Tournament History

The RaboDirect Pro12 began life on 17th August 2001 to fill the need for regular competitive gametime for the Irish, Scottish and Welsh professional rugby teams.

Back then the league was known as The Celtic League and in the inaugural season saw 15 teams contest the title Wales (9), Ireland (4) and Scotland (2). Teams were split into two pools playing each other once with three points for a win and one for a draw. The top four in each pool qualified for the knockout stages of Quarter finals, semi-finals and finals.

Brewery Field hosted the first ever match between Bridgend and Pontypridd, which the visitors won 27-19, whilst Pontypridd’s Richard Johnston scored the first ever league try after ten minutes


30,000 supporters descended on Lansdowne Road to see Leinster beat Munster 24-20 in the final.


Munster, at their second time of trying, lifted the cup by defeating Neath 37-17 in the final which was played in the Millennium stadium.


A 12 team Celtic Cup competition was introduced with Ulster taking the spoils. IN the league Ulster also made the final but a 23-16 defeat to Llanelli Scarlets put paid to their double hopes.


With the demise of Welsh region the Celtic Warriors, the league was restructured. Munster won the Celtic Cup with a 27-16 victory over Llanelli Scarlets. In the League the Ospreys took the spoils defeating Edinburgh 29-12 on 26th March 2005.


Ulster lifted the League Cup after a tense 19-17 victory over the previous holders, the Ospreys. The Northern Province pipped the Scarlets by a single point when Ulster outhalf David Humphreys struck a fantastic drop goal in the dying minutes of the game.


Magners became the title sponsor and for the next 5 years the tournament was known as the Magners League. In this season the Ospreys became the first team to win the League for the second time courtesy of a 24-16 win over the Border Reivers. Ospreys finished the league on 64 points with the Blues on 63 and Leinster on 61.



This season the league was reduced to 10 teams with the disbandonment of Scottish side the Border Reivers. Leinster stormed the Magners League taking the top spot in November and remaining in pole position for the remainder of the season. Leinster finished on 61 points with Cardiff Blues the nearest challenger on 56 points.


Like the Ospreys and Leinster, Munster took their second title in 2009 claiming the title with a game in hand. Munster finished on 63 points, with Edinburgh beating Leinster into second place on 55 points with Leinster in third place on 52 points.



In further moves to align itself with other professional rugby tournaments around the world, Celtic Rugby introduce end of season play-offs to determine the Magners League Champions with the top four teams qualifying for the knockout stage.

27 December 2009: Dan Parks becomes the first ever player to score 1000 Magners League points and is presented with a crystal boot to commemorate the occasion.

14-15 May 2010: The first ever Magners League Play-Offs take place, an all Irish affair between Leinster, who have led the league table since Round 13, against Munster with second placed Ospreys hosting Glasgow Warriors.

29 May 2010: Ospreys take a third league title by winning the inaugural Magners League Grand Final, beating Leinster 12-17 at the RDS.




The 10th season of the tournament saw the Magners League expanded to four nations as Italy joins Ireland, Scotland and Wales in a 12-team cross-border competition; the agreement paving the way for the introduction of two new Italian super sides, Benetton Treviso and Aironi Rugby.

The tournament consist of a 22 weekend league stage, when all twelve teams will play each other on a home and away basis, with the top four teams at the end of the season qualifying for the Play-Off semi-finals and final. The Grand Final was played on 20th May 2011 with Munster taking the title after defeating Leinster 19-9 at Thomond Park


RaboDirect became title sponsors of the League which will now be known as the RaboDirect Pro12