their last six games against Irish opposition.


Leinster: Jimmy O'Brien; Adam Byrne, Robbie Henshaw, Ciarán Frawley, Jordan Larmour; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath (capt); Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Devin Toner; Dan Leavy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, Vakh Abdaladze, Max Deegan, Will Connors, Nick McCarthy, Harry Byrne, Tommy O'Brien

Ulster: Mike Lowry; Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, John Cooney;Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore; Alan O'Connor (capt), Sam Carter; Greg Jones, Nick Timoney, David McCann

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Eric O'Sullivan, Ross Kane, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Angus Curtis, Rob Lyttle

Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 53rd league game)

<esi:include src="<p>Munster are now returning home, with next week's game against the Lions in Johannesburg also called off.</p><hr><p data-embed="rte-sport-results" data-id="https://www.rte.ie/sport/results/widgets/match/3713859/?amp;report=false&matches=1" data-matches="1"><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="85" src="https://www.rte.ie/sport/results/widgets/match/3713859/?iframe=true&report=false&matches=1" width="640"></iframe></p><p>A quick glance at the overall playing record in this fixture confirms Ulster have got it all to do, winning just eight of 43 previous meetings with Leinster while losing 33 and drawing twice.</p><p>Since losing to Glasgow in the Rainbow Cup last season, Leinster have not looked back, reeling off six successive victories.</p><p>Ulster have also been impressive this term, putting together a four-match winning run before losing to Connacht last time out.</p><p>However Ulster have not won at the RDS Arena since March 2013 while also losing their last six games against Irish opposition.</p><hr><p><b>Leinster: </b>Jimmy O'Brien; Adam Byrne, Robbie Henshaw, Ciarán Frawley, Jordan Larmour; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath (capt); Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Devin Toner; Dan Leavy, Scott Penny, Rhys Ruddock</p><p><b>Replacements:</b> Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, Vakh Abdaladze, Max Deegan, Will Connors, Nick McCarthy, Harry Byrne, Tommy O'Brien</p><p><b>Ulster: </b>Mike Lowry; Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy; Billy Burns, John Cooney;Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore; Alan O'Connor (capt), Sam Carter; Greg Jones, Nick Timoney, David McCann</p><p><b>Replacements:</b> Tom Stewart, Eric O'Sullivan, Ross Kane, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Angus Curtis, Rob Lyttle</p><p><b>Referee: </b>Frank Murphy (IRFU, 53rd league game)</p>" />

Connacht will look to build on their fantastic 36-11 win over Ulster in Round 5.

Andy Friend's side have won three of their last four home games but were beaten 26-20 at this venue by the Ospreys in January.

The Welsh region have made a decent start to the season, winning four of their five games to sit fifth - their only blip coming against Cell C Sharks in October.

The Welsh side have won 23 of their 35 meetings with Connacht and have lost just twice on the road since mid-March, one of them to their opponents.


Connacht: Oran McNulty, Alex Wootton, Shayne Bolton, Sammy Arnold, Mack Hansen, Jack Carty (capt), Kieran Marmion, Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham, Niall Murray, Ultan Dillane, Jarrad Butler, Conor Oliver, Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Jordan Duggan, Jack Aungier, Oisín Dowling, Eoghan Masterson, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Peter Robb.

Ospreys: Dan Evans, Max Nagy, Owen Watkin, Joe Hawkins, Luke Morgan, Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb (capt), Nicky Smith, Elvis Taione, Tom Botha, Bradley Davies, Rhys Davies, Sam Cross, Jac Morgan, Ethan Roots.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Rhys Henry, Will Griffiths, Morgan Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Josh Thomas, Cai Evans.

Referee: Ben Blain (SRU, 14th league game)


MATCH CANCELLED

United Rugby Championship history should have been made at Loftus Versfeld when the Vodacom Bulls and Munster oppose each other for the first time, but the clash has been postponed due to a new Covid-19 variant.

Munster are now returning home, with next week's game against the Lions in Johannesburg also called off.