The Guinness PRO12 was launched at the Diageo Headquarters in Park Royal, London today with all 12 team captains and coaches in attendance.
The season will kick off on Friday week (September 5) with Munster v Edinburgh and Ospreys v Benetton Treviso, while Glasgow Warriors will host last year's champions Leinster at Scotstoun Stadium in a reeat of the 2014 final on Saturday week.
The other fixtures on the first weekend are Scarlets v Ulster, Connacht v Newport Gwent Dragons and Zebre v Cardiff Blues.
This year's GUINNESS PRO12 promises to have added spice with the new European competition qualification system. 227 international players from 14 countries will also be looking to secure a place in their national squads ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup.
The arrival of new partners GUINNESS as title sponsors and Sky Sports as broadcasters will also enrich the PRO12. Their longstanding involvement and experience in the world of rugby will no doubt enhance what is already a thriving and exciting competition.
The PRO12 experienced year on year growth for the fifth consecutive year for both match attendance and TV audiences in 2013/14.
This season, the first 13 rounds will see at least 91% of matches broadcast live in the UK and Ireland. 50% of these matches will also be broadcast in more than one territory.
The GUINNESS PRO12 social media platforms and website have grown exponentially over the last number of years and will continue to keep supporters and media fully up to date throughout the season. Some of the key features include live text commentary for 135 matches, news, imagery and videos.
In addition, a new GUINNESS PRO12 app will be available on all platforms and downloadable in the coming days.
The Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 squads had a busy Easter period with seven matches played in Ashbourne, Cardiff, Llanelli, Caerphilly and Bordeaux. Check out some of the tries scored. Full match reports are available on www.irishrugby.ie.
Speaking to RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was asked about prioritising players playing in Ireland when it comes to national selection over those who are based overseas.
In an interview broadcast on RTE Radio 1's 'Sunday Sport' programme, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the summer tour to the USA and Japan, and also looked ahead to next month's Rugby World Cup Pool Draw.
Speaking about working with the provinces and monitoring players' progress, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt told RTE Radio 1: "For us, having the best quality of performance within the provinces, getting some really good coaching from the provincial coaches, which we know is happening at the moment, that's the foundation that we need because in the end we get the players in a match week pretty much."
In an interview with RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt confirmed that Girvan Dempsey, Felix Jones and Ronan O'Gara will be incorporated into the coaching group for the upcoming summer tour to the USA and Japan.
IRFU National Talent Development Manager Hendrik Kruger says the Easter age-grade internationals give the Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 players 'the chance to represent their country and experience international rugby' and are 'the highlight of their season'.
The Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team (sponsored by PwC) played the England U-18 Counties side in the first of two matches at Ashbourne RFC this week. Check out the highlights from Wednesday's entertaining clash.
Four of our stadiums through the eyes of four Irish sporting legends. O'Driscoll on Aviva Stadium, Brogan on Croke Park, Matthews on Kingspan Stadium and O'Connell on Thomond Park. The world is invited #Ireland2023.
Irish Rugby TV caught up with flanker Sean O'Brien to get his reaction following Ireland's hard-earned 13-9 victory over RBS 6 Nations champions England. He singled out man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony for special praise.
Peter O'Mahony reflects on what went wrong for Ireland in Cardiff and tells Irish Rugby TV that he is focusing on the squad and their work this week ahead of the final Six Nations game against England.
The Ireland squad paid a visit to Monaghan last week and held an open training session in Monaghan RFC. We spoke to Andrew Trimble after the session which was attended by over 2,000 cheering supporters.