Provinces' games live on TV


European Cup dates: Irish rugby supporters will get the opportunity to see all three provinces live on television on the penultimate weekend of the Heineken European Cup pool stages and Munster and Leinster's final matches seven days later will also be shown live.

Ulster welcome Gloucester to Ravenhill (7.30) on Friday, January 7th, handed not alone their preferred day of the week for staging games in Belfast but also the opportunity for those who cannot travel to the game to watch the game live on Sky Sports.

Leinster travel to the Recreation Ground to take on Bath on Saturday, January 8th, faced with a lunch-time (1.0) kick-off.

This match will also be transmitted live by Sky Sports, who along with RTE, will broadcast Munster's pivotal home game against the Neath/Swansea Ospreys later that afternoon at Thomond Park (5.15).

Arguably the clash of the weekend will take place at Welford Road on Sunday, January 9th, when Leicester host Biarritz Olympique in a game that the latter must take something from even if it's just a bonus point. Sky Sports is once again the host broadcaster.

Sky Sports will cover the final weekend of the pool stages of the tournament - from a television perspective - comprehensively with the satellite broadcaster transmitting live six matches over the three days.

Munster's game against Harlequins at Twickenham (1.0, Sky Sports) kicks off Saturday, January 15th, a day of intense Irish interest. Leinster are then in action at Lansdowne Road (5.15, RTE, Sky Sports) when they host Italian side Benetton Treviso, the surprise packets of the tournament so far.

The two Irish provinces will be hoping that they are in a position to confirm not only a place in the quarter-finals but also home advantage for the first knockout phase.

Ulster will need to beat Gloucester in the next round of matches to give them a chance of sneaking through when they make the short journey to Cardiff on Sunday, January 16th.