It’s now nearly the middle of August and sports gambling fans can start to turn their attentions to the winter sports. The Irish football season is of course well underway, but many Irish football gambling fans will also join the worldwide audience for the English Premier League which starts next weekend. It is also not long before rugby gambling enthusiasts also get their first taste of a new season with the first matches in the RaboDirect PRO 12 starting on the 6th September amid high hopes of repeated success for the Irish teams. Leinster and Ulster start their campaigns with away matches against Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons respectively, followed on the 7th by Connacht and Munster both with home games against Zebre and Edinburgh. Irish fans of gambling on rugby will also note that the fixtures have been announced for this season’s Heineken Cup, another tournament which is historically a happy hunting ground for Irish teams. First matches are scheduled for the 11th and 12th October with Connacht and Ulster at home to English sides Saracens and Leicester Tigers, both tough opening games, and Leinster and Munster starting with away games against Ospreys and Edinburgh. Fans of gambling on rugby will know that Heineken Cup games against other teams in the RaboDirect League can be tricky because of the familiarity with each other’s games. Looking further forward into November the national side will start their traditional autumn series of internationals with Samoa first up followed by Australia and New Zealand. These three tough matches should provide Irish rugby gambling enthusiasts with a fair idea of Ireland’s prospects in next year’s Six Nations tournament and their build up to the 2015 world cup. The end of the summer always marks a big change of emphasis for sports gambling fans, and let’s hope we have cause for celebration come the end of the rugby season.