Aviva set to host Leinster-Munster derby clash

THE Aviva Stadium is set to host the glamour clash of Leinster and Munster in the Magners League.

Competition chiefs yesterday unveiled their fixture list for the season with the tie set for the RDS on the opening weekend of October — a week before both sides open their Heineken Cup programme against London Irish and Racing Metro 92 respectively.

However competition sources confirmed last night that ‘moves are afoot’ to play the game at the new state of the art 50,000 capacity Lansdowne Road venue.

It is understood that Leinster are also considering playing one of their Heineken Cup Pool games at the grounds also.

Champions Ospreys, who defeated Leinster in last season’s inaugural Grand final, open their title defence against Ulster in Ravenhill in early September.

Italian newcomers Aironi Rugby, will play the first competitive match in their history against Munster in either Cork or Limerick. That game will mean a quickfire return to the province for New Zealand No 8 Nick Williams, who was one of the big summer signings for the new Italian franchise.

Leinster commence their campaign away to Glasgow Warriors while Connacht will be at home to Newport at the Sportsgrounds. The introduction of the two new Italian franchises will take the number of teams in the competition up to 12 for the first time since the 2003/04 season, when Welsh rugby moved to a regional system.

The increase in numbers means four extra rounds of matches in the league phase of the tournament. In order to accommodate this some games are scheduled during the November international window and the RBS Six Nations championship.

The top four teams in the regular season will once again progress to the semi finals with the Grand final fixed for May 27. Finalised dates, kick-off times and venues, will be released after consultation with the individual teams and the Magners League broadcast partners.

Round 1, (Sept 3,4,5): Benetton Treviso v Scarlets, Cardiff v Edinburgh, Connacht v Newport, Glasgow v Leinster, Munster v Aironi (venue tbc), Ulster v Ospreys.

Round 2, (Sept 10, 11, 12): Aironi v Ulster, Edinburgh v Munster, Leinster v Cardiff, Newport v Glasgow, Ospreys v Benetton, Scarlets v Connacht.

Round 3, (Sept 17,18,19): Benetton v Leinster, Cardiff v Newport, Glasgow v Connacht, Munster v Ospreys (venue TBC), Scarlets v Aironi, Ulster v Edinburgh.

Round 4, (Sept 24, 24, 26): Benetton v Cardiff, Connacht v Ulster, Edinburgh v Leinster, Glasgow v Munster, Newport v Scarlets, Ospreys v Aironi.

Round 5, (Oct 1, 2, 3): Aironi v Edinburgh, Cardiff v Connacht, Leinster v Munster, Newport v Benetton, Scarlets v Ospreys, Ulster v Glasgow.

Round 6, (Oct 22,23,24): Cardiff Blues v Scarlets, Connacht v Leinster, Edinburgh v Ulster, Glasgow v Ospreys, Munster v Benetton , Newport v Aironi.

Round 7, (Oct 29, 30, 31): Aironi v Cardiff, Benetton v Connacht, Leinster v Edinburgh, Ospreys v Newport, Scarlets v Glasgow, Ulster v Munster.

Round 8, (Nov 5, 6, 7): Edinburgh v Benetton, Glasgow v Aironi, Cardiff v Ulster, Connacht v Ospreys, Leinster v Newport, Munster v Scarlets .

Round 9, (Nov 26, 27, 28): Aironi v Scarlets, Benetton v Ulster, Cardiff v Glasgow, Edinburgh v Connacht, Newport v Munster, Ospreys v Leinster.

Round 10, (Dec 3, 4, 5): Connacht v Aironi, Glasgow v Benetton, Munster v Cardiff, Ospreys v Edinburgh, Scarlets v Leinster, Ulster v Newport.

Round 11, (Dec 24, 26): Benetton v Aironi, Connacht v Munster, Glasgow v Edinburgh, Newport v Cardiff, Ospreys v Scarlets, Ulster v Leinster.

Round 12, (Dec 31, Jan 1, Jan 2): Aironi v Benetton, Cardiff v Ospreys, Edinburgh v Glasgow, Leinster v Connacht, Munster v Ulster , Scarlets v Newport.

Round 13, (Jan 7, 8, 9): Cardiff v Aironi, Edinburgh v Scarlets, Leinster v Ospreys, Munster v Glasgow , Newport v Connacht, Ulster v Benetton.

Round 14, (Feb 11, 12, 13): Benetton v Munster, Connacht v Scarlets, Glasgow v Cardiff, Leinster v Aironi, Newport v Edinburgh, Ospreys v Ulster.

Round 15, (Feb 18, 19, 20): Aironi v Newport, Benetton v Ospreys, Cardiff v Leinster, Connacht v Glasgow, Munster v Edinburgh , Scarlets v Ulster.

Round 16, (Feb 25, 26, 27): Aironi v Munster, Glasgow v Newport, Leinster v Benetton, Ospreys v Connacht, Scarlets v Edinburgh, Ulster v Cardiff.

Round 17, (Mar 4, 5, 6): Connacht v Benetton, Edinburgh v Cardiff, Leinster v Scarlets, Munster v Newport, Ospreys v Glasgow, Ulster v Aironi.

Round 18, (Mar 25, 26, 27): Aironi v Connacht, Cardiff v Munster, Edinburgh v Ospreys, Glasgow v Ulster, Newport v Leinster, Scarlets v Benetton.

Round 19, (Apr 1, 2, 3): Aironi v Glasgow, Benetton v Treviso, Connacht v Edinburgh, Munster v Leinster , Ospreys v Cardiff, Ulster v Scarlets.

Round 20, (Apr 15, 16, 17): Benetton v Glasgow, Connacht v Cardiff, Edinburgh v Aironi, Leinster v Ulster, Newport v Ospreys, Scarlets v Munster.

Round 21, (Apr 22, 23, 24): Aironi v Leinster, Cardiff v Benetton, Edinburgh v Newport, Glasgow v Scarlets, Ospreys v Munster, Ulster v Connacht.

Round 22, (May 6, 7, 8): Aironi v Ospreys, Benetton v Edinburgh, Leinster v Glasgow, Munster v Connacht , Newport v Ulster, Scarlets v Cardiff.

Semi finals: (May 14, 15).

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