2014–15 Pro12

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2014–15 Pro12
Countries Ireland Ireland
 Italy
 Scotland
 Wales
Date September 2014 – May 2015
Official website
www.rabodirectpro12.com

The 2014–15 Pro12 (also known as the Guinness Pro12 for sponsorship reasons) will be the 14th season of the professional rugby union competition originally known as the Celtic League, the fifth with its current four country format.

It will be the first season to be referred to as the Pro12 to not have RaboDirect as the title sponsor, having been replaced by Guinness[1][2]

Leinster are the defending champions having beaten Glasgow Warriors in the previous season's playoff final, to become the first team in the league to successfully retain the trophy.[3]

The twelve competing teams will be the four Irish teams, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster; two Scottish teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors; four Welsh teams, Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets; and two Italian teams, Benetton Treviso and Zebre.

Changes for the season[edit]

All countries[edit]

With the Heineken Cup being replaced by the 20 team European Rugby Champions Cup in the 2014–15 season, the Pro12 table will have a greater impact on qualification. Though the qualification was decided by the league table in the 2013–14 season, teams were not aware this would be the case until April 2014.

Under the previous format, the Pro12 provided a minimum of ten teams, with Scotland and Italy providing two teams each, and Ireland and Wales both providing four. The new system sees one place now being reserved for the highest finishing Pro12 team from each of four participating countries and three other qualifiers based solely on league position, for a total of seven teams. The other teams will be entered in the new second tier competition, the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

Starting in the 2015–16 competition the 20th tournament spot will be decided by a playoff involving the Pro12's two highest finishing teams that have not already qualified, the seventh highest finishing club from France's Top 14 and the seventh highest finishing club from the English Premiership.[4]

Ireland[edit]

Connacht will enter the season with a new captain following the forced retirement of Craig Clarke due to persistent concussions.[5] They will also be without the playing services of former captain and centurion Gavin Duffy, whose contract was not renewed the previous season. It was later announced that he was taking up a role with the province's commercial team.[6]

Leinster will enter the competition without the services of long serving player Brian O'Driscoll, who retired at the end of the 2013–14 season, for the first time. O'Driscoll had played in every previous season of the league.[7] They will also be without last year's captain Leo Cullen on the playing field, as he too has retired and will be taking up the role of forwards coach.[8]

Following the departure of last year's head coach Rob Penney, who has taken up a role with the Japanese side NTT Shining Arcs, Munster will be coached by former player and previous season's forwards coach Anthony Foley.[9] Foley will be joined in the coaching staff by his fellow former Munster players Mick O'Driscoll and Jerry Flannery, as well as Cork Constitution head coach Brian Walsh.[10][11]

Ulster enter the season with their home stadium, the Kingspan Stadium redeveloped, with the stadium's capacity having been increased to 18,196. In June 2014, David Humphreys left his post as the province's Director of Rugby, joining English Premiership side Gloucester.[12] Later that month, it was announced that head coach Mark Anscombe would also leave the province "with immediate effect". It was also announced that Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss would fill in as Ulster's Director of Rugby on an interim basis.[13] In addition to the change of coaching staff, Ulster will also enter the season with Rory Best reinstated as captain, following the retirement of Johann Muller at the end of the previous season.[14] [15]

Italy[edit]

Despite threats during the previous season that the team would be pulled out of the competition, Benetton Treviso return for their fifth season in the league.[16] Following the resignation of Franco Smith during the course of the previous season, Umberto Casellato will take over as the side's head coach. Casellato joins the side from Zebre where he had served as assistant coach.[17][18]

Scotland[edit]

Edinburgh enter the season following the departure of a number of experienced players, including Geoff Cross, Nick De Luca, Greig Laidlaw and Ross Rennie. The departure of Laidlaw means Edinburgh will come into the season with a new captain. Edinburgh' home ground of Murrayfield will be resurfaced by the time the new season begins, following an infestation of nematodes a type of parasitic worm.[19] In addition to being resurfaced, Murrayfield will be renamed under a naming rights agreement with the BT Group. The deal will see the ground referred to as 'BT Murrayfield Stadium'.[20]

Wales[edit]

Beginning this season the BT Group will be the main sponsor on the shirts of three of the four Welsh teams, sponsoring Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets, while Cardiff Blues will have their home stadium of Cardiff Arms Park renamed under a deal with the group, which will see it referred to officially as 'BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park'.[20]

Cardiff Blues enter the season under new leadership, with Mark Hammett coming in as director of rugby. Dale McIntosh and Paul John stay on as coaches under him. Hammett joins from New Zealand Super Rugby franchise, the Hurricanes.[21] The Blues will be without Leigh Halfpenny, whose departure to Toulon was announced in January 2014.[22] Wales captain Sam Warburton is expected to continue playing with the side as the first centrally contracted player in Wales, having signed a deal with the Welsh Rugby Union in January 2014.[23]

Newport Gwent Dragons enter the season with a new captain. Former Lions player Lee Byrne takes over from Andrew Coombs on his return from the Top 14. Byrne had played for Clermont Auvergne since 2011. He has previously played for rival regions Scarlets and Ospreys.[24]

Like most regions, Ospreys enter the season having lost experienced international players. Ian Evans and Richard Hibbard are among the players to have departed, with the pair joining Toulon and Gloucester respectively.

