The RaboDirect Pro 12 League, formerly known as the Magners League, and before that as the Celtic League is one of three European rugby union professional leagues, which accommodates teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy. Like many leagues before them the winners were always decided by the team who finished the season with the most points, however like the Aviva Premiership, the winners are now decided by a play-off format, with the top four teams at the end of the league fixtures, playing against each other in a knock out format.
The top team will play the fourth team and the runners up will play the third team. Obviously the two winning teams will meet each other in the Grand Final, the venue for which is selected by the highest placed team at the end of the league phase.
For the upcoming, two new teams from Italy, Benetton Treviso and Aironi will be added making it a league of 12 teams in total.
the Irish, Welsh and Scottish teams use the league as the determinate to enter European qualification while the Italians will use it for Heineken Cup qualification.
The teams by country are as follows:
Leinster were stunned by Ospreys in the final of the Pro 12 as they lost 31-30 despite starting the match as odds on favourites. Shane Williams scored a late try to seal victory for the Welsh region in what was final match of the Welsh legend's career before retirement.
The Aviva Premiership is the English version of the Magners League and is contested between the top twelve rugby union clubs in England. Needless to say that Leicester start the season as favourites but they have some very tough opposition, particularly from Northampton Saints, Saracens, Harlequins and a resurgent Bath.
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