While Leinster and Munster enjoy the comfort of having their final berths booked, there is still a way to go for a number of other sides – including Munster’s Round 15 opponents, the Scarlets - before European qualification is guaranteed.
The Scarlets are currently in a three-way battle for two places in Conference B, with Munster secure at the top and Benetton trailing at the bottom.
Connacht will book the second spot if they defeat Edinburgh this weekend, but the Scarlets will need to keep up the pressure as Edinburgh have two games in hand and are 14 points behind the Welsh side.
The Cardiff Blues will be hoping for a Munster win as they head to Benetton to try and make up some ground with their eight-point deficit.
The match-up between Munster and the Scarlets will be the pick of the weekend with Glenn Delaney hoping for a drop in intensity from the Irish side, which they can capitalise on.
“We went there for the last game we played before we shut up shop for a spell last year,” said Delaney. “It will be a big challenge. We played them in the first game of the season and didn’t manage the last 15 minutes well enough after putting ourselves in a really good position.”
He added: “They have evolved, they are in the final already and they will be excited by that, but we are certainly excited by the opportunity to keep building a bit of momentum and keep playing the way we are.
“We will go out there knowing it is a massive challenge playing at Thomond. We had the winning formula on the road last time out against Edinburgh and it is about discovering that again.
“Munster are a side who can be really attritional, they also have very good tactical kicking, but you can’t be seduced by that, and they can also play with width as well.
"They are a side who are all about getting the job done, a powerful unit with some great carriers like Gavin Coombes who has been outstanding all year, Jack O’Donoghue as well. There are guys who we are going to have to keep an eye on.
“For us, it is about taking steps forward. We still need points to secure Europe - that hasn’t changed from a few weeks ago. Our objective is to secure our position in the Champions Cup for next year.”
The Scarlets, meanwhile, are eyeing a third straight win after victories over Benetton and Edinburgh which have left them on the brink of Champions Cup qualification.
They were narrowly beaten 30-27 when the teams last met in October despite Munster scoring all three tries in the game.
Connacht, on the other hand, will need to pick up the pieces after their final hopes disintegrated with their defeat at the hands of Munster last weekend, and while they have an eight-point advantage over the Scarlets with two rounds left, they will want to secure their spot with a solid win.
Edinburgh’s three-game winning run against Connacht came to an end five months ago in a 37-26 defeat and they go into Saturday’s clash having won just one of their last four matches after last week’s clash with Benetton was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
Friday’s other games see defending champions Leinster travel to Zebre on a high after securing their final berth, while Ospreys head to the Glasgow Warriors knowing that a victory will secure third place in Conference A and a Champions Cup spot.
The Welsh side are 10 points clear of their hosts having played one game more and will be keen to get the job done ahead of a daunting trip to Leinster in Round 16.
The Dragons host Ulster in the other Round 15 fixture.
Guinness PRO14 Fixtures:
Friday, 12 March
19h45 - Zebre v Leinster (Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma)
22h00 - Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys (Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow)
22h00 - Munster v Scarlets (Thomond Park, Limerick)
Saturday, 13 March
21h35 - Connacht v Edinburgh (The Sportsground, Galway)
21h35 - Dragons v Ulster (Rodney Parade, Newport)
Sunday, 14 March
15h00 - Benetton v Cardiff Blues (Stadio Monigo, Treviso)