The Guinness PRO14 returns to action 125 days after Leinster Rugby defended their title at Celtic Park against Glasgow Warriors and set a new record of six crowns in front of the largest crowd to ever attend a Championship decider.
Now begins a 152-game marathon that will end on June 20 in Wales when the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final takes place at Cardiff City Stadium.
With new Conference make-ups and a more intense run-in to the end of the season which now finishes in the summer, the Guinness PRO14 promises more drama than ever before.
The campaign will kick-off on South African soil for the first time as the recently crowned Currie Cup champions, Toyota Cheetahs, take on last season’s beaten finalists and 2015 champions, Glasgow Warriors, in Bloemfontein on Friday evening.
Round 1 will also boast a full slate of neutral referee appointments, a trend that will continue to at least Round 6 after the initial Match Official selections were made.
After recording four successive attendance highs for the Guinness PRO14 Final, tickets will be limited for this year’s decider at Cardiff City Stadium and fans are encouraged to take advantage of Early Bird prices to get the best seats HERE
MUNSTER RUGBY v DRAGONS
At Thomond Park, Limerick, 3pm.
Referee: Ben Blain (SRU, 3rd competition game) Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy (IRFU), Finlay Brown (SRU) Citing
Overall Guinness PRO14 head to head record: Played 30, Munster won 22, Dragons won 8.
Did you know?
- Munster reached the Guinness PRO14 semi-finals last season but were beaten at that stage by eventual Champions Leinster.
- The Munstermen lost just once in the last ten rounds of the regular season: 6-10 at Scarlets in March.
- The Irishmen have not been defeated at home in any tournament since Leinster were victorious at Thomond Park in the Guinness PRO14 on St Stephen’s Day 2017.
- Munster’s only defeat on the opening weekend in the last nine seasons of Guinness PRO14 was by a single point at home in Limerick to Edinburgh in 2014.
- Dragons 34-32 victory over Scarlets in the round 21 ‘Judgement Day’ encounter ended an eight-game winless run in the Guinness PRO14.
- Dragons have not won on the road in the Championship since a trip to Treviso in March 2015 whilst their most recent victory at an Irish province was over Leinster at the RDS Arena in February 2015.
- Munster have won their last five encounters with Dragons since the Welshmen’s 22-6 victory at Rodney Parade in December 2015, whilst Dragons only victory at Thomond Park came in March 2004.