All four Irish provinces are in URC quarter-final action this weekend, in a defining set of games for each province. We've enlisted the help of Stephen Ferris to break down the Irish teams' ties this weekend in the URC.
With Leinster, Ulster, Munster and Connacht finishing in the top eight of the regular season, they will all play playoff rugby this season. They face a range of tests across the weekend - including one all-Irish matchup.
Ulster against Connacht is the only hundred percent Irish tie in these URC quarter finals with the Ulstermen finishing second and Connacht seventh. This is one of the closest and unpredictable fixture.
Munster will travel to Glasgow for another very interesting game between the fourth and fifth of the standings. With home advantage, Glasgow may have a slight advantage but anything is possible.
Leinster will welcome South African side Sharks in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening. Many people believe Leinster will walk over the Sharks, but will have to beware complacency against a team known for their try scoring exploits.
URC Quarter-finals: Stephen Ferris makes his picks
The former Ulster player believes that Glasgow v Munster is the match of the weekend. Despite getting hammered at home a few weeks ago against Glasgow, Munster are Ferris' favourite for this game. He claims that - if Graham Rowntree's team can fix the front row - they can win the match:
I'm giving Munster a very good chance, Munster will neck this one. I know Glasgow are the team in form in the competition. But put in RG Snyman and Tadhg Beirne in the second row. Peter O'Mahony will be leading the charge. Jack O'Donoghue is back in the back row.
If they can get there front row right, I'm going to go for a Munster win. They've got it together, they're a united bunch, they've got a strong team back together.
In the all Irish clash between Ulster and Connacht, Stephen Ferris says that Connacht are in a bad position but they still stand a chance thanks to the return of key players. Irish internationals Bundee Aki and Mack Hansen are back in the squad and they could be a massive boost for Andy Friend's team. Connacht will not want this to be their coach's last game.
Ferris believes this will be a very close game. He claims that Jack Carty is the key player for this match. If Connacht want to qualify, their captain must have a big day:
The Connacht lads will definitely want to send Andy Friend out with a bang. Jack Carty has to have a pivotal game. Too many times I have been telling how good he has been or how inconsistent he's been as well. He's [the] club captain, he has to lead by example. He's got to drive his team. He has a tremendous kicking game. He has to stand up. If Connacht are going to have any chance in this match he has to have a stormer.
Leinster and Cell C Sharks game is the most one-sided game of the quarter finals. The best placed team welcomes the worst placed. On top of playing the best team in the league, the Sharks have several big names missing. Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi won't be traveling to Ireland this weekend, in what could be a massive turning point.
Leinster are strong favourites for this match and are also favourites to win the URC title. However Ferris still mentioned that despite conceding a lot of points, the Sharks knows how to score tries and could possibly challenge Leinster:
There's no Etzebeth and Kolisi for the Sharks. I think they're missing one or two others as well. This is a Sharks team that can score good tries and a lot of points but they also ship a lot of points. I expect Leinster to rack up a good score here. This is only gojng to he one way traffic.
Time will tell if Stephen Ferris' URC calls come through, on a massive weekend for Irish rugby.