After 12 rounds of competition, however, it is the battle for Champions Cup places that looks particularly interesting.

With the top three teams from each conference advancing to the European competition, several sides are still in contention - although for some the situation is starting to become more desperate with each passing week.

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill refused to give up on his team clinching one of the European spots after slumping to their seventh defeat of the season against Munster, who walked away with a hard fought 22-10 away win.

It has been a miserable campaign for Edinburgh, who have arguably not been the same team since Ulster turned the screws on them late in last season’s semi-final at Murrayfield and came back to win at the death.

As things stand, Edinburgh are struggling in second last position on the conference table, but despite this they still have a mathematical chance of sneaking through.

The Scots are 11 points behind third-placed Scarlets, but they have two matches in hand and full points from those encounters will place Edinburgh within one point of the Welsh outfit and in with a shout of qualification.

The Cardiff Blues, who are four points behind the Scarlets after the same number of games, have a better chance of qualifying than Edinburgh, although they didn’t help themselves by being comprehensively outplayed by Connacht.

The Irish province remains in with a mathematical chance of catching Munster at the top of Conference B. They are nine points adrift after the same number of games, but Munster appear to have too much momentum to be caught.

Leinster, meanwhile, increased their lead at the top of Conference A with a bonus point win over the Dragons, with the difference between them and the second-placed Ulster now being five points after 12 matches.

Leinster were made to fight against the Dragons, who held a 9-0 lead early in the game and who pushed the champions all the way.

Ulster, in turn, maintained their interest in the top spot by beating the Glasgow Warriors 19-13 at Scotstoun.

This defeat all but ended the Warriors’ interest in the Champions Cup as they are now 15 points adrift of the third-placed Ospreys in their conference after Ospreys maintained the pressure by winning 10-0 against Benetton.

Guinness PRO14 results:

Glasgow Warriors 13 – 19 Ulster (Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow)

Dragons 29 – 35 Leinster (Rodney Parade, Newport)

Scarlets 41 - 17 Benetton (Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli)

Ospreys 10 – 0 Zebre (Liberty Stadium, Swansea)

Connacht 32 – 17 Cardiff Blues (The Sportsground, Galway)

Edinburgh 10 – 22 Munster (BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh)