Newport Gwent Dragons
The third round of matches in the Guinness PRO12 take place this weekend with three matches scheduled for Friday night, two for Saturday and one for Sunday.
Welsh outfit the Ospreys, who are unbeaten in the PRO12 this season, will head into round 3 at the top of the table with nine points. The only two other unbeaten teams are Glasgow Warriors and Connacht who are in 2nd and 3rd position respectively. Ulster are the other team in the top 4, courtesy of a draw and a win in their first two fixtures and they are the only team who have two bonus points for scoring four tries or more. Ulster top the try scoring list at this early stage in the competition having scored nine tries in their two matches. However, they have conceded the most tries, a handful, of the teams in the top four.
With Welsh Rugby getting ready for the competitive part of the 2014/15 season, which starts on Friday, we have a look at the big name moves, including the ins and outs at the four Welsh regions and a look at some of the player and coach movements outside the country.
Adam Jones became the biggest Welsh rugby headline-stealer with his shock signing for Cardiff Blues after being an Osprey since 2003.
But the British and Irish Lions prop’s switch after season-long speculation was not the only move to make fans sit up and take notice.
Stormers and Western Province prop Brok Harris’s departure to Newport Gwent Dragons has been confirmed.
The Welsh club confirmed on their official website that the 29-year-old has penned a 3-year deal.
The experienced front row forward has made over 90 appearances for the Stormers since making his debut in 2007 and boasts more than 100 appearances for Western Province.
Round 22 of the Pro12 promises to be a fitting finale to the regular season, with Play-Off spots and European qualification still to be settled.
As with previous seasons all 6 games will kick off simultaneously to add to the excitement and give no advantage to any team.
At the top of the table 3 teams are still in contention for the 2 home Play-Off spots and European qualification still to be settled.
The May Day weekend should provide the most intense scrutiny of the RaboDirect PRO12 table to date.
The opening fixture between Zebre and Ospreys could go a long way to answering some of the questions – a loss for the hosts would put Treviso in the driving seat for the Italian spot in next season’s European competition, whilst a loss for the visitors Ospreys, without picking up any league points, would take away their mathematical chances of making the Play-Offs .
Cheetahs lock Rynard ‘Ligtoring’ Landman has signed a three-year deal with Pro 12 side Newport Gwent Dragons.
Dragons’ Director of Rugby Lyn Jones was delighted to announce the signing which sees the 1.96m, 120 kg second row move to Wales.
With the Six Nations over the club tournament of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy takes centre stage once again as round 17 kicks off this Friday.
Having led Leinster to the Pro12 title last season, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt took the 6 Nations crown at the first time of asking in a tense finish to the Championship last weekend. Following on Ireland’s success it is perhaps appropriate that as the Pro12 returns to centre stage three of the top four teams are Irish Provinces.
After a round of games played in dreadful conditions during which yet another fixture fell foul of the weather, players and spectators alike must be hoping that Round 14 of the Pro12 fares better.
The round kicks off with two games in the Irish capitals on Friday night, one in Belfast and one in Dublin, both featuring Welsh opposition.
After just over a month out of the limelight, the focus returns once more to the Pro12 and the first of four successive rounds that could have a huge impact on the outcome of this season’s tournament.
The festive fixtures continue as return local derbies were scheduled to take place in Scotland, Wales and Italy during the Pro12’s Round 12.
Wales and Scotland were set to start the New Year with a game on New Year’s Day, as Cardiff Blues hosted Newport Gwent Dragons and after the Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland, Glasgow Warriors welcomed Edinburgh to Scotstoun. However, the game in Glasgow was called off less than an hour before kick off due to the field being waterlogged.
Welsh rugby seems set to reach a new crisis point next week as the four regions are not expected to sign a new participation agreement. The Welsh Rugby Union had set a deadline of 31 December to sign a new agreement, replacing the current five-year deal that expires in June 2014.
The traditional festive season local derbies are set to take centre stage as the Pro12 Round 11 provides an exciting escape from turkey and TV. The games in Scotland and Wales take place on Boxing Day, whilst Ireland foregoes St Stephens’ Day games and sticks to the traditional Friday and Saturday slots.
The focus returns once again to the PRO12 after two weeks of European competition, with Irish Provinces topping three of the six European Cup Pools.
Round Eight of the Pro12 kicks off on Friday night with both Scottish teams in action – early season leaders Glasgow Warriors welcoming Newport Gwent Dragons to Scotstoun, whilst Edinburgh travel to Belfast to face Ulster.
The top-of-the-table clash at Thomond Park between Munster and Ospreys on Saturday headlines Round Seven of the Pro12. Munster currently lead the pack thanks to winning one more game than Ospreys, but Ospreys have garnered more bonus points in the six rounds than their hosts, so the scene is set for an epic battle.
Wingers Tim Visser and Nikki Walker will bookend the back division when Edinburgh Rugby face Dragons at Murrayfield Stadium tonight, Friday 13 September, kick-off 8.45pm South African Time.
The outing will double as Walker’s debut for the club since signing in the summer; with the club hoping the pair, currently second and fourth in the league’s all-time top try-scoring chart, will add firepower to the side.
The RaboDirect PRO12 is back and so is our weekly PRO12 preview, which takes the spotlight off the capital club and pans across the division.
Ahead of the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 season on September 6, we preview the fortunes of each side.
The new season of RaboDirect PRO12 rugby is nearly upon us and despite seeing several top players leave the league and opt to take up a contract in the Top 14, the 12 sides in the Celtic competition have had a busy summer as they look to bolster their resources. Several top internationals have decided to give the PRO12 a shot and we have picked out a selection of eye-catching transfers in the latest Scrum Sevens.
The Cheetahs have further bolstered their backline for this year’s Currie Cup, by signing former Springbok wing Tonderai Chavanga. Incidently Chavanga also started his age group rugby with the Cheetahs, so he is also returning to his roots.
The RaboDirect PRO12 is in line to record its best ever attendances since the competition changed to a home and away format ten seasons ago.
Ruan Pienaar scored 21 points playing at flyhalf as unbeaten Ulster secured a 46-19 away Pro12 victory against the Dragons on Friday.
The fifth round of the RaboDirect Pro12 started with four matches on Friday night and the remaining two fixtures in the round being played on Saturday. This round yielded numerous surprise results, so much so that we only managed to correctly predict one out of the six results.
Wales’s four major professional clubs have agreed to operate a salary cap from the start of next season despite seeing several leading players leave for lucrative deals with French teams.
The Sharks are sweating on an injury to replacement fly half Jacques-Louis Potgieter who has been sent for scan on his calf.
The potential injury will be a big blow for the Sharks as they have already lost Patrick Lambie for about three weeks to a finger injury.
Jacques-Louis Potgieter has replaced Patrick Lambie in the Sharks team to face the Crusaders at Twickenham on Sunday.