Ulster Rugby v Dragons

As the Guinness PRO14 season begins to settle into its groove we have another juicy round of Championship action to enjoy this weekend across all five countries. Already we can see some of the early title contenders hit their stride with four of our former Championship winners – Glasgow Warriors, Munster, Leinster and Ulster – still undefeated as they stake their claim to challenge Scarlets for the crown. Scarlets went down narrowly to Ulster last week in a super game at Kingspan Stadium, which was a great advert for the Guinness PRO14. This weekend, their rivals, Glasgow Warriors and Munster, meet on that quick pitch at Scotstoun in a clash that will likely end one team’s unbeaten start. In Italy, Benetton Rugby will host Ospreys and the Italians will be full of confidence after their come-from-behind win against Edinburgh, while Steve Tandy’s men will be on their guard after they came unstuck on their last trip to Treviso in March. The Toyota Cheetahs welcome Leinster to Bloemfontein in a game that promises plenty of attacking play. Last weekend, the Cheetahs showed their flair, scoring eight tries against Zebre in a 13-try thriller against Zebre, and given Leinster’s ambitious style of play this should be a fantastic match-up. The expansion into South Africa has brought with it the introduction of a Conference system and an extended Guinness PRO14 Final Series. The Top 3 from each Conference will qualify which gives your team an even greater chance of reaching the knock-outs and emulating Scarlets’ sensational title win. It’s also great for us to have SuperSport on board to broadcast our games in South Africa while Eurosport have also continued on as our broadcast partners in Italy which is terrific news for fans right across the Championship. In fact, their addition to our stable of broadcast partners means that the Guinness PRO14 is available in over 155 countries and territories across the world. We’ve also worked closely with our unions to schedule those Derbies away from international windows, too. Like you, we want to see the best players in the best games because we are hugely proud of the 295 Internationals who played in the Championship last season, not to mention the 26 called up for the British & Irish Lions tour. You only have to look at our recent champions in Scarlets, Connacht, Glasgow Warriors and Leinster to see the type of adventurous rugby it takes to win our title. Looking back to the previous campaign we saw a record number of tries scored (711) while crowds were up and nowhere was that more evident than at the Final at Aviva Stadium. A new record attendance saw Scarlets’ scintillating play prove too much for Munster in a game that showcased the attacking calibre of our Championship. That’s one of the reasons that makes it so exciting to bring the first ever Guinness PRO14 Final to Dublin on May 26, 2018. I’m also delighted to say we will again implement an Early Bird oŸer for fans who decide to back their teams and buy their tickets well in advance on www.ticketmaster.ie where prices start from €5 for Children and €30 for adults. Martin Anayi Chief Executive O¢cer

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