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GUINNESS PRO12: Round 1 Preview

GUINNESS PRO12: Round 1 Preview

The road to the GUINNESS PRO12 final in Dublin on May 27, 2017, begins this weekend as a new season opens up with Connacht defending their title which they won against Leinster just three months ago.

Last year saw an historic season where positive play was the hallmark of the league as the GUINNESS PRO12 saw the fewest penalties conceded of all three top European leagues and the tournament also registered a decade-high 602 tries in the regular season.

Thanks to the introduction of meritocracy, all six matches in round 22 of the 2015/16 season would had an impact on the PRO12 play-offs and qualification for the Champions Cup. No team can afford to get left behind as every one of the 132 regular season games counts in the battle to become PRO12 champions.

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Friday, September 2 –

LEINSTER v Benetton Treviso, the RDS, 7.35pm (live TG4)

Ospreys v Zebre, Liberty Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Wales)

ULSTER v Newport Gwent Dragons, Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland)

Saturday, September 3 – 

Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, 7.35pm (live S4C/BBC ALBA)

CONNACHT v Glasgow Warriors, the Sportsground, 5.15pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)

Scarlets v MUNSTER, Parc y Scarlets, 3pm (live Sky Sports 1 HD)

On Saturday, defending champions Connacht will host 2015 title winners Glasgow Warriors live on Sky Sports 1 where the lively atmosphere of the Sportsground will provide an animated backdrop of colour and passion to this season opener.

It will be the third successive fixture between the two teams in Galway after Connacht and Glasgow met there in round 22 last season and in the play-offs two weeks later. Both encounters provided high quality and drama in equal measure with no more than seven points the difference in each game.

TOP PERFORMERS IN 2015/16 (powered by Opta Statistics & SFMS):

Metres Gained: Tiernan O’Halloran (Connacht) 1,648
Carries: Bundee Aki (Connacht) 276
Clean Breaks: Craig Gilroy (Ulster) 32
Defenders Beaten: Bundee Aki (Connacht) 88
Most Tackles: Josh Turnbull (Cardiff Blues) 254
Most Turnovers Won: James Davies (Scarlets) 30
Try Assists: Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) & Sam Davies (Ospreys) 7 each
Top Try Scorers: Craig Gilroy (Ulster) & Matt Healy (Connacht) 10 each
Top Points Scorer: Rhys Patchell (Scarlets) 174 points
Rhino Golden Boot (accuracy for 30 or more attempts): Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues) 81.25%

For more Opta statistics, please visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/powered-by-opta/.

GUINNESS PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €;30 for adults and €;5 for children. Tickets can be booked here via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information, please visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final.