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Sport Irish all for South African powerhouses joining Pro14

18:10  30 november  2020
18:10  30 november  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Now there’s the prospect of the South Africans being, well, too tough. Leo Cullen doesn’t subscribe to the theory that the Pro 14 is inadequate preparation for Champions Cup rugby, but that being said, while some may have misgivings about the South African heavyweights joining the competition, the

The Pro 14 hinted at further expansion into South Africa by recently adding SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux and director of rugby Rassie Erasmus to its board. From next season Eir Sport will show six live Pro 14 matches every weekend. In reaction to what increasingly looks like the South African

The Irish Rugby Football Union would be "very supportive" of the four South African Super Rugby franchises competing in what would become a Pro16 tournament said IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora on Monday.

a rugby player with a football ball: Northern hemisphere rugby would benefit if the four South African Super Rugby franchises including the Bulls and the Lions joined the Pro14 competition said Ireland's performance director David Nucifora © Christiaan Kotze Northern hemisphere rugby would benefit if the four South African Super Rugby franchises including the Bulls and the Lions joined the Pro14 competition said Ireland's performance director David Nucifora

Nucifora said the benefits of having them join what is at present the Pro14 would help develop Irish rugby and challenge the players.

Exploratory talks to add the four Super Rugby teams -- the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions -- began in September after the South African Rugby Union voted in favour of the move.

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The Cheetahs are based in Bloemfontein, South Africa and will join the Pro 14 league. Pro 12 teams are to receive €500,000 each to cover costs after accepting two South African sides into the league for this coming season, The Irish Times has learned.

South African sides Southern Kings and Cheetahs will join an expanded Pro 14 from September, organisers confirm. " South Africa is a rugby powerhouse of over 55 million people. These teams already operate to the high standards demanded by Super Rugby and they will add to the quality of

Nucifora, a 58-year-old Australian, added that the talks were at an "advanced stage" for them to join a competition that is made up of Welsh and Scottish regions, Irish provinces and Italian clubs.

Two South African teams Southern Kings and Cheetahs joined for the 2017/18 season altering it from the Pro12 to the Pro14.

However, they made little impact and withdrew at the end of last season leaving just 12 teams, although the competition opted not to change its name again.

Leinster are the dominant force having won seven titles. including the last three editions.

Nucifora, though, says that the four Super Rugby franchises would be  potential game changers, in all sorts of ways.

"Covid certainly made some changes in the Southern Hemisphere with unpicking the SANZAAR relationship and South African are looking for alternatives in their competitions," said Nucifora at a press briefing on Monday.

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South African sides Southern Kings and Cheetahs have been officially added to the expanded Pro 14 Championship from this September. Celtic Rugby and the South African Rugby Union have been in talks for several weeks about including the southern hemisphere club sides in what was formally the

“We went to the South African launch with Garry Ringrose who is a cracking fella. His eyes light up at the fact he is going to tour South Africa once a Here’s the contradiction: Philip Browne, the IRFU chief executive, is on the Pro 14 board, a key driving force behind the competition, yet he also allows

"The IRFU would be very supportive of South Africa entering the PRO14 competition and potentially making it a PRO16."

Nucifora, who has been in his post since 2014, said rugby, especially after the year it has had with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the calendar, needs to think outside the box.

"We think that Irish rugby needs to be ambitious, we think that the PRO14 needs to be ambitious," he said.

"We think that by having those four strong South African teams entering our competitions, it will help develop the game in the PRO14, it will help develop Irish rugby, it will help develop Irish players by stretching us and by challenging our teams and also our players."

Nucifora, who oversaw a largely successful spell under former head coach Joe Schmidt including two historic wins over the All Blacks and the 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam, says there are time constraints on making "those types of decisions."

"There is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment to try and see the possibility of that happening in the New Year," he said.

Nucifora said, though, it would be wise to seize the chance of getting the South Africans on board.

"If this opportunity is here now to do that, it may not always be here," he said.

"So we have to take that opportunity while it exists because whether we are ready or not, it's here and I believe it's the best thing for Irish rugby going forward."

pi/pb

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This is interesting!