2011 September 2
Rugby prepares for one of the busiest seasons in yearsRugby prepares for one of the busiest seasons in years
Many rugby fans all over Europe and the world will be looking to get their hands on rugby jumpers as one of the busiest seasons in recent memory gets set to kick off. With regional leagues struggling to find time to fit in not only the RBS Six Nations but also the Rugby World Cup this season, there will be plenty of opportunities for rugby fans to show their true colours.
They'll also have plenty of chances to support their teams in a wealth of different leagues, cups and competitions.
This year will also see the renaming of the 'Magners League', as the cider brand pulls out of sponsoring the Celtic League. Instead, it looks to be called the 'RaboDirect Pro 12'. The teams, however, will remain the same; featuring four Welsh, four Irish and two from both Scotland and Italy.
As ever, the Six Nations tournament will take place at the beginning of the year, where England will try to retain its crown - but not before the World Cup is contested. This year sees the championship return to the Southern Hemisphere, with hosting duties falling on perennial rugby-playing nation New Zealand. Despite concerns over whether New Zealand's prime stadium and the venue for the final would be ready in time for this winter's tournament, stadium trustee John Morrison told stuff.co.nz: "It has now met all the requirements and everyone is happy.
"We are in good shape."