Pro14 2018/19

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6 months 2 days ago - 6 months 2 days ago #60953 by pinky
Pro14 2018/19 was created by pinky
There's been no mention of any change in format or any surprise new teams for next season, so I assume we're going with the same rules as this season.
Based on the Q&A they released last summer the conferences will be very similar to this season's, since there's been little change in the ranking of the teams within each country.
It's likely that Leinster and Munster will swap positions, though they are on course to meet in the semi-final and if Munster can turn them over, it looks like the conferences will be the exact same as this season. Edinburgh could still in theory swap with Glasgow but they would probably have to win the league to do it.
I actually thought that we were due to get Kings instead of Cheetahs next time as I thought Kings were the higher ranked SA team but apparently not (they finished with more points in Super Rugby but Cheetahs were higher placed in their conference and thus were higher ranked, as they will be next time around, so no change there).
The only real change for us next season is we get the extra home game (we should have Scarlets, Dragons and Treviso at home and Edinburgh and Kings away).
A lot depends on what kind of team Cheetahs are next season. They had a decent debut based on solid home form but not sure how their squad is shaping up. They're losing a few like Venter and Blommetjes and more worrying for them there are a few like Mapimpi that went back to Super Rugby in February. Haven't seen any big name signings (though maybe I haven't been paying attention) and I'm not sure how man of their current squad are contracted so there could be lots of changes.
So we will likely be slugging it out with Ospreys and Blues again for Champions Cup spots and maybe a sniff at third place if things go well. Ospreys probably won't give everyone the head start they did this season though ...

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"We haven’t liked the wind and rain for about four years now" - John Muldoon 1/1/2015
Last edit: 6 months 2 days ago by pinky.
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6 months 1 day ago #60955 by Fourdogs
Replied by Fourdogs on topic Pro14 2018/19
Pinky
Am I right in thinking that we will have a two game trip to SA next season.

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6 months 1 day ago #60956 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2018/19
Yep, that's my understanding anyway.
Of course you could never rule out them changing the rules entirely ...

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6 months 1 day ago #60958 by Tall Paul
Replied by Tall Paul on topic Pro14 2018/19
I was just talking to someone about this at the weekend.
I was unsure how the 2 conferences draw would be made.
Thanks pinky

Does it make any difference at this stage where we end up in the table money wise?

If not, maybe they should give the older players with big mileage the rest of the season off and bring them back early for a good pre season next year, so the team hits the ground running.
If we do not have a good season next year.
We will loose players, support and sponsorship.

I really think we will have a good season.
So far I'm really happy with the way the team is shaping up.
My only 2 bugs are:
1 Rotating 7 to 8 players at a time
2 When the forwards are first receivers they go to ground far too easily.
The backs need quick ball.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
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6 months 10 hours ago #60966 by ConnachtCows
Replied by ConnachtCows on topic Pro14 2018/19
It's a pity that the groups look like they will be almost identical next season. Just Munster and Leinster switching conferences.
Still, if we get an away trip to Edinburgh next season, and it's in 2019 I'll be all over it

@ConnachtCows - Always looking for new followers :)

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6 months 9 hours ago #60967 by salmson
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I wouldn't bet on that. We know that Leinster & Munster will switch position but how the Italian, SA & Scottish teams were distributed last year was intended to balance the pools as best they could (given that you're putting one top seed in one pool and two in the other).

The most balanced way to split them this year would be:
Glasgow (1st in conference), Kings (7), Treviso (5) and Edinburgh (3), Cheetahs (3), Zebre (7)
rather than:
Glasgow(1), Cheetahs (3), Zebre (7) and Edinburgh (3), Treviso (5), Kings (7)
or:
Glasgow (1), Kings (7), Zebre (7) and Edinburgh (3), Cheetahs (3), Treviso (5)

The Welsh/Irish split at the moment is:
Leinster (1), Cardiff (4), Ospreys (5), Connacht (6) and Scarlets (2), Munster (2), Ulster (4), Dragons (6)
with our conference slightly weaker.

So the Pro 12 could pick the "balanced" first Italian/Scottish/SA selections and distribute them arbitrarily, or they pick either of the equally unbalanced options and put the stronger selection in with us and Leinster.

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6 months 7 hours ago #60969 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2018/19
Agree re the imbalance, but it does say:
Every season the conferences will be filled in the following order.
and goes on to specify Ireland 1 with Wales 2/3, etc.
That said, unbalanced conferences don't benefit any union so they could mutually agree to change the rules, and that is just an FAQ so the actual agreement may be looser.
It would seem odd that the two conference winners (and thus likely finalists) would end up in the same conference next season.

