Ulster Rugby vs Ospreys

We are delighted that the Guinness PRO12 has become a key rugby sponsorship for Diageo and we look forward to working with Guinness in growing our competition further into the future. Their long association with rugby union has been apparent in everything they do. We are grateful that they hosted our season launch at their world HQ in Park Royal and will host our Awards Dinner in the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin on Sunday 8th May next year. We’re all looking forward to another great season of rugby ahead and the Guinness PRO12 will continue its year-on-year growth and development. In 2014/15 the Guinness PRO12 had record crowds overall at almost 1.2 million, with a new league attendance record set of 52,762 at Judgement Day III, who saw a decade record 5,480 points scored including 587 tries - 4.35 on average per match – so lots of entertainment and excitement all year ! Last season, with the introduction of the new meritocracy for European Champions Cup qualification, we had more competitive games at all stages of the tournament. Going into Round 22, 10 of our 12 teams were fighting for Play-Offs, top six automatic Champions Cup places, the seventh place playoff place, and the Italian head-to-head contest for the final European slot. We wish our new Managing Director Martin Anayi and his enhanced experienced administrative team well in their endeavours to grow the tournament. I believe that this new appointment is indicative of the confidence and the optimism the Board has in the progress the Guinness PRO12 is expecting to make in this new season, building on last year’s hugely successful season in particular and on the firm foundation that has been set in recent years. The continued support of our other partners Specsavers and Rhino Rugby is recognised as a key component in our growth as a competition. We again thank our very strong suite of broadcasters, our newest broadcast partner Sky Sports together with BBC -Alba, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales, S4C, TG4 and we are also delighted to welcome back Rai Sport in Italy. Congratulations to Ulster on their recent opening of the splendid Nevin Spence Centre, do visit it soon if you can. A wonderful facility and a worthy tribute. Both Ulster and Ospreys just missed out on reaching the 2015 Final here in the fabulous Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, losing narrowly in last season’s Play-Offs to Glasgow and Munster respectively. Both teams start the hard work of improving on last season tonight and it should be a very entertaining game. We acknowledge the excellent work of all of our match officials and disciplinary officers and wish them all well for the season ahead. We hope our four countries have had an excellent summer preparation and wish them all a long, fruitful and successful participation in the Rugby World Cup 2015. The ongoing support of the media in promoting our sport and our competition is key to the development of the Guinness PRO12 and we look forward to continuing and enhancing our work together. To you the fans, we extend a very warm welcome back to the Guinness PRO12, your support of your Club is key. Have a great season !

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