Ulster Rugby v Benetton Rugby

After 44 tries were scored in Round 8, this weekend’s slate of games has a lot to live up to as Guinness PRO14 games take place across Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Wales. Across both Conferences there are some tasty fixtures in store with teams vying to stay in contention for the Final Series knock-out berths and the Champions Cup Play-Off. In addition to the Championship’s increased competitiveness this season, the introduction of the South African teams has brought a truly unique element to the Guinness PRO14. We can see the fans’ response to this due to the healthy increase in attendances this season with eight of our clubs attracting even more supporters to our games. It’s also really pleasing to let you know that we have announced Gullivers Sports Travel as our Official Supporter Travel Partner for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series. Whether you’re already planning to visit Dublin for this season’s Championship decider or keen to register your interest in following your team through the Guinness PRO14 Final Series then check out www.gulliverstravel.co.uk to ensure you are first in the queue when it comes to tickets, flights and hotels. Our Final takes place in Dublin on 26th May and as ever it is bound to showcase some of the best international talent from the Guinness PRO14. This month we’ve seen over 100 players involved in the international window and I’d like to congratulate the 14 players from our Championship who’ve made their Test debuts in the past couple of weeks. Last season we saw close to 300 international players appear in the Championship, including 26 of the British & Irish Lions squad, and in the past 12 months over 60 players have gone on to earn their first international cap which is a great mark of the quality that exists in the Guinness PRO14. Clearly, there is an abundance of international talent in the Guinness PRO14 and each round we’re also watching the next generation emerge – at today’s game you could be watching the next Stuart Hogg, Conor Murray, Sam Warburton, Carlo Canna or Francois Venter emerge. That’s a fantastic quality for any tournament to boast and we’re rightly proud of that. Of course, the calibre of those players is one of the reasons why our Positive Play stats – among the best in Europe – are looking good again this season. Already our teams, their coaches and players are producing almost six tries a game as they continue to play ambitious and attractive rugby. Now that we have introduced the Quarter-Final round and the Champions Cup Play- Off game to the Guinness PRO14 Final Series, we’re creating an extended knock-out stage where more teams will be involved and more drama will unfold in these ‘win or go home’ games. Most finals provide a healthy dose of tension but our Championship Final also has a reputation for thrilling play which is clear to see from the style in which Scarlets, Connacht, Glasgow Warriors and Leinster have won the past four deciders. Since 2014, the Championship Final has played to sold-out crowds or set new attendance records as it has grown into an occasion that no rugby fan wants to miss. A record crowd witnessed Scarlets’ title victory in Dublin last season and with the first-ever Guinness PRO14 Final coming to Aviva Stadium on May 26 you can be there to witness history. With our Early Bird offer fans can secure their place in Dublin well in advance of the Guinness PRO14 Final on www.ticketmaster.ie where prices start at €5 for children and €30 for adults. Don’t miss out. Enjoy the game. Martin Anayi Chief Executive Officer

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