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6 months 5 hours ago #60970 by salmson
Replied by salmson on topic Pro14 2018/19
Looks like our fixture list is pretty much already determined then:

Home and Away: Leinster, Ulster, Munster, Cheetahs, Glasgow, Zebre, Ospreys, Cardiff.

Home only: Scarlets, Treviso, Dragons.

Away only: Edinburgh, Kings.

Depending on the Challenge Cup draw we could have up to 6 visiting teams different from the previous year.

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6 months 4 hours ago #60972 by sea_point
Replied by sea_point on topic Pro14 2018/19

salmson wrote: Looks like our fixture list is pretty much already determined then:

Home and Away: Leinster, Ulster, Munster, Cheetahs, Glasgow, Zebre, Ospreys, Cardiff.

Home only: Scarlets, Treviso, Dragons.

Away only: Edinburgh, Kings.

Depending on the Challenge Cup draw we could have up to 6 visiting teams different from the previous year.


Quite depressing in the context of this season...
Of the Home/Away's only Zebre would be considered weaker than us, and not for much longer by the looks of it.
Not having Home & Away for Dragons/Treviso denies us the opportunity of potentially morale boosting/momentum building away wins...

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5 months 1 week ago #61401 by swift4prez
Replied by swift4prez on topic Pro14 2018/19
Wales Online is claiming two South African sides will enter the European PRO14 competition for 2019/20, with another two joining the next season.

The Cheetahs and Kings — discarded from Super Rugby — compete in the PRO14, which includes teams form Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

The Sharks are named as the first team "likely to commit" with the Lions and Stormers next in line.

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5 months 1 week ago #61403 by columoc
Replied by columoc on topic Pro14 2018/19
Whether it's the same source or not, this seems to have legs in other media.

Makes sense, Super Rugby is a mess off the field. At least on the field this year it appears a bit more competitive, but the crowds are very low (almost as low as a Munster Pro 14 Qtr final), with many matches played in huge stadia really lacking atmosphere. Then there is the travel and TV times, so it makes sense for SA teams to play in similar time zones, both for players and audiences.

The risk is that more teams will dilute the quality and competition. Two conferences of 9 (or 10 if a Georgian franchise - backed by big money or Russian franchise were let in) will require larger squads arguably with less quality. It also has an impact on Champions Cup which has a great format right now. Nothing stays still.

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5 months 1 week ago #61404 by Bazzo
Replied by Bazzo on topic Pro14 2018/19
I'd say the Saffers are looking for 3 conferences of 6 with their 6 teams being in one conference. Means they have lots of derbies and only 6 away games per year in the regular season, ideal for them.

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5 months 1 week ago - 5 months 1 week ago #61405 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2018/19
Yeah 3 conferences of six makes for a much better structure than the current one.
The IT is reporting that there will be 3 new teams, which makes no sense. Apart from meaning a prime number of teams it leaves one side out altogether - they'll hardly leave one team in Super Rugby.
www.irishtimes.com/sport/rugby/natal-sha...oin-pro-14-1.3486294
Two more would be fine in the interim, with two eights or four fours keeping teams from the same country together and thus removing the need for the extra derby games.

Naturally SANZAAR are denying everything: www.iol.co.za/sport/rugby/super-rugby/su...-join-pro14-14816743

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Last edit: 5 months 1 week ago by pinky.

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5 months 1 week ago #61407 by columoc
Replied by columoc on topic Pro14 2018/19
The caveat here is that Broadcasting Rights for Super Rugby are under discussion and how to share out the loot, so there may be some brinkmanship at play.
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5 months 1 week ago #61408 by pinky
Replied by pinky on topic Pro14 2018/19
You'd have to imagine that the current arrangement of two teams in one hemisphere and four in another isn't the long-term plan though, so if they're not looking to expand their involvement in the Pro14, then at some point an exit may be on the cards ...

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5 months 1 week ago #61409 by salmson
Replied by salmson on topic Pro14 2018/19
Pretty sure the SA teams are signed on to the PRO[X] (where X >12) til 2022 at least, and several Saffirs have been added to the board, so I'd say a full exit from Super Rugby is more likely than a full exit from the Pro[X].

The three huge advantages our league offers are (1) roughly the same time zone, so local broadcast rights are worth a lot more (2) access to a European league, so broadcasting rights are worth a lot more and (3) a lot less travel, which seems batsh*t when they're in a different hemisphere, but was called out last year by the Cheetahs CEO as a real selling point.

I reckon a halfway house of 4 in the Pro17? and 2 in Super rugby might be what SA are actually playing for. Allows them year round product for starters.

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