Ulster to open Guinness PRO12 campaign away to Scarlets

Ulster will go to Scarlets for the start of their Guinness PRO12 league campaign
Ulster will go to Scarlets for the start of their Guinness PRO12 league campaign

Ulster will open their Guinness PRO12 League campaign with a trip to Llanelli to face one of their European Cup pool opponents, Scarlets, on the weekend of September 6.

The Welsh region, who just missed out on the play-offs last season in the PRO12 are keen to make their mark on the domestic front this season.

The Irish Province who finished fourth in the regular season last year and just lost out to Leinster in the semi-finals have just come through a bit of turmoil with the loss of director or rugby, David Humphreys at the start of June and then head coach, Mark Anscombe, was sacked at the end of the month.

Ireland assistant coach, Les Kiss, was appointed as interim director of rugby on a one year contract and he will also oversee coaching.

Jonny Bell (defence) and Neil Doak (backs) will continue in their roles in the coaching team while it is expected Allen Clarke will take responsiblity for the forwards.

Kiss is due to take up his role on July 19 and the squad have already been back at pre-season training since the start of July.

Ulster have a pre-season friendly at home to English Premiership side, Exeter Chiefs on August 22 and then take on PRO12 champions Leinster in Dublin’s Tallaght Stadium on Saturday, August 30.

Ravenhill was renamed the Kingspan Stadium in June and the first competitive game since that will be the PRO12 Round Two match against Zebre on the weekend of September 11.

Ulster will travel to play the Italian side two weeks later after a trip to Cardiff Blues.

The fixtures were announced on Thursday morning when organisers of the 12-club tournament also confirmed Guinness would be the new headline title sponsors.

The iconic Irish brand, owned by Diageo, has a strong history with sporting events across the world. It will mean the famous ‘Black Stuff’ will be available at all PRO12 club grounds which means Guinness will return to the Kingspan Stadium as the pouring rights are held by Heineken and Murphys Stout has been served up to fans.

As usual over the Christmas and New Year period Ulster will have two Provincial derbies, Connacht being the visitors just after Christmas and a trip to Dublin for the first game of 2015. Ulster are away to Munster at the end of November, just ahead of the middle block of fixtures in the new look European Cup competition.

Ulster are again expected to be one of the contenders for a top four finish, but they once again have a tough run-in to the end of the season.

After back-to-back home return fixtures against Munster and Leinster they complete their regular league fixtures away to Glasgow Warriors, last year’s beaten finalists, on the weekend of May 16.

This season the final will be played the weekend following the semi-finals, with the European Cup tournament’s new format having changed - the Euro final being staged at the start of May.

The Fixture planner for Ulster Rugby is:

*please note actual fixture dates, venues and times are still to be confirmed

guinness pro12 fixtures 214-15

ROUND 1 - Weekend of September 6

Scarlets v Ulster

ROUND 2 - Weekend of September 13

Ulster v Zebre

ROUND 3 - Weekend of September 20

Cardiff Blues v Ulster

ROUND 4 - Weekend of September 27

Zebre v Ulster

ROUND 5 - weekend of October 4

Ulster v Edinburgh Rugby

ROUND 6 - weekend of October 11

Ulster v Glasgow Warriors

October 18 - Heineken Cup Round 1

October 25 - Heineken Cup Round 2

ROUND 7 - weekend of November 1

Ulster v Newport Gwent Dragons

November 8 - Irish International Test 1

November 15 - Irish International Test 2

ROUND 8 - weekend of November 22

Ulster v Ospreys

Irish International Test 3

ROUND 9 - weekend of November 29

Munster v Ulster

December 6 - European Cup Round 3

December 13 - European Cup Round 4

ROUND 10 - weekend of December 20

Ospreys v Ulster

ROUND 11 - weekend of December 27

Ulster v Connacht

ROUND 12 - weekend of January 3, 2015

Leinster v Ulster

ROUND 13 - weekend of January 10

Benetton Treviso v Ulster

January 17 - European Cup Round 5

January 24 - European Cup Round 6

February 7 - Six Nations 1

ROUND 14 - weekend of February 14

Ulster v Benetton Treviso

Six Nations 2

ROUND 15 - weekend of February 21

Edinburgh Rugby v Ulster

ROUND 16 - weekend of Ferbruary 28

Ulster v Scarlets

Six Nations 3

ROUND 17 - weekend of March 7

Newport Gwent Dragons v Ulster

March 14 - Six Nations 4

March 21 - Six Nations 5

ROUND 18 - weekend of March 28

Ulster v Cardiff Blues

April 4 - European Cup quarter-finals

ROUND 19 - weekend of April 11

Connacht v Ulster

April 18 - European Cup semi-finals

ROUND 20 - weekend of April 25

Ulster v Leinster


ROUND 21 - weekend of May 9

Ulster v Munster

ROUND 22 - weekend of May 16

Glasgow Warriors v Ulster

PLAY OFFS - weekend of May 23

FINAL - weekend of May 30