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.
Season Ticket holders at Cardiff Blues are reminded that they gain FREE entry to the British & Irish Cup pool fixtures this season - starting with Saturday's home fixture against Nottingham Rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 2.30pm).
Teenage Cancer Trust will be collecting for valuable funds at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon ahead of our British & Irish Cup fixture with Nottingham Rugby (kick-off 2.30pm). Ahead of the game, we take a closer look at the charity and discover how they are making a difference...
Cardiff Blues suffered a first defeat of the season in the European Rugby Challenge Cup as a second half burst of tries from Harlequins saw the English side claim victory at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.