After two wins from the opening two rounds of the Heineken Champions Cup, Ulster's focus returns to the United Rugby Championship this week with the visit of Connacht to Kingspan Stadium (Sun 26 Dec, 5.15pm).
The Boxing Day showdown will be Ulster's first home interprovincial derby of the season, and the first of three games against fellow Irish provinces in as many weeks.
On New Year's Day, Leinster will be the visitors to Kingspan Stadium, then on Saturday 8 January, Ulster travel to Thomond Park to take on Munster.
While the New Year's Day fixture against Leinster is now sold out, there are still a limited number of tickets available for the Boxing Day clash against Connacht.
🤝 Ulster Rugby v Connacht Rugby
🗓 Sunday 26 December, 5.15pm
🏟 Kingspan Stadium
🏆 United Rugby Championship Round 8
📺 Live on BBC NI, TG4 & Premier Sports 1
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 71st league game)
AR 1: Eoghan Cross (IRFU) AR 2: Paul Haycock (IRFU)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)
Ulster currently sit third in the URC table on 25 points, with Edinburgh on 28 and Leinster leading the way on 29.
The Ulster men have won five of their opening seven games, with the only defeats coming away to Ospreys and this week's opposition, Connacht.
Connacht are currently in seventh place, with three wins and four defeats to date.
• Ulster began the United Rugby Championship season with four straight wins but have now been defeated in two of the last three rounds.
• The Ulstermen have won all three matches in the Championship at Kingspan Stadium this season.
• Ulster’s 20-10 victory in Leinster in November ended a six-game losing run to fellow Irish provinces.
• Connacht have won two of their last three games in the United Rugby Championship but away from home they have not been triumphant since their visit to Munster in the Rainbow Cup in May.
• In the calendar year of 2021, Connacht have won away from home at all three other Irish provinces.
• Connacht have won three of their last four encounters with Ulster.
• Connacht went 58 years without winning in Belfast but have now prevailed on two of their last four visits.
On 23 October, Connacht inflicted a first defeat of the season on Ulster with a comprehensive 36-11 victory at Aviva Stadium.
Niall Murray, Mack Hansen (2), John Porch and Diarmuid Kilgallen all touched down for Connacht, while Brad Roberts got Ulster's sole try.