Guinness confirmed as new sponsors of Pro 12 as fixture list released
October date for Leinster’s clash with Munster at the Aviva stadium – Pro 12 fixture list for 2014-2015
Pro 12 holders Leinster celebrate defeating Glasgow Warriors in the final last season. Photograph: Inpho
JOHN O’SULLIVAN The official announcement of Guinness as the new sponsors of the Pro 12 tournament took place in tandem with the release of the fixtures for the 2014-2015 season but the changes extend beyond much further than the name above the door, so to speak, of the competition.
Celtic Rugby’s four year television deal with Sky Sports will mean that all the games in the Pro 12 will no longer be available on terrestrial television. In practical terms, for example only one of matches between Leinster and Munster will be screened live on RTE or TG4.
Sky Sports have the option of screening either the game at the Aviva stadium (weekend of October 2nd/3rd/4th) or the clash at Thomond Park (December 26th/27th/28th) live on their network. There are entitled to do for one of the two games in every head-to-head between the teams in the tournament.
To watch club rugby in the Northern Hemisphere from next season on a comprehensive level, will require a financial investment - Sky Sports, BT Sport - from a television subscription perspective or a trip to the pub.
Guinness succeed Dutch on line bank RaboDirect, who had given their name to the competition for the past three years, penning a two year deal with an option to extend that contract.
The Diageo owned brand already boasts a high profile in rugby, both in Ireland and globally, through their sponsorship of the Irish internationals in the November Test series at the Aviva stadium and their presence as official beer to the British & Irish Lions, Rugby World Cup and the English Premiership to name but three.
The opening weekend of next season’s Guinness Pro 12 offers a repeat of last year’s final between Leinster and the Glasgow Warriors at the RDS; albeit that this game takes place in Scotstoun.
Munster host Edinburgh on the same weekend, Ulster, under interim coach Les Kiss travel to the Scarlets, while Connacht welcome the Newport Gwent Dragons to the Sportsground.
One of the competition’s biggest rivalries gets a first airing when Leinster host Munster at the Aviva stadium on the first weekend in October. Munster face Ulster at Thomond Park on the last weekend in November.
The Christmas period once again throws up a host of interprovincial matches starting with Leinster’s clash with Connach at the RDS (December 20th/21st/22nd). Munster welcome Leinster to Thomond Park (December 26th/27th/28th) on the same weekend that Ulster face Connacht.
On the first weekend in January 2015 (2nd/3rd/4th) Leinster entertain Ulster at the RDS and Connacht are at home to Munster in Galway.
Ulster host Leinster and Munster at the newly named Kingspan stadium on successive weekends in late April and early May.
There is no break betwen the end of the league proper stage of the tournament and the playoffs with the semi-final and final following on from the last round of matches.
PRO 12 FIXTURES 2014-2015 Round One (September 6th-7th) Connacht v Newport Gwent Dragons, Glasgow Warriors v Leinster Munster v Edinburgh Ospreys v Benetton Treviso Scarlets v Ulster Zebre v Cardiff Blues Round Two (September 12th-14th) Benetton Treviso v Munster Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors Edinburgh v Connacht Leinster v Scarlets Newport Gwent Dragons v Ospreys Ulster v Zebre Round Three (September 19th-21st) Cardiff Blues v Ulster Connacht v Leinster Newport Gwent Dragons v Glasgow Warriors Ospreys v Edinburgh Scarlets v Benetton Treviso Zebre v Munster Round Four (September 26th-28th) Edinburgh Rugby v Scarlets Glasgow Warriors v Connacht Leinster v Cardiff Blues Munster v Ospreys Newport Gwent Dragons v Benetton Treviso Zebre v Ulster Round Five (October 3rd-5th) Benetton Treviso v Glasgow Warriors Connacht v Cardiff Blues Leinster v Munster Zebre v Ospreys Scarlets v Newport Gwent Dragons Ulster v Edinburgh
Round Six (October 10th-12th) Benetton Treviso v Connacht Edinburgh v Newport Gwent Dragons Munster v Scarlets Ospreys v Cardiff Blues Ulster v Glasgow Zebre v Leinster
Round Seven (October 31st-November 2nd) Cardiff Blues v Munster Glasgow Warriors v Benetton Treviso Leinster v Edinburgh Rugby Ospreys v Connacht Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons Scarlets v Zebre Round Eight (November 21st-23rd) Benetton Treviso v Leinster Connacht v Zebre Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues Newport Gwent Dragons v Munster Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors Ulster v Ospreys
Round Nine (November 28th-30th) Cardiff Blues v Benetton Connacht v Scarlets Glasgow Warriors v Newport Gwent Dragons Leinster v Ospreys Munster v Ulster Zebre v Edinburgh Round 10 (December 19th-21st) Cardiff Blues v Scarlets Edinburgh v Benetton Treviso Glasgow Warriors v Munster Leinster v Connacht Newport Gwent Dragons v Zebre Ospreys v Ulster Round 11 (December 26th-28th) Cardiff Blues v Newport Gwent Dragons Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh Munster v Leinster Ospreys v Scarlets Ulster v Connacht Zebre v Benetton Treviso
Round 12 (January 2nd-4th) Benetton Treviso v Zebre Connacht v Munster Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors Leinster v Ulster Newport Gwent Dragons v Cardiff Blues Scarlets v Ospreys Round 13 (January 9th-11th) Benetton Treviso v Ulster Cardiff Blues v Leinster Connacht v Edinburgh Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets Munster v Zebre Ospreys v Newport Gwent Dragons Round 14 (February 13th-15th) Edinburgh v Ospreys Leinster v Newport Gwent Dragons Munster v Cardiff Blues Scarlets v Connacht Ulster v Benetton Treviso Zebre v Glasgow Warriors Round 15 (February 20th-22nd) Benetton Treviso v Cardiff Blues Edinburgh v Ulster Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys Leinster v Zebre Newport Gwent Dragons v Connacht Scarlets v Munster Round 16 (February 27th-March 1st) Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh Connacht v Benetton Treviso Munster v Glasgow Warriors Ospreys v Leinster Ulster v Scarlets Zebre v Newport Gwent Dragons Round 17 (March 6th-8th) Benetton Treviso v Edinburgh Cardiff Blues v Connacht Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Newport Gwent Dragons v Ulster Ospreys v Munster Scarlets v Leinster Round 18 (March 27th-29th) Benetton Treviso v Newport Gwent Dragons Leinster v Glasgow Warriors Munster v Connacht Scarlets v Edinburgh Ulster v Cardiff Blues Ospreys v Zebre Round 19 (April 10th-12th) Benetton Treviso v Ospreys Connacht v Ulster Edinburgh v Munster Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues Newport Gwent Dragons v Leinster Zebre v Scarlets Round 20 (April 24th-26th) Cardiff Blues v Ospreys Connacht v Glasgow Warriors Edinburgh v Zebre Munster v Benetton Treviso Newport Gwent Dragons v Scarlets Ulster v Leinster Round 21 (8th-10th May) Leinster v Benetton Treviso Newport Gwent Dragons v Edinburgh Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors Scarlets v Cardiff Blues Ulster v Munster Zebre v Connacht
Round 22 (May 15th-17th) Benetton Treviso v Scarlets Cardiff Blues v Zebre Connacht v Ospreys Edinburgh Rugby v Leinster Glasgow Warriors v Ulster Munster v Newport Gwent Dragons T Play- offs (22nd-24th May) Final (29th-31st May)