The 12 captains from the Guinness PRO12 teams in London for the launch
The Guinness PRO12 was launched at the Diageo Headquarters in Park Royal, London on Tuesday with all 12 clubs' captains and coaches in attendance, including new Director of Rugby Mark Hammett and captain Matthew Rees from Cardiff Blues.
The season will kick off next week Friday, 5 September with Munster versus Edinburgh Rugby and Ospreys versus Treviso, while Glasgow Warriors will host last year's champions Leinster at Scotstoun in a replay of the 2014 final on Saturday, 6 September. The other fixtures on the first weekend are Scarlets versus Ulster and Connacht versus Dragons before Blues complete the opening weekend with an away trip to Zebre on Sunday.
This year's Guinness PRO12 promises to have added spice with the new European competition qualification system. A total of 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 5th consecutive year for both match attendance and TV audiences in 2013/2014.
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, videos.
In addition, a new Guinness PRO12 app, which will be available on all platforms and downloadable in the coming days.
Thank Blues it's Friday! The weekend will be starting HERE on Friday night as Cardiff Blues tackle Ulster in the Guinness PRO12 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park - and we want you to be our guest at our big match day party!
Let the Games Begin! Cardiff Blues launch the Guinness PRO12 season on home soil this Sunday afternoon against Glasgow Warriors (kick-off 4pm) - and we are going to make it a double celebration as we also recognise the achievements of Team Wales!
First team aces Cory Allen, Lloyd Williams, Ellis Jenkins and new signing Jarrad Hoeata were all on hand to watch the next generation of stars when Cardiff Blues held a huge Under-8s Tag Rugby tournament at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Second half tries from Dan Tuohy and Ian Humphreys saw Ulster claim the Friday night points on offer as Cardiff Blues suffered a 26-9 defeat to the impressive Irish province at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Clinical Glasgow Warriors produced a devastating final 20 minutes to secure the points on Super Sunday and consign battling Cardiff Blues to a 33-12 defeat in the Guinness PRO12 opener at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
Impressive Cardiff Blues pushed English powerhouse side Leicester Tigers all the way with an hugely encouraging performance as final preparations for the new Guinness PRO12 season continued at Welford Road.