Scarlets enter the season with a new head coach, following Simon Easterby's exit. Easterby left the side to become forwards coach to Ireland, working under Joe Schmidt.[25] His replacement is Wayne Pivac, with the New Zealand native joining the region from ITM Cup side Auckland. Scarlets are also without the services of one of the previous season's joint captains Jonathan Davies. Davies departs to join French side Clermont Auvergne.

Teams[edit]

Team Coach /
Director of Rugby
Captain Stadium Capacity
Italy Benetton Treviso Italy Umberto Casellato TBA Stadio Comunale di Monigo 6,700
Wales Cardiff Blues New Zealand Mark Hammett TBA BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park 12,500
Ireland Connacht Samoa Pat Lam Ireland John Muldoon Galway Sportsgrounds 9,500[a]
Scotland Edinburgh South Africa Alan Solomons TBA BT Murrayfield 12,464[b]
Scotland Glasgow Warriors Scotland Gregor Townsend TBA Scotstoun Stadium 10,000
Ireland Leinster Australia Matt O'Connor TBA RDS Arena
Aviva Stadium
18,500
51,700
Ireland Munster Ireland Anthony Foley Ireland Peter O'Mahony Thomond Park
Musgrave Park
26,500
9,251
Wales Newport Gwent Dragons Wales Lyn Jones Wales Lee Byrne Rodney Parade 11,676
Wales Ospreys Wales Steve Tandy Wales Alun Wyn Jones Liberty Stadium 20,532
Wales Scarlets New Zealand Wayne Pivac TBA Parc y Scarlets 14,870
Ireland Ulster Australia Les Kiss (interim) Ireland Rory Best Kingspan Stadium 18,196
Italy Zebre Italy Andrea Cavinato TBA Stadio XXV Aprile 5,000
  1. ^ Galway Sportsgrounds normal capacity is 7,500 but can be expanded to 9,500 with the addition of temporary seating.
  2. ^ Although Murrayfield's full capacity is 67,800, only the lower section of the West Stand, with a capacity of 12,464, is generally opened for Edinburgh fixtures.

Table[edit]

Pro12 Table watch · edit · discuss
Team Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Italy Benetton Treviso 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Wales Cardiff Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Ireland Connacht 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Scotland Edinburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Scotland Glasgow Warriors 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Ireland Leinster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Ireland Munster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Wales Newport Gwent Dragons 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Wales Ospreys 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Wales Scarlets 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
11 Ireland Ulster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 Italy Zebre 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:[26]

  1. number of matches won;
  2. the difference between points for and points against;
  3. the number of tries scored;
  4. the most points scored;
  5. the difference between tries for and tries against;
  6. the fewest number of red cards received;
  7. the fewest number of yellow cards received.
Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places, and earn a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup. Blue background indicates teams outside the play-off places, that earn a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup. The top team from each country will qualify. Yellow background indicate the two highest placed teams which have not already qualified automatically for a place in the Champions Cup; they will advance to a play-off against the seventh-place teams from the French Top 14 and English Premiership. If the 2014–15 European Rugby Challenge Cup winner has not already qualified, it will participate in the play off by taking a place given to its league.[27] Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

Fixtures[edit]

All times are local.

Round 1[edit]

5 September 2014
19:35
Munster Ireland v Scotland Edinburgh

5 September 2014
19:35
Ospreys Wales v Italy Benetton Treviso

6 September 2014
14:40
Scarlets Wales v Ireland Ulster


6 September 2014
17:15
Glasgow Warriors Scotland v Ireland Leinster

7 September 2014
17:00
Zebre Italy v Wales Cardiff Blues

Round 2[edit]


12 September 2014
19:35
Edinburgh Scotland v Ireland Connacht

12 September 2014
19:35
Newport Gwent Dragons Wales v Wales Ospreys

12 September 2014
19:35
Ulster Ireland v Italy Zebre

13 September 2014
14:40
Leinster Ireland v Wales Scarlets

Round 3[edit]

