Munster kick-off campaign in Cork
July 22, 2011
Munster took the 2011 Celtic League but will be without a host of first-choice players during the World Cup © PA Photos
Reigning champions Munster will start their RaboDirect Pro12 campaign against the Dragons at Musgrave Park on the weekend of September 2.
Munster took last season's Magners League title, beating perennial rivals Leinster 19-9 in the final, and the runners-up will open their campaign at the Liberty Stadium against the Ospreys.
Other clashes on the opening weekend include Heineken Cup Pool 2 sides Edinburgh and Cardiff Blues meeting at Murrayfield, Treviso hosting Connacht, Glasgow Warriors travelling to Ravenhill to face Ulster and the Scarlets taking on Aironi at Parc y Scarlets.
The competition will continue during the Rugby World Cup, but there is a two-week hiatus planned after round six.
Prior to the first round of Heineken Cup fixtures there are three major derbies - Leinster host Munster in Dublin, the Dragons face Cardiff Blues at their Rodney Parade home and the Ospreys host the Scarlets.
After just two rounds of games during the 2012 Six Nations, the play-offs will take place on the weekend of May 11, with the final two weeks later on May 26.
Round 1: (weekend of September 2)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
A preview of the 2014-15 Aviva Premiership season as we run the rule over Bath, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and London Irish
Concussion specialist Dr Ryan Kohler warns of the dangers of pushy parents who want their kids back on the field ahead of time
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes