The Irish international prop's side were crowned the first Celtic champions last December when they beat arch-rivals Munster 24-20 in a thrilling inaugural final in front of a 30,000-strong Lansdowne Road crowd."With Ireland involved in three World Cup 2003 qualifying matches next month - and Leinster could have seven or eight players in that national squad, when the province play Celtic League matches against Glasgow, Connacht and Cardiff - if is going to be a lot tougher for us this time," said Corrigan. "I am sure the Welsh clubs in particular will want to make a better impression this time and we fully expect Pontypridd to be a real handful in the opening round."
However, we have some very good young players in our squad, who showed up really well in the pre-season, and, as coach Matt Williams has made it clear, he will be selecting solely on current form, they will have everything to play for when the internationals are on Irish duty."
Bill Watson, the Celtic League Chairman, said: "We are delighted this quality competition goes into its second year with a sound base on which to build upon. The Celtic identity will come through strongly as the product builds up and, with the high quality of matches in the Pool stages, it promises to be an extremely exciting tournament for all concerned. And this season we have the advantage of the whole tournament culminating before the start of the Six Nations."
CELTIC LEAGUE 2002 / 2003 - ROUND 1. Friday, 30 August. POOL A.Neath v Caerphilly, (7.00). Colin Saunders (W).>Edinburgh v Swansea (Meadowbank), (7.30)Alain Rolland (I).
POOL B.Newport v Bridgend, (7.05). Andy Ireland (S). -BBC W. Borders v Connacht (Selkirk), (7.30). Nigel Owens (W).Leinster v Pontypridd, (7.35). Tony Spreadbury (E). - TG4.
Saturday, 31 August, POOL A.Llanelli v Munster , (7.05). Iain Ramage (S). - S4C
POOL B.Cardiff v Glasgow, (2.30). Simon McDowell (I).