19/20/21 September 2014
Scarlets Wales v Italy Benetton Treviso

19 September 2014
19:30
Munster Ireland v Italy Zebre

19 September 2014
19:35
Cardiff Blues Wales v Ireland Ulster

19 September 2014
19:35
Connacht Ireland v Ireland Leinster


21 September 2014
16:00
Ospreys Wales v Scotland Edinburgh

Round 4[edit]

26 September 2014
19:35
Edinburgh Scotland v Wales Scarlets

26 September 2014
19:35
Glasgow Warriors Scotland v Ireland Connacht

26 September 2014
19:35
Leinster Ireland v Wales Cardiff Blues

27 September 2014
16:00
Zebre Italy v Ireland Ulster

27 September 2014
18:30
Munster Ireland v Wales Ospreys

Round 5[edit]


3 October 2014
19:35
Ulster Ireland v Scotland Edinburgh

3 October 2014
20:35
Zebre Italy v Wales Ospreys

4 October 2014
18:30
Leinster Ireland v Ireland Munster


Round 6[edit]


10 October 2014
19:35
Munster Ireland v Wales Scarlets


11 October 2014
16:00
Zebre Italy v Ireland Leinster

11 October 2014
17:05
Ulster Ireland v Scotland Glasgow Warriors

12 October 2014
16:00
Ospreys Wales v Wales Cardiff Blues

Round 7[edit]

31 October/1/2 November 2014
Scarlets Wales v Italy Zebre

31 October/1/2 November 2014
Ulster Ireland v Wales Newport Gwent Dragons


31 October 2014
19:35
Leinster Ireland v Scotland Edinburgh

31 October 2014
19:35
Ospreys Wales v Ireland Connacht

Round 8[edit]

21/22/23 November 2014
Newport Gwent Dragons Wales v Ireland Munster

21 November 2014
19:35
Connacht Ireland v Italy Zebre

21 November 2014
19:35
Scarlets Wales v Scotland Glasgow Warriors

21 November 2014
19:35
Ulster Ireland v Wales Ospreys


23 November 2014
16:00
Edinburgh Scotland v Wales Cardiff Blues

Round 9[edit]


28 November 2014
19:35
Munster Ireland v Ireland Ulster

29 November 2014
16:00
Zebre Italy v Scotland Edinburgh

29 November 2014
17:15
Leinster Ireland v Wales Ospreys

29 November 2014
19:30
Connacht Ireland v Wales Scarlets

Round 10[edit]


19 December 2014
19:35
Edinburgh Scotland v Italy Benetton Treviso

19 December 2014
19:35
Leinster Ireland v Ireland Connacht

20 December 2014
14:40
Glasgow Warriors Scotland v Ireland Munster

20 December 2014
17:15
Ospreys Wales v Ireland Ulster

21 December 2014
16:00
Newport Gwent Dragons Wales v Italy Zebre

Round 11[edit]

26/27/28 December 2014
Ulster Ireland v Ireland Connacht


26/ December 2014
17:00
Munster Ireland v Ireland Leinster

27 December 2014
14:40
Glasgow Warriors Scotland v Scotland Edinburgh

27 December 2014
16:00
Zebre Italy v Italy Benetton Treviso

27 December 2014
17:15
Ospreys Wales v Wales Scarlets

Round 12[edit]


1 January 2015
17:00
Connacht Ireland v Ireland Munster


2 January 2015
19:35
Edinburgh Scotland v Scotland Glasgow Warriors

3 January 2015
14:40
Leinster Ireland v Ireland Ulster

3 January 2015
17:05
Scarlets Wales v Wales Ospreys

Round 13[edit]


9 January 2015
19:35
Connacht Ireland v Scotland Edinburgh



10 January 2015
16:00
Zebre Italy v Ireland Munster

Round 14[edit]

13/14/15 February 2015
Edinburgh Scotland v Wales Ospreys

13/14/15 February 2015
Leinster Ireland v Wales Newport Gwent Dragons

13/14/15 February 2015
Munster Ireland v Wales Cardiff Blues
TBA

13/14/15 February 2015
Scarlets Wales v Ireland Connacht

13/14/15 February 2015
Ulster Ireland v Italy Benetton Treviso

13/14/15 February 2015
Zebre Italy v Scotland Glasgow Warriors

Round 15[edit]


20/21/22 February 2015
Edinburgh Scotland v Ireland Ulster

20/21/22 February 2015
Glasgow Warriors Scotland v Wales Ospreys

20/21/22 February 2015
Leinster Ireland v Italy Zebre

20/21/22 February 2015
Newport Gwent Dragons Wales v Ireland Connacht

20/21/22 February 2015
Scarlets Wales v Ireland Munster

Round 16[edit]

27/28 February/1 March 2015
Cardiff Blues Wales v Scotland Edinburgh

27/28 February/1 March 2015
Connacht Ireland v Italy Benetton Treviso

27/28 February/1 March 2015
Munster Ireland v Scotland Glasgow Warriors
TBA

27/28 February/1 March 2015
Ospreys Wales v Ireland Leinster

27/28 February/1 March 2015
Ulster Ireland v Wales Scarlets

27/28 February/1 March 2015
Zebre Italy v Wales Newport Gwent Dragons

Round 17[edit]





6/7/8 March 2015
Ospreys Wales v Ireland Munster

6/7/8 March 2015
Scarlets Wales v Ireland Leinster

Round 18[edit]


27/28/29 March 2015
Leinster Ireland v Scotland Glasgow Warriors

27/28/29 March 2015
Munster Ireland v Ireland Connacht
TBA

27/28/29 March 2015
Ospreys Wales v Italy Zebre

27/28/29 March 2015
Scarlets Wales v Scotland Edinburgh

27/28/29 March 2015
Ulster Ireland v Wales Cardiff Blues

Round 19[edit]


10/11/12 April 2015
Connacht Ireland v Ireland Ulster

10/11/12 April 2015
Edinburgh Scotland v Ireland Munster



10/11/12 April 2015
Zebre Italy v Wales Scarlets

Round 20[edit]



24/25/26 April 2015
Edinburgh Scotland v Italy Zebre

24/25/26 April 2015
Munster Ireland v Italy Benetton Treviso
TBA


24/25/26 April 2015
Ulster Ireland v Ireland Leinster

Round 21[edit]

8/9/10 May 2015
Leinster Ireland v Italy Benetton Treviso




8/9/10 May 2015
Ulster Ireland v Ireland Munster

8/9/10 May 2015
Zebre Italy v Ireland Connacht

Round 22[edit]



15/16/17 May 2015
Connacht Ireland v Wales Ospreys

15/16/17 May 2015
Edinburgh Scotland v Ireland Leinster


15/16/17 May 2015
Munster Ireland v Wales Newport Gwent Dragons
TBA

Play-offs[edit]

Semi-finals[edit]

22/23/24 May 2015
1st v 4th
TBD

22/23/24 May 2015
2nd v 3rd
TBD

Final[edit]

29/30/31 May 2015
TBD v TBD
TBD

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RaboDirect to pull sponsorship of Pro12". The Score. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pro12: Guinness named as league's new sponsor". BBC. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Leinster retain Pro12 title in fine style". RTÉ Sport. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "European rugby dispute resolved with creation of the Champions Cup". Irish Independent. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Connacht confirm Craig Clarke retirement after repeated concussions". The Score. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Connacht re-sign Gavin Duffy… to work on their commercial team". The Score. 5 June 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Brian O’Driscoll confirms retirement at the end of the season". Irish Independent. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  8. ^ "Leo Cullen confirmed as Leinster forwards coach for next season". Irish Independent. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "Foley Confirmed As Next Head Coach". munsterrugby.ie. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Munster to bring former lock Mick O’Driscoll into coaching set-up next season". The Score. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Munster confirm roles for Jerry Flannery and Brian Walsh in Foley’s backroom". The Score. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "David Humphreys leaves Ulster for Director of Rugby position at Gloucester". The Score. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Mark Anscombe follows Humphreys out Ulster’s exit door with immediate effect". The Score. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Johann Muller raised the bar, but it was time to go". Belfast Telegraph. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Rory Best relishing return to Ulster captaincy". Irish times. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Italian Rugby Side Benetton Treviso Says It Will Quit RaboDirect Pro12 In June". Sports Business Daily. 12 February 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "Franco Smith leaves Treviso earlier than expected". ESPN Scrum. 5 December 2013. 
  18. ^ "Umberto Casellato è la nuova guida del Benetton Treviso". Olimpi Azzurra. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Edinburgh invite fans onto Murrayfield pitch, but warn of ‘parasitic worm’". The Score. 21 March 2014. Retrieved 5 June. 
  20. ^ a b "BT Sport secure naming rights for Murrayfield in latest sponsorship move". The Score. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 5 June. 
  21. ^ "Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett confirmed as the new Cardiff Blues director of rugby on three-year deal". Wales Online. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  22. ^ "Leigh Halfpenny: Wales and Lions full-back confirms Toulon move". BBC Sport. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  23. ^ "Wales captain Sam Warburton signs WRU central contract". BBC Sport. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Former Clermont and Lions star Lee Byrne named Dragons captain". The Score. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  25. ^ "Easterby confirmed as forwards coach in Schmidt’s Ireland set up". The Score. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 1 August. 
  26. ^ Competition Rule 3.5 "Summary of Key Rules". Pro12. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "Future of European Rugby resolved" (Press release). RFU. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 11 June 2014.