Celtic League / Pro12
It is an annual competition involving twelve professional sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
Wales and Scotland had joined forces since the 1999/00 seasons, with the expansion of the Welsh Premier Division to include Edinburgh and Glasgow to form the Welsh-Scottish League.
In 2001, an agreement was made between the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) and Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) to create a new competition: the Celtic League.
Ireland decided that it would be represented by the 4 regional professional franchises.
Scotland decided that it would be represented by the 2 regional professional franchises. In 2002/03 season Border Reivers were added but they were dropped in 2007.
Wales was represented in the first two seasons by Welsh Premier Division teams. In 2003, after regionalization, it was decided that the 5 regional professional franchises would have played Celtic League. After only one season, however, the Celtic Warriors were dropped, leaving Wales with 4 teams.
In 2009 it was decided that 2 italian teams would have joined the league in two years. Since 2010/11 Aironi and Benetton Treviso played for the first time. Aironi were dropped after two years for financial problems and were substituted by Zebre.
In 2011/12, to reflect the partecipation of non celtic sides, the name was changed in Pro12.
After the 2014 reform of european cups. Pro12 qualifies 7 teams to Champions Cup and 1 team to Champions Cup playoff. The remaining teams are qualified for Challenge Cup.
The 7 teams are selected as follow:
- The best irish team
- The best italian team
- The best scottish team
- The best welsh team
- The three best team not yet qualified
www.pro12rugby.com (former www.rabodirectpro12.com and former www.magnersleague.com) - Pro12 official site.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pro12 Wikipedia pages about Pro12.