A truly historic chapter will be written this weekend when the first-ever Pro14 season kicks off after the addition of the Cheetahs and Southern Kings from South Africa.
As this world class championship continues to raise the bar, the introduction of the Cheetahs and the Kings makes the Pro14 a global tournament.
Round One also marks the first games played under the new conference format - which sees each team play home and away against teams in their own conference and then home OR away against the other Conference before two more rounds that ensure all derby games are played.
The Cheetahs will be the first team from South Africa to go up against 'northern' opposition when they travel to Kingspan Stadium on Friday, to face Ulster.
The Kings face a daunting trip to Parc Y Scarlets where the men from Llanelli will play their first Championship game since winning the title in Dublin last May.
Kings coach Deon Davids, who lost an entire team of senior players from his Super squad, admitted that starting against the defending champions will be a big ask.
He spoke of "seeing the big picture" and how they can grow as a team.
"Eventually we will get there and feature a good side," Davids said.
"Going forward, everyone must understand that - if we want to grow the game in South Africa - we need to ensure the teams that play in the different tournaments must be able to compete.
"We must give exposure to players in those competitions."
There is plenty of intrigue surrounding the first fixtures of the season with Cardiff Blues and Edinburgh meeting at the Cardiff Arms Park.
It will mark the Pro14 debut of Richard Cockerill as Edinburgh coach, but each team will believe that they have ground to make up for and make a challenge to finish in the Top Three of their respective conferences.
Former Leicester boss Cockerill will have high hopes for the Scots, but Blues got off to a fast start last season and Danny Wilson will be aiming for more of the same this year.
That game is one of three inter-conference fixtures with Ulster hosting Cheetahs and Munster welcoming Benetton to Cork's Irish Independent Park. Benetton have recruited smartly during the off-season and much will be expected from coach Kieran Crowley in his second year with the Italian team.
Elsewhere, Ospreys welcome Zebre Club to Swansea in a repeat of last season's opening round fixture.
Zebre's new coach Michael Bradley will be looking to his side to leave Wales with more than they had to show for last year as they Parma-based outfit kick off their first campaign under the guidance of the Italian Federation.
Not far from Liberty Stadium, Scarlets will play their first match as defending Champions against the Kings while in Newport the Bernard Jackman era begins at Dragons where they will welcome their head coach's old team Leinster. Meanwhile, in Galway the 2015 Champions will take on the 2016 title winners when Kieran Keane and Dave Rennie (former Super coaches from the Chiefs) go head-to-head as they take charge of their new teams for the first time.
Friday, September 1
ULSTER v CHEETAHS
(Kingspan Stadium, Belfast - Kick-off: 19.35; 18.35 GMT)
Ulster finished last season in fifth place, their victory at home to Leinster in round 22 not being enough to make it through to the semifinals.
The Ulstermen have lost just once at Kingspan Stadium in the Pro12 since February 2016, and that by a single point to Munster in Round Seven last season.
Ulster have lost just once on the opening weekend of the PRO12 since 2009 when they visited Dragons in 2013.
Cheetahs will become the first Southern Hemisphere side ever to take part in the Championship.
Cheetahs recently participated in the Super Rugby competition, winning two of their last three matches, against the Sunwolves in Tokyo and fellow Pro14 newcomers, Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
They have not won three successive away games since 2013.
The two teams have never met before.
Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Tommy Bowe, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Louis Ludik, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 John Cooney, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Chris Henry (captain), 6 Jean Deysel, 5 Alan O’Connor, 4 Robbie Diack, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Kyle McCall.
Replacements: 16 John Andrew, 17 Callum Black, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Matthew Rea, 20 Sean Reidy, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Peter Nelson, 23 Darren Cave.
Cheetahs: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Clayton Blommetjies, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Cecil Afrika, 23 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon Rees (Wales), Leo Colgan (Ireland)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)
Saturday, September 2
SCARLETS v SOUTHERN KINGS
(Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli - Kick-off: 17.30; 16.30 GMT)
Scarlets, the reigning Pro12 Champions, concluded last season with seven straight victories including the final against Munster at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
The Welshmen have not lost at Parc y Scarlets in the Championship since the opening round last season when Munster were the visitors.
Southern Kings make their debut in the Championship and play only the second competition game in their history in the Northern Hemisphere, the other was only just north of the equator in Singapore against Japanese Super franchise, the Sunwolves, winning 37-23 in March 2017.
Southern Kings ended their recent Super campaign with two victories in the last three rounds, both away from home, with identical scorelines: 31-30 against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and the Bulls in Pretoria.
The two sides have never met before.
Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Dries van Schalkwyk, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Michael Willemse (captain), 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Luvuyo Pupuma, 18 Etienne Swanepoel, 19 Bobby de Wee, 20 Siyabulela Mdaka, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Ntabeni Dukisa, 23 Jacques Nel.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)