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RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster to begin defence against Scarlets
ESPN Staff
July 19, 2013
Leinster fly-half Jonathan Sexton celebrates with the RaboDirect PRO12 trophy. Ulster v Leinster, RaboDirect PRO12, RDS, Dublin, Ireland, May 25, 2013
Leinster will begin the defence of their PRO12 crown away to Scarlets © PA Photos
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The fixtures for the latest battle for PRO12 glory have been released with champions Leinster set to begin the defence of their title against one of last season's beaten semi-finalists Scarlets.

The Irish province claimed last season's title with a 24-18 victory over Ulster in Joe Schmidt's last game in charge with new coach Matt O'Connor set to guide them into the new campaign - starting with the clash at Parc Y Scarlets.

Ulster travel to Rodney Parade to tackle Newport Gwent Dragons on the first weekend of September while the other semi-finalists Glasgow play host to Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun. The fixtures also include the traditional local derbies over the festive period, whilst the final round of the regular season is scheduled for May 9/10/11. The play-offs follow a week later with the final scheduled for the last weekend in May.

Tournament director David Jordan commented: "It is ten years since the competition changed to a home and away format and four years since the introduction of the end of season play-offs. During that time a regular season pattern has emerged and we have seen increases in both attendances and viewing figures so fans are obviously enjoying the rugby that is on offer in the RaboDirect PRO12.

"In the coming season fans in the home Unions have the added excitement of the victorious British and Irish Lions players returning to their clubs to look forward to as well. Since the inception of the competition five different teams have taken the title, although interestingly no champions have ever defended their crown, Leinster will have a challenge on their hands in the coming season."

RaboDirect PRO12 Season 2013-14:

Round 1 - September 6/7/8
Benetton Treviso v Ospreys
Connacht v Zebre
Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Blues
Munster v Edinburgh Rugby
Newport Gwent Dragons v Ulster
Scarlets v Leinster

Round 2 - September 13/14/15
Cardiff Blues v Connacht
Edinburgh Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons
Leinster v Ospreys
Scarlets v Benetton Treviso
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors
Zebre v Munster

Round 3 - September 20/21/22
Benetton Treviso v Munster
Cardiff Blues v Zebre
Connacht Rugby v Ulster
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster
Newport Gwent Dragons v Scarlets
Ospreys v Edinburgh

Click here for the full fixture list

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