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The Toyota Cheetahs will become the first southern hemisphere side ever to take part in the Guinness PRO14 championship.

The side from Bloemfontein will be making history when they take on Ulster Rugby on Friday evening at 20:35 (SA time) at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast, Ireland.

“The Toyota Cheetah players are extremely excited to join this world class championship”, said Toyota Cheetah captain, Neill Jordaan after arriving in Belfast on Wednesday.

Guinness PRO14 will for the first time play under the new Conference format which sees each team play home and away against clubs in their own Conference and then home or away against the other Conference before two more rounds that ensure all derby games are played, which formed an important part the competition up till now.

South Africans who previously played for Ulster are Johann Muller, Ruan Pienaar and Franco van der Merwe.

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A truly historic chapter will be written this weekend when the first-ever Guinness PRO14 season kicks off after the addition of the Toyota Cheetahs and the 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 Guinness PRO14 a global tournament. Round 1 also marks the first games played under the new Conference format which sees each team play home and away against clubs 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 night to face Ulster while 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 at Aviva Stadium last May.

 
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Premiership and Championship players will take part this season in the development of a new pitch-side test to diagnose concussion and brain injuries.

Saliva and urine samples will be collected during the new campaign, after studies showed they could provide swift indicators of head injuries.

It could lead to a handheld device to assess if a player is fit to play on.

 “We are keen to give it our full support,” Premiership Rugby’s Corin Palmer said.

During matches in 2017-18, players with confirmed or suspected concussion will provide saliva samples immediately following the injury and will give follow-up samples as they go through the return-to-play protocol.

These will be compared to players from the same game who did not suffer head injuries and those who had other injuries.

The study will run alongside the existing Head Injury Assessments, but if the results support those found in laboratory tests, it could eventually see tests being carried out pitch-side on a device.

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Captains from the PRO14 teams posing in Dublin

The Guinness PRO14 official launch gave a sneak peek of this year’s final venue as media gathered at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

After the Scarlets claimed the 2016/17 title in style last year in the Irish capital, the first-ever Guinness PRO14 final will take place at the same ground.

For Guinness PRO14 Chief Executive Officer Martin Anayi, it offers the championship some stability at a time of expansion with the introduction of two South African teams, the Southern Kings and the Toyota Cheetahs, as well as a conference system.

And Anayi believes using the Aviva Stadium will pay dividends for the clubs in the long-term, while offering a top class stadium for the showpiece final.

He said: “It’s an amazing facility, it’s an iconic venue and we do great business here. That’s important when you understand our model. Our model is to give revenue back to the clubs to be competitive on the pitch.

“The final from last season and this final coming up in 2018 will allow us to deliver as much revenue as we can in this season of great change for the good. A little bit of stability goes a long way.”

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The Cheetahs will face a tough start to life in the Guinness Pro14 as they kick off with two games against Irish opposition in Ireland. They are due to play their opening fixture on Friday the 1st of September against Ulster in Belfast and then play last season’s finalists Munster the following weekend.

The Kings start their PRO14 journey on the road in Wales against reigning Champions Scarlets during the weekend of 1st to 2nd September and then make the short hop to Gallway in Ireland to face Connacht the following weekend.

Both teams return home for the matches during the weekend of 15th to 16th September with the Cheetahs getting a bit of a reprieve as they host Italian team Zebre while things get tougher for the Kings as they play against Leinster in their first home game of the tournament.

The last weekend of September will see Bloemfontein play host to the Ospreys who will be the first Welsh team to make the overnight flight to South Africa in the PRO14. This is all if the scoop from a local publication ahead of the official fixture announcement next week is accurate.

 

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Celtic Rugby and the South African Rugby Union have today confirmed that the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings will join an expanded Guinness PRO14 tournament in time for the upcoming 2017/18 season.

A long-term strategic agreement has been signed by both parties which will allow the participation of two South African franchises in the renamed Guinness PRO14 Championship.

The agreement means that the Championship will take place across the northern and southern hemispheres and marks the first phase of expansion as the Guinness PRO14 becomes a truly global tournament.

This move will contribute to the drive for ever higher standards that we demand across the tournament and provide greater resources to our clubs who will compete in the most testing environment the Championship has ever created.

We can also reassure supporters across the Championship that all current home and away Derby games have been protected – these fixtures are sacrosanct to the tournament and those tribal rivalries are just one element of what makes the Guinness PRO14 so special.

With a new format, new teams and new audiences the Guinness PRO14 – which leads World Rugby statistics for Positive Play – will hit even greater heights in 2017/18.

 
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Scottish Rugby is developing a performance pathway with French club Stade Nicois to provide wider opportunities for Scottish players.

For the coming season five players will be based in Nice and will provide playing and coaching resources for the Federale 2 team.

Former Glasgow Warrior centurion Peter Murchie ended his association with the Scotstoun based club at the end of last season and will be developing his coaching with Stade Nicois.

Joining him is former Glasgow Warrior Tyrone Holmes who will be starting a new career path in strength and conditioning with the French club.

On the playing front Scotland U20 players Josh Henderson and Bruce Flockhart are currently in pre-season training with Stade Nicois with a view to playing there in the forthcoming season. Former London Scottish hooker David Cherry has also signed for the club.

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The shadow sports minister has urged the Rugby Football Union to reconsider its decision not to renew the contracts of England’s women’s XV players.

In a letter Dr Rosena Allin-Khan tells chief executive Ian Ritchie of her “deep concern”.

Despite England preparing to defend the World Cup next month, the RFU said its focus will switch to the sevens game after the tournament.

“To make this decision is deeply disappointing,” wrote Allin-Khan.

“Asking players to pause and resume their professions every two years puts their futures at considerable risk.”

The RFU, which announced record revenues last year of more than £400m, said its priorities shift between the XVs and sevens programmes, with the World Cup Sevens and Commonwealth Games taking place next year.

It said the England XV side will continue to take part in competitions, and that it has invested millions of pounds in the women’s game, including £800,000 annually on a new domestic competition aimed at increasing and improving the talent pool available for selection for England.

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Scotland Women 7s squad got off to a flying start under new Head Coach Scott Wight. Not only did they win the Rugby Europe Women’s Sevens Trophy, they also gained promotion to the Grand Prix competition next season.

They were unbeaten in both rounds in the Czech Republic and Hungary and cruised past the opposition to score 485 points in 12 games, while conceding just 12 points.

Wight said: “At the first tournament I started the same seven but after Hungary it showed where they are as a squad because I didn’t have the same starting seven once showing the depth of the squad.

“Before the Czech Republic I was probably more nervous than I was at the final at Twickenham. When you’re playing you’re in total control, you can make the calls, you know you’re fit whereas with coaching you’ve done all the work beforehand.”

Wight, who started working with the squad in April as Scotland 7s season came to and end, selected a mix of youth and experience for the first outing and kept the same 12 for the second round.

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Nigel Owens

Rugby union referee Nigel Owens reveals his struggle with eating disorder bulimia nervosa is not over and remains an ongoing battle.

There have been a number of ‘firsts’ in my life.

As a referee in world-class rugby, one of the most macho sports on the planet, I was the first in the sport to come out as being gay.

In the hope of reaching out to other young people struggling with mental health, I was also one of the first sportsmen to speak openly about the biggest regret of my life – a suicide attempt.

Early one morning at the age of 26, I left a note for my mum and dad, both of whom had been hugely supportive of me, explaining I couldn’t carry on, that I desperately wanted to bring it all to an end.

I took an overdose, laid down on a Welsh mountainside and waited to die. Doctors later told me I was just 20 minutes from death when I was airlifted to hospital by a police helicopter.

So I got a second chance. I was determined not to waste it and using my experience to help someone else is a pretty good way of ensuring that.

Which brings me onto another ‘first’; I’ve spoken about dealing with bulimia in the past but have never before revealed that to this day I continue to struggle with an eating disorder.

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Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs are set for September start up north

It is understood a deal to expand the Pro12 to 14 teams from next season has been agreed.

The South African sides Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings will join the league after losing their Super Rugby status.

The 6-year deal is likely to benefit the league to the tune of an extra £6m per season from the South African Rugby Union and additional television income.

All elements of the deal have been agreed and, once legally ratified, could be formally announced next week.

The new Pro14 league will kick-off in the first week of September and will comprise 2 conferences of 7 teams. Each conference will have 1 Scottish side, 1 South African side, 1 Italian side and 2 each from Wales and Ireland.

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All Blacks (12) 15 / 15 (6) B & I Lions (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions did battle in the Lions Tour of 2017 at

Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 UK Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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As they prepared to do battle against South Africa in 1997, Jim Telfer told his pack of forwards that very few players get to “reach for the top of Everest” by winning a Lions Test series. The number of Scots to sample that rarefied atmosphere in the two decades since is significantly fewer still.

On the most iconic tour of the professional era, the Lions tamed an almighty Springboks outfit, with Scottish stalwarts Tom Smith, Rob Wainwright, Gregor Townsend and Alan Tait all starting Tests as the world champions were handed a 2-1 series defeat.

Four years later Smith started all three Tests in Australia – as he had in South Africa – but was the only Scot to make the starting XV during the series. If that was bad, worse was to follow.

On the tours to New Zealand in 2005, South Africa in 2009 and Australia in 2013, not a single Scot started a Test. Indeed, only three players appeared off the bench in those series.

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The Cheetahs and the Kings will not play Super Rugby in 2018. SA Rugby confirmed the news on Friday, with the Cheetahs having agreed to a settlement.

Both the Kings and the Cheetahs agreed that they would be seeking other international opportunities, with a move to the Pro12 in Europe reportedly an option.

The Cheetahs had an agreement in place to play Super Rugby until 2020, but the board of the franchise decided on an amicable settlement with SA Rugby.

“The board of the Cheetahs has reviewed the team’s future and is extremely positive about the prospect of appearing in alternative international competitions,” Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster said.

“It will be an exciting challenge for our players, supporters and commercial partners and will be the start of a new chapter for rugby both in our region and in South Africa. Also, it will allow the Cheetahs to carve out a new and prominent place on the rugby map in South Africa as well as internationally.”

