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PRO14 Confirm Postponement of Two Games

The PRO14 have announced that two fixtures that were set to take place this weekend have been postponed due to the Coronavirus

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(photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The PRO14 have confirmed that two fixtures scheduled to take place in Italy this weekend have been postponed due to the Coronavirus.

There has been an outbreak of the virus in Italy over recent days and the PRO14 have decided to postpone Zebre’s clash with the Ospreys and Benetton’s game against Ulster

In a statement by the tournament organisers they confirmed that they will reschedule both games for later in the season. 

“Both Guinness PRO14 fixtures set to take place in Italy this weekend have been postponed due to the restrictions enforced by national and local authorities dealing with the threat posed by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Contingency-planning around the rescheduling of the Round 13 games – Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys (14:00 local) and Benetton v Ulster (16:00 local) – are currently underway. The restrictions on public gatherings and sporting events put in place by the Italian authorities apply in the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions and have already seen a Women’s Six Nations game and four Serie A football fixtures postponed over the weekend. Fixtures in Italy’s national rugby championship, Top 12, and all domestic rugby activities have also been postponed ahead of this weekend,” the statement read. 

As mentioned in the statement there have been several key sporting fixtures cancelled over the last weekend with Serie A games cancelled in football, while in rugby the women’s Six Nations game between Italy and Scotland was chalked off too. 

The statement went on to say they were happy to go along with the calls being made in Italy and the World Health Organisation. 

“The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest report has listed 78 countries with confirmed cases of the Corona virus. To ensure the safety of our players and spectators PRO14 Rugby fully supports the preventative measures taken in Italy and will adhere to the directives from the WHO and local authorities. The current restrictions are in place until Sunday, March 1, 2020 and PRO14 Rugby will remain in contact with the FIR (Italian Union), Zebre Rugby Club, Benetton Rugby and World Rugby to monitor situation on a daily basis,” it finished. 

It remains to be seen what effect this could have over the coming weeks in the PRO14 calendar, while the Italian national team are set to take on Ireland in the Six Nations in a couple of weeks and will hope there are no changes to their schedule come then.

6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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Pro14

Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Many Ulster fans feared they may have seen the last appearance of Springbok Marcell Coetzee in an Ulster shirt after he was helped from the field on Friday night but a medical update has been issued which appears to be more positive than what was initially feared.

Update below:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 13 fixture against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium.

Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in Ulster Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match against Glasgow Warriors. His availability for selection for the upcoming game against Ospreys will be assessed through the coming week.

There are no other new injury concerns arising from Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.

Update ends.

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Pro14

Murphy to Captain Ulster against a strong Glasgow team

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(Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Jordi Murphy will captain Ulster for the first time in Friday’s return to Guinness PRO14 action, while the trip to Glasgow will also mark significant milestones for Kieran Treadwell and Marty Moore. 

Murphy will start at openside flanker, alongside fellow loose forwards Nick Timoney and Marcell Coetzee. Treadwell will become the latest Ulster centurion as he is named to start along with Alan O’Connor in the second row. In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan returns from international duty to join John Andrew and Marty Moore, who will make his 50th Ulster appearance. 

In the backs, John Cooney and Stuart McCloskey are also released from Ireland camp and will start in their familiar 9 and 12 jerseys. Ian Madigan will partner Cooney at fly-half, with James Hume joining McCloskey in midfield. Rob Lyttle makes his return from injury on the left wing, with Craig Gilroy on the right and Michael Lowry at full-back.  

Academy second row, Cormac Izuchukwu is set to make his senior debut if called upon from the bench. He is named alongside Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole – also returning from international duties – and Greg Jones in the forward reinforcements. Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Matt Faddes will provide back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Glasgow Warriors, Guinness PRO14 Round 12, Friday 19 February at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Marcell Coetzee.  

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes.

Glasgow Warriors have named a strong lineup with lots of Scottish caps and releases and a welcome return for mercurial Out-Half, Adam Hastings.

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