It may be an early pre-season clash at Ravenhill on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm) but the fact tickets sold out on Wednesday for the meeting of Ulster and Leinster speaks volumes of the fixture.
It brings together the sides who contested last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 final and the previous season’s Heineken Cup final - as well as being steeped in history as being one of the great rivaliries in Irish rugby history and the oldest Inter-Pro fixture on record.
Ulster defeated Leinster twice last season in the league, but lost the third encounter narrowly at the RDS, Dublin - the PRO12 final.
Leinster remain the side setting the barometer of success and Ulster believe they have considerably narrowed the gap.
“Yes we lost to them in the Heineken and PRO12 finals in recent seasons, but I believe the gap has narrowed,” Ulster coach, Mark Anscombe said this week.
He added quickly: “And you have to remember Leinster were in three previous Rabo finals and only won it at the third time of asking.”
In terms of the gap closing, for Ulster this means imporving strength in depth in the squad and performing consistently. Based on the past couple of seasons, and last year in particular, Ulster have improved vastly on both fronts.
They were the side to beat in both the domestic and European front for the first two thirds of the season.
Things did get a little tricky after losing to Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, but they prevailed in the PRO12 to top the league competition.
Both of those reflect consistency and strength in depth, given the horrendous number of key players who were injured at any given time.
Leinster crashed out of the Heineken Cup as holders at the pool stages.
However, at the end of last year’s long campaign they were able to field almost two different squads for the Amlin Challenge Euro Cup and the PRO12 campaign, going on to win both.
For good measure their ‘A’ team were crowned British & Irish Cup champions.
Ulster may still have a bit to go yet!