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Brandon Thomson to return to Scotstoun

Stormers fly-half Brandon Thomson will return to Glasgow Warriors on a permanent contract ahead of the 2017/18 season, subject to medical.

The 22-year-old impressed during a short loan spell earlier this year and will return to Scotstoun on a two-year deal within the next couple of months.

Thomson played three times for Glasgow and scored a try on his debut against Ulster.

He can play at fly-half and full-back and has scored 26 points for the Stormers in seven Super Rugby appearances.

Thomson has also represented South Africa U20 at the Junior World Rugby Championship and has played for Western Province in the Provincial Cup and Currie Cup.

His current Stormers teammates Huw Jones and Oli Kebble will also join this summer and other additions to the squad include Adam Hastings from Bath, Callum Gibbins from the Hurricanes, Lelia Masaga from the Chiefs and Samuela Vunisa from Saracens.

Brandon Thomson said: “I’m very excited to be heading back to Scotstoun. I really enjoyed my short stint there earlier in the year and I’m looking forward to many more good times.

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Scotland’s Autumn Test match against current World Champions, the All Blacks, has sold out in record time, Scottish Rugby has announced.

The match against New Zealand is part of new Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend’s first home series and the match at BT Murrayfield is only the second ever sell-out for an Autumn Test game, with the previous one also featuring the All Blacks back in 2012.

As they prepare to face the British & Irish Lions in the final decider this weekend, the All Blacks will return to Scotland on Saturday 18 November for the first time since 2014, when they narrowly beat their hosts 24-16.

BT Murrayfield, which has a capacity of 67,144, will also see Scotland play Samoa on 11 November and recent rivals Australia on 25 November in the three match series.

Following the success of the Scotland Season Pass and Autumn Test Packages, sales of which have broken all records over the last few weeks, the remaining individual seats for all three 2017 Autumn Tests went on sale yesterday – Monday 3 July – and the New Zealand game sold out before the close of business, making it the fastest selling game in recent history.

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All Blacks (9) 21 / 24 (9) B & I Lions (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions did battle in the 2017 Tour at

Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 UK Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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South African teams Cheetahs and Southern Kings are set to join the Pro12 as early as September 2017.

The two sides are expected to be cut by South African rugby union authorities from Super Rugby on Friday, 7 July as the southern hemisphere competition is reduced from 18 to 15 teams.

That will pave the way for them to join teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy in a 14-team league.

The new format is set to start for the 2017-18 season.

Celtic Rugby Limited – which governs the Pro12 – Cheetahs, Southern Kings and the South African Rugby Union have all been contacted by BBC Wales Sport but declined to comment.

Teams will play on a home and away basis but what has yet to be agreed is the format of the competition, whether it will be played as one 14-team league or more likely two conferences of seven.

There has been speculation the South African sides could play some of their home matches in the United Kingdom, with Saracens’ Allianz Arena mooted as a potential venue.

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Hurricanes (7) 31 / 31 (23) B & I Lions (Final Score)

The Hurricanes and the British & Irish Lions did battle in Super Rugby 2017 at

Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 UK Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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All Blacks (13) 30 / 15 (8) B & I Lions (Final Score)

The New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions did battle in Super Rugby 2017 at

Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 UK Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Los Pumas (13) 25 / 35 (18) England (Final Score)

Argentinian Los Pumas and England did battle in The June Internationals 2017 at

Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao Lopez, Santa Fe, Argentina at 21:15 SA Time (16:15 Arg Time, 20:15 UK Time, 19:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Maori All Blacks (10) 10 / 32 (12) B & I Lions (Final Score)

The New Zealand Maori All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions did battle in Super Rugby 2017 at

the International Stadium, Rotorua, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 UK Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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Highlanders (10) 23 / 22 (10) B & I Lions (Final Score)

The Highlanders and the British & Irish Lions did battle in Super Rugby 2017 at

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 08:35 UK Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

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USA (7) 19 / 55 (29) Ireland (Final Score)

The United States of America and Ireland did battle in The June Internationals 2017 at

Red Bull Arena, Newark, New Jersey, USA at 23:05 SA Time (17:05 USA Time, 22:05 UK Time, 21:05 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Pumas (17) 34 / 38 (13) England (Final Score)

The Argentinian Los Pumas and England did battle in The June Internationals 2017 at

Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario, San Juan, Argentina at 21:15 SA Time (16:15 Arg Time, 20:15 UK Time, 19:15 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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June Internationals 2017

British & Irish Lions 2017

 

Hi,

We have 2 NEW SuperBru Pools for all to join!

  • The British & Irish Lions 2017 tour to New Zealand starts on Saturday (3 June 2017) when the New Zealand Barbarians host the British & Irish Lions at Northlands Events Centre in Whangarei, so hurry up and do not delay to register and pick for it!
  • The June Internationals of 2017 starts on 10 June, so register for that too!

We have opened our Pools up to all readers of Rugby-Talk.com, but we encourage you to register as a subsciber on Rugby-Talk.com anyway, as our banter and commenting about our Pools will mostly take place here on the website and not on the SuperBru banter boards! It is so easy to register and such fun to discuss rugby here.

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