British & Irish Lions legend Gerald Davies has paid tribute to the free-flowing rugby on show so far this season in the Guinness PRO12.
In a season that finishes with the Lions Tour to New Zealand in 2017, the Guinness PRO12 has hit new heights.
An impressive 143 tries have been scored across the first five rounds which is a new record for the Championship since it first began in 2001.
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Ospreys set a new tournament record when their win over Benetton Treviso in Round 3 produced their seventh consecutive Try Bonus Point.
The Guinness PRO12 is also producing an average of five tries per game this season with Scotland international Tommy Seymour of Glasgow Warriors leading the scoring charts with seven.
The class of the Championship's Test stars has also shone through with 33 of the 47 try-scorers across Rounds 4 & 5 being international players while Ulster Rugby's summer signing All Black Charles Piutau leads the offload charts with ten.
And Davies, who toured with the Lions in 1968 and again in 1971, has loved the attacking flair on show.
"I am thrilled to see the excitement and attacking intent our teams have brought into the Championship and the brand of rugby on display is giving supporters plenty of reason to get behind their clubs, provinces and regions,” said Davies – who is also the chairman of the Guinness PRO12.
"Already, we have seen more tries scored in the Guinness PRO12 than ever before at this point in the season and that is a credit to our coaches who are developing winning cultures while also giving their players the encouragement to express themselves and back their skills.
"Too often, rugby players can be taught to avoid risk but it is wonderful to see the adventure in the play of our teams where offloads and daring skill have been on display across all five rounds. It is a matter of reducing the risk, to improve and refine the players' skills without getting rid of it.”
Coming up next is the Big Weekend as table toppers Ulster put their unbeaten record on the line against defending champions Connacht while Leinster take on Munster at the Aviva Stadium.
Big Weekend Arrives as Attendances and Viewers Increase #GUINNESSPRO12https://t.co/qjss3w614B pic.twitter.com/SurISPq9UX
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Cardiff Blues and Ospreys face off in a Welsh derby, as do Scarlets and the Dragons, while both Scottish sides face Italian opposition. Glasgow take on Zebre while Edinburgh host Treviso.
"We have seen the impact of young players such as Hallam Amos, Carlo Canna, Niyi Adeolukun and Magnus Bradbury have had on their teams,” added Davies.
“We have seen also the flair that Charles Piutau and Reynold Lee-Lo have brought to their teams in tandem with our own international players has encapsulated all that is good about the Guinness PRO12.
"Players like Tommy Seymour, Liam Williams, CJ Stander and Alun-Wyn Jones bring a great excitement and authority to the Championship and I am looking forward to our first Big Weekend to see what drama and excitement awaits.”