RaboDirect PRO12 log leaders Glasgow Warriors face second-placed Munster in a tantalising top-of-the-table clash at Scotstoun on Friday.
As the competition gets back into full swing with Round Six this weekend after a successful European double header, it’s clear that the Pro12 is going from strength to strength.
Glasgow Warriors maintained their winning start to the PRO12 with a hard-fought victory over Scarlets in Wales on Saturday evening.
Edinburgh Rugby will welcome the return of captain Greig Laidlaw this Sunday as they look to repeat last season’s away success against Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (6 October, kick-off 3.05pm South African Time). The 27-year-old scrum-half – who kicked the winning drop-goal on that day last year – has recovered from the knee injury that has kept him side-lined since the summer to make his first competitive outing of the season.
Fly-half Duncan Weir returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Scarlets at Parc Y Scarlets tomorrow night, after almost six months out through injury.
The 22-year-old, who broke his leg against the Ospreys at Scotstoun last April, is one of ten changes to the team which beat Zebre in Parma last Friday.
As the Pro12 enters Round Four, Glasgow Warriors – the last remaining team with a 100 percent winning record – are in action in Parma on Friday night when they face Zebre.
Having waited so long for their first win in the competition, the Italian outfit will have their work cut out to make it back-to-back victories as table-topping Warriors have already defeated champions Leinster and last season’s runners up Ulster so far this season.
Captain Al Kellock returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile in Parma tomorrow (Friday 27 September). The second-row was stretchered off in the opening game against Cardiff Blues three weeks ago, but has recovered to take his place in the team.
Edinburgh Rugby front-row forwards Geoff Cross and Aleki Lutui will start their first match of the season against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm South African Time)
Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend has named his line-up to take on PRO12 champions Leinster at Scotstoun on Friday night (kick off 8.30pm South African Time). In total Gregor Townsend has made five changes and one positional switch to the side that defeated Ulster at Ravenhill last Friday.
Leinster and Munster will look to solidify themselves as early pace-setters in Round Two of the Pro12 this weekend. These two teams were the only sides who collected maximum points from their first-round Pro12 games, between them running in ten of the 22 tries that were scored last weekend.
Stuart Hogg, Ryan Grant, DTH van der Merwe and Josh Strauss all return to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Ulster at Ravenhill tonight, Friday 13 Septemeber, kick-off 8.05pm South African Time.
Gregor Townsend’s squad kicked off their new season with a 22-15 win over Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun Stadium last Friday and now face last season’s RaboDirect PRO12 finalists in Belfast. The Warriors were the last Scottish team to win at Ravenhill back in December 2009.
Wingers Tim Visser and Nikki Walker will bookend the back division when Edinburgh Rugby face Dragons at Murrayfield Stadium tonight, Friday 13 September, kick-off 8.45pm South African Time.
The outing will double as Walker’s debut for the club since signing in the summer; with the club hoping the pair, currently second and fourth in the league’s all-time top try-scoring chart, will add firepower to the side.
The RaboDirect PRO12 is back and so is our weekly PRO12 preview, which takes the spotlight off the capital club and pans across the division.
Ahead of the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 season on September 6, we preview the fortunes of each side.
They strode down the Grand Stairway into the Titanic Suite one by one, the captains of the RaboDirect PRO12 all kitted out in battledress and ready for action stations.
The new season of RaboDirect PRO12 rugby is nearly upon us and despite seeing several top players leave the league and opt to take up a contract in the Top 14, the 12 sides in the Celtic competition have had a busy summer as they look to bolster their resources. Several top internationals have decided to give the PRO12 a shot and we have picked out a selection of eye-catching transfers in the latest Scrum Sevens.
PRO12 chief executive John Feehan has shrugged off the loss of title sponsor RaboDirect and insists the competition is thriving. Dutch banking group RaboDirect announced earlier this month that they would not be extending their support of the Celtic and Italian league beyond this season – their third as the main title sponsor having succeeded Magners in 2010.
Edinburgh Rugby have been very busy on the recruitment front in the closed season following a very disappointing 2012 / 13 season. Numerous players of varying experience have been brought in, with Australasia proving a particularly attractive source region to the club.
We are all well aware of the host of South African rugby players who are plying their trade outside of South Africa. For this article we venture into the land of make belief and choose a squad made up entirely of players with South African connections playing in the current season’s RaboDirect Pro12 competition. – The ‘Raboboks’
After 22 rounds and two play-off games, the 2012/13 Pro12 season wraps up on Saturday with the Final at the Royal Dublin Society. It is, appropriately, between first and second seeds, Ulster and Leinster.
Leinster (11) 17/15 (10) Glasgow Warriors
After 132 games over 22 rounds just four of the 12 participating teams now go forward to the knock-out phase in the quest to find the RaboDirect Pro12 champions of 2012/13.
With just four points separating the top three teams who have already qualified for the Pro12 play-offs, no-one can yet be certain of their position in the table.
A man who has steered his club to the most league titles in Celtic rugby has today been appointed to the position of Scotland forwards coach.
Jonathan Humphreys, the former Welsh hooker and captain, will join the Scotland management ahead of the quadrangular tournament with Samoa, South Africa and Italy in June. He will be on a two year contract.
Benetton Treviso are on course for their highest-ever RaboDirect PRO12 finish but head coach (former Springbok flyhalf) Franco Smith insists he is not concerned about the final table.
The RaboDirect PRO12 is in line to record its best ever attendances since the competition changed to a home and away format ten seasons ago.
It was all change yet again at the top of the Pro12 table following Round 20, with Ulster retaking the top position, whilst Glasgow Warriors slipped to third.
And with just two rounds left, and a maximum of 10 points on offer, five teams are still vying for the four play-off places.
Round 17 of the Pro12 kicks off with five games on Friday, with both contenders for the top spot in action.
Leaders Ulster, who have been at the top since round five, welcome Benetton Treviso to Ravenhill whilst Glasgow Warriors host Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.
With just seven rounds left in the regular season of the PRO12, the race is really on for a top four finish, and qualification for the play-offs. In the pick of the games this weekend first plays second when leaders Ulster travel to face Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun on Friday night.
With a pause in the international matches, the Pro12 takes centre stage again this weekend with games in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
First up on Friday night table toppers Ulster welcome Zebre to Ravenhill. The leaders will be keen to get back to their winning ways having suffered only their second defeat in this season’s campaign at the hands of Ospreys last week.
While most of the attention up north should be on the internationals with this being weekend two of the 2013 RBS 6 Nations let us not forget that we also have round fourteen of the RaboDirect Pro12 competition to look forward to.