Following last week's Top 14 kick-off, this weekend sees the return of Guinness Premiership and Magners League action as Leinster and Wasps begin their campaigns to retain their domestic titles.
The 2008/09 Magners League gets under way on Friday night and the ten team league will feature a host of new southern hemisphere talent including World Cup winner CJ Van der Linde (Leinster), Bakkies Botha (Ulster), and former All Black Kees Meuws who has moved from Castres to Llanelli Scarlets. The 2008 Heineken Cup champions Munster start their domestic campaign away to Edinburgh at the "The Castle" on Friday evening while League champions Leinster will face Cardiff Blues in the opener.
In England the long race for domestic honours and European qualification also starts this weekend and the action will include the now traditional London double header at Twickenham. 2008 Heineken Cup semi-finalists London Irish will return to the scene of their European defeat to Toulouse when they will face current English champions Wasps on Saturday while the second half of the Twickenham bill sees Harlequins meet another losing Heineken Cup semi-final side in Saracens.
The directors of ERC voted unanimously at a Board meeting to postpone all decisions including the release of further instalments of ERC's distributable central revenues to the six shareholder countries until 19 February next when the Board will meet again to reconsider the issue.