It's here at last, the PRO12 season kicks off on Friday, with three tough fixtures.
The honour of hosting the first game in the competition will be shared between the Liberty Stadium and Ravenhill, where both games kick-off at 10.05.
Last season's finalists, Leinster, are the visitors to Swansea where they will be hoping to reverse the outcome of the 2009/10 Final, when Ospreys took the title.
Over in Belfast, Ulster, who reached the play-offs last season, welcome Scottish opposition in Glasgow Warriors with both teams no doubt looking for a good start to their 2011/12 campaign. The final fixture on Friday sees the second Scottish team in action when Edinburgh host the first Cardiff Blues team without Dai Young at the helm.
Reigning champions, Munster, are in action Saturday, with Newport Gwent Dragons the visitors to Musgrave Park, a venue where the home team have not lost a game in this tournament since May 2008.
There is also action in Italy on Saturday, where Connacht, who were top of the table after the first round last season, take on Benetton Treviso.
The round wraps up in Wales on Sunday when Scarlets host Aironi.
Having lost out to Italian opposition, Benetton Treviso, in the opening round in last year's competition, Scarlets will be anxious to avoid a repeat result, whilst Aironi are still looking for that elusive first away win.
We look at Round One!
Friday, September 2:
Ospreys v Leinster
(Liberty Stadium - Kick-off: 19.05, 18.05 GMT)
The 2009/10 finalists meet in the opening round of Pro12. Ospreys have begun the season at home on four previous occasions and won them all. Ospreys were semifinalists in 2010/11 despite winning just one of their last six matches: 12-10 at Aironi in round 22. The Welshmen are winless in their last two matches at Liberty Stadium but have never gone three home games in this tournament without victory.
Leinster's previous form on the opening round of a new season has seen them gain just one victory since 2002: 23-8 at home to Edinburgh in 2007. The reigning European champions lost last season's final to Munster, but won six of their last seven regular season encounters.
Ospreys have won just two of their last nine clashes with Leinster, whilst overall the Irishmen have the best record for any visiting side to Liberty Stadium, having handed Ospreys a quarter of their 12 losses at the venue in the competition.
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Cai Griffiths, 2 Mefin Davies, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Ken Dowding, 18 Joe Rees, 19 James King, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Tom Isaacs, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Sonny Parker.
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Eoin O'Malley, 12 Luke Fitzgerald, 11 David Kearney, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 John Cooney, 8 Rhys Ruddock (captain), 7 Dominic Ryan, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Damian Browne, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Jack O'Connell, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Leo Auva'a, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Brendan Macken.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Gwyn Morris, Jon Mason (both Wales)
TMO: Neill Ballard (Wales)
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors
(Ravenhill - Kick-off: 19.05, 18.05 GMT)
Ulster have won their last six matches at Ravenhill in the competition, whilst the most recent Scottish side to lower Ulster's colours at their famous ground was this weeks' opponents Glasgow Warriors on 4 December 2009.
Glasgow Warriors have been victorious in round one for the past three seasons, but finished their last campaign with three successive reversals. The Warriors recorded just one away victory last season: 17-16 at Aironi. Ulster achieved a season's double over Glasgow in 2010/11.
Ulster: 15 Adam D'Arcy, 14 Craig Gilroy, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Nevin Spence, 11 Ian Whitten, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Chris Henry (captain), 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Lewis Stevenson, 3 Jerry Cronin, 2 Andy Kyriacou, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Conor Carey, 18 Adam Macklin, 19 Neil McComb, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Ian Porter, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Peter Nelson.
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Rob Dewey, 12 Troy Nathan, 11 Colin Shaw, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Colin Gregor, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Chris Fusaro, 6 James Eddie, 5 Rob Harley (captain), 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Mike Cusack, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Jon Welsh.
