The 2011/12 Magners League season will kick-off on the first weekend of September this year and will be played over six of the eight weeks set aside for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
After the opening six rounds of matches there will be a two-week break for the semi-finals and final of the World Cup before fixtures resume on 29 October.
There will be two more weekends of Magners League action before the European Pool matches begin on the weekend of 12 November.
There will be four rounds of matches during the seven week RBS 6 Nations window with the final league weekend coming on 5 May.The Play-Off semi-finals will follow on the weekend of 12 May with the third Grand Final being scheduled for the weekend of 26 May.
“It is obviously going to be a very busy season for rugby around the globe because of the World Cup in New Zealand and the 12 teams in the Magners League will have to launch their campaigns without their international stars,” said tournament director David Jordan.
“But this is nothing new to them, or the clubs who play in the Aviva Premiership or Top 14. Those opening six weeks of the season will give the many up and coming stars who have shown off their skills during the 2011 RBS 6 Nations period further chances to shine.
“This season we played during the two international windows and, once again, we will be playing during four of the seven weeks taken up by the 6 Nations in 2012.
“There could be as many as 100 players returning to the Magners League from the World Cup in October and they will reinvigorate the tournament when they resume domestic duties.”
Once again the top professional teams from four nations – Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales – will provide 12 teams to take part in what will be the 11th season of cross-border competition organised by Celtic Rugby.