The RaboDirect Pro 12 came into being for season 2012/13 as RaboBank took over from Magners. The new deal is for 4 years and cements the new larger league that includes teams from Ireland ( Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster, Italy (Aironi and Treviso)looking for their shirts check them out under the european page, Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow and Wales (Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets. The sponsors are also known for their tie up with the Melbourne Rebels, the latest additional franchise in the Super 15.
The Celtic League or the Magners League as it was previously known for sponsorship reasons, is an annual rugby union competition involving regional sides from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and now Italy. It is one of the three major leagues in Europe, along with the English Guinness Premiership and the French Top 14. However it differs significantly in that there is no promotion or relegation.
The Celtic League was created in 2001 when an agreement was made between the Irish Rugby Football Union, Scottish Rugby Union and Welsh Rugby Union to create a new competition which would bring in the four Irish provinces. Prior to this Wales and Scotland had joined forces for the 1999 and 2000 seasons, with the expansion of the Welsh Premier Division to include Edinburgh and Glasgow under the name Welsh-Scottish League. The current format of the Magners Celtic League sees 4 Irish Provincial sides, 3 Scottish and 4 Welsh making up the 11 this is a significant reduction for the original 15 which followed the regionalizing of the Welsh Clubs.
The Celtic League runs between September and May. But avoids playing games during the traditional international weekends in November and during the Six Nations Championship. The Welsh, Irish and Scottish rugby unions now use the Celtic League to decide on European qualification and seeding, for the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup. Clubs in the Welsh Union may also qualify for the Heineken Cup through success in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
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