The provinces, who are all busily working through their pre-season programmes at present, now know their first opponents in the new GUINNESS PRO12 which gets underway in early September.
The release of the PRO12 fixtures is eagerly anticipated by players, coaches and fans alike each year, and today’s announcement – coupled with confirmation of new sponsors GUINNESS coming on board – created plenty of buzz.
Anthony Foley’s first competitive match in charge of Munster will see them host Edinburgh at Thomond Park, while Connacht will also have home advantage against the Dragons in round 1.
Defending champions Leinster will renew rivalries with Glasgow Warriors, making the trip to Scotland to face the team they defeated in last season’s league decider.
Meanwhile, Ulster, who have interim director of rugby Les Kiss due to start on July 19, will be hoping to make a winning start away to the Scarlets.
The first Irish interprovincial derby of the new league run will be Connacht v Leinster at the Sportsground on September 19/20/21, with Matt O’Connor’s men due to host Munster at the Aviva Stadium on October 3/4/5.
The traditional derby tussles over the Christmas and New Year period will also be mouth-watering – the 2014 calendar year ends with Munster v Leinster and Ulster v Connacht, while 2015 will burst into life with Ulster visiting the RDS Arena and Munster making the trip up to Galway.
The PRO12 play-offs have been pencilled in for May 22/23/24 with the final taking place over the weekend of May 29/30/31.
PRO12 Tournament Director David Jordan said: “The kick-off times for the first half of the season will be issued shortly, I for one can’t wait to watch last season’s top two go into to battle as Glasgow Warriors set to with Leinster in the opening weekend.
“The many highlights of the GUINNESS PRO12 season include the games over the Christmas holiday period, where the celebrated derbies are among the feast of rugby that we are all looking forward to next season.”
The GUINNESS PRO12 season will be launched in late August. Click here for the full fixtures for the 2014/15 campaign.