Like last season, the upcoming PRO12 tournament promises to bring as much excitement with the opportunity for European Champions Cup qualification.
Speaking ahead of the new season, Connacht head coach Pat Lam said:
“We’re hugely excited to get started in the PRO12. Like last year our ultimate goal this season is to qualify for next year’s Champions Cup and so we must finish in the top 6 of the PRO12. That means every game and every point is so important from round 1 to through to 22.
“We were hugely disappointed to finish just short of achieving our goals last season but we also have a lot of belief now about what we can do this year. Last year we brought up a lot of young players from our Academy and we’ll be expecting those guys to step it up another level again this season.”
Launching the new season, Gerald Davies, Chairman, PRO12 Rugby, stated:
"Every game counts in the Guinness PRO12! With the introduction of meritocracy for European Champions Cup qualification, we had more competitive games at all stages of the tournament last year. We also had a sixth year of year-on-year growth on attendance, with record crowds of almost 1.2 million (up 4.65%) and a new league attendance record set of 52, 762 at Judgement Day III, who saw a record 5, 480 points scored – including 587 tries (4.35 on average per match) so we had lots of entertainment and excitement all season long!
Davies continued: "The highest number of international players – 254 international players from 14 countries – played in the Guinness PRO12 last season and we wish all of them selected this year the very best in the forthcoming Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. We hope that our four countries have had an excellent and ongoing summer preparation, and wish them all a long, fruitful and successful participation in RWC 2015!"
The Guinness PRO12 2015/16 season will kick off next week on Friday 4th September with Edinburgh Rugby v Leinster, Connacht v Dragons and Ulster v Ospreys. Last year's Guinness PRO12 Champions Glasgow Warriors will host Scarlets on Saturday 5th September and later that day Munster will host Benetton Treviso in Cork. The early Sunday afternoon fixture sees Cardiff Blues take on Zebre Rugby.
An updated fixtures list is online at www.pro12rugby.com - http://www.pro12rugby.com/matchcentre/fixtures_list.php#Fp4sddogHA2BJtvC.97