Replacements: 16 Finlay Gillies, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Nick Campbell, 20 Rory Pitman, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Federico Aramburu.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Paul Haycock, John Carvill (both Ireland)
TMO: Peter Ferguson (Ireland)
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues:
(Murrayfield - Kick-off: 19.30, 18.30 GMT)
Edinburgh will be keen to start their Pro12 campaign on home soil, having won their final three games at Murrayfield last season. The Scotsmen have won their last two matches against Welsh opposition, however Edinburgh have won just once on the opening weekend since 2005.
Cardiff Blues, who play their first ever match without Dai Young at the helm, finished last season with successive defeats, both away from home, to fellow Welsh Regions – Dragons and Scarlets. The Blues have won their last seven encounters with Scottish opponents in all competitions.
The two sides met on four occasions in 2010/11 with the Welshmen victorious in each instance, whilst the Blues have an impressive won 5, lost 3 record at Murrayfield in all competitions. This is the third straight year that Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues have clashed in round one.
Edinburgh: 15 Jim Thompson, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Simon Webster, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Sean Cox, 5 Steven Turnbull, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Lewis Niven, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Kyle Traynor.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Kelly, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Esteban Lozada, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Chris Leck, 22 Gregor Hunter, 23 John Houston.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Tom James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Andries Pretorius, 7 Martyn Williams, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Deiniol Jones, 4 James Down, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas (captain), 1 Sam Hobbs.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Nathan Trevett, 18 Ryan Harford, 19 Paul Tito, 20 Maama Molitika, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Dafydd Hewitt.
Referee: Leo Colgan (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: David Changleng, Graeme Marshall (both Scotland)
Saturday, September 3:
Benetton Treviso v Connacht
(Stadio Monigo - Kick-off: 15.00; 13.00 GMT)
Benetton Treviso won two of their last three matches last season, and are looking for a third successive home victory in this Pro12 fixture. Treviso beat three of the four Irish Provinces at home last season (Ulster being the exception).
Connacht have won their opening encounter in eight of the past ten seasons. The Irishmen ended their last campaign with three successive defeats but still recorded their best finish since season 2003/04 (9th). Connacht's last seven encounters with Italian opponents in all competitions have all been won by the home side on the day.
Each side won its respective home game when Treviso and Connacht met last season, their first two meetings in any competition.
Benetton Treviso: TBC
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Marrama, Stefano Roscini (both Italy)
Munster v Newport Gwent Dragons
(Musgrave Park - Kick-off: 19.45; 18.45 GMT)
Reigning champions Munster finished last season with ten successive victories, but have begun the season at home just three times before and been victorious each time. The Munstermen's most recent home defeat in the tournament came on 24 April 2010 to Ospreys at Thomond Park.
Newport Gwent Dragons have won their opening fixture in four of the last six seasons, but lost two of their final three matches last season. The Dragons have lost their last four games against Irish provinces.
Honours were even in the two encounters between the two sides last season, with each team winning its respective home encounter, whilst the Dragons' in this Pro12 game will be hoping to add to their only previous win on Munster soil: 16-6 at Thomond Park on 12 March 2004.
Newport Gwent Dragons: TBC
Referee: Stefano Pennè (Italy)
Assistant Referees: David Wilkinson, Brian MacNeice (both Ireland)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)
Scarlets v Aironi
(Parc y Scarlets - Kick-off: 16.00; 15.00 GMT)
Scarlets finished off last season with successive wins over Glasgow and the Blues, and won three of their last four matches at Parc y Scarlets. The Welshmen's only previous loss to an Italian team was 28-34 in Treviso in round one last year.
Aironi are yet to record an away victory in any tournament since they were formed twelve months ago. The Italians slipped to eight losses in eight matches against Welsh opponents during their maiden season, and will hope to end the sequence in this Pro12 showdown.
Scarlets won both previous encounters with Aironi last campaign.
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)
Assistant Referees: Neil Hennessy, Greg Morgan (both Wales)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (Wales)
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