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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.

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How to watch Ulster in the United Rugby Championship

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Ulster Rugby

Ulster Rugby will begin its exciting journey into the new United Rugby Championship this Friday night, hosting Glasgow Warriors under the lights at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm).

We are delighted to be able to welcome up to 15,000 supporters at Friday’s fixture, and tickets are still available. For more information on Friday’s event, or to buy tickets, please click here.

The introduction of South Africa’s four elite teams to the URC has created a challenge unlike any other, with two hemispheres colliding as the best of Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales take on the best of South Africa.

If you’re planning on following Ulster’s URC campaign from home, we have pulled together this handy guide on how to watch all the action for supporters in the UK and Ireland…

Premier Sports

Premier Sports is the only place for supporters in the UK to watch every single United Rugby Championship game live this season. You can follow Ulster home and away as Premier Sports will broadcast all 151 games, including eight games per round plus coverage of all the knock-out drama and Grand Final.

Ulster legends Stephen Ferris, Andrew Trimble and Paul Marshall, along with presenters Graham Little and Mark Robson, are among the talent returning to the screens this season.

Fans can tune in on Sky, Virgin TV, or online using the Premier Sports Player from start to finish – you can subscribe now at premiersports.com to watch all 151 games live for less than £1 a game.

BBC NI

Ulster Rugby returns to BBC Northern Ireland this season with live free-to-air coverage of six of the province’s home matches in the inaugural United Rugby Championship.

In addition to televising live the home fixtures against Benetton, Emirates Lions, Connacht, Cardiff, Munster and the Cell C Sharks, every Ulster URC fixture will be available on BBC iPlayer 24 hours after each round.

A new weekly TV programme – ‘The Ulster Rugby Show’ – featuring a line-up of special guests and pundits will take a light-hearted look at the latest news and talking points from the province and across the new tournament. The first episode will air this Thursday 23 September at 10.00pm on BBC2 NI.

RTE / TG4

RTE and TG4 have also picked up broadcast rights to show ten games on free-to-air TV this season.

Among the fixtures being covered live by the Ireland-based broadcasters are the three away interprovincial derbies against Connacht, Leinster and Munster.

URC TV

New for the 2021/22 season, URC TV is an online streaming service giving fans the opportunity to watch every game live and on demand.

A free service showing a range of highlights, archive matches and snackable videos, will be available in all countries including the UK and South Africa (fans in these countries can watch all games live on Premier Sports and Super Sport respectively).

Fans watching in Ireland, Europe (excluding UK), US and a number of other territories, URC TV will also offer a range of subscription packages including a Season Pass (all games), Ireland Pass (all games featuring Irish Clubs), Weekend Passes (all games within a round) and individual games passes.

For more information, or to sign up, visit www.urc.tv.

Source – Ulster Rugby

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Sharks name squad of 34 for URC trip to Europe, Pienaar included.

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Sean Everitt has picked two, and sometimes three, players in each position given the COVID-19 protocols around international travel and proper isolation and quarantine practices, as well as accounting for any injuries that may be picked up within this four match period.

Ruan Pienaar and Tian Meyer have both been included in the squad, having signed loan agreements with the Cell C Sharks from the Toyota Cheetahs, while there are welcome returns from injury for the lock pairing of Ruben van Heerden and Hyron Andrews.

Phepsi Buthelezi continues to lead a settled and experienced squad of players in the absence of Lukhanyo Am, who will take over the captaincy on his return from Springbok duty.

“The boys are up for the challenge, we have some experienced players who have played in the Pro16 before and have had a taste of European conditions, and we have coaching staff who have coached at the highest level; we’re all confident that we can do well overseas,” said Everitt.

“We’ve taken a young squad mixed with some older heads with experience and it will be exciting to see what these guys can deliver against opposition that we don’t see too often, nor play against.”

The Cell C Sharks kick off their campaign against Munster next Saturday, and in round two (Saturday 2 October) travel to Scotland to take on Glasgow Warriors before heading to Wales for rounds three and four, against the Ospreys (Friday 8 October) before rounding off the month-long tour against Cardiff (Saturday 16 October).

“The boys are excited about experiencing a new competition, the URC is a tough tournament that brings in new challenges and different opposition but the guys are up for the challenge after a very good Currie Cup and a good year,” added Everitt.

The Cell C Sharks touring squad:

Forwards: Dan Jooste, Dylan Richardson, Fez Mbatha, Gebrandt Grobler, Henco Venter, Hyron Andrews, James Venter, Kerron van Vuuren, Khutha Mchunu, Khwezi Mona, Le Roux Roets, Lourens Adriaanse, Mpilo Gumede, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), Reniel Hugo, Ruben van Heerden, Thembelani Bholi, Thomas du Toit, Wiehahn Herbst.

Backs: Anthony Volmink, Boeta Chamberlain, Curwin Bosch, Jeremy Ward, Marius Louw, Marnus Potgieter, Murray Koster, Ruan Pienaar, Rynhardt Jonker, Sanele Nohamba, Thaakir Abrahams, Tian Meyer, Werner Kok, Yaw Penxe.

Source – South Africa Rugby

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Ulster sign World Cup winner Vermeulen

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Ulster Rugby have today signed one of the biggest names in world rugby, Duane Vermeulen, who will join the club following the Autumn Tests in November.

Nicknamed the Thor of rugby, the 6ft 4in 18 stone Springbok will pull on the famous white jersey at Kingspan Stadium until 2023.

In 2019, Vermeulen was crowned Player of the Match as South Africa stormed their way to World Cup victory, lifting the Webb Ellis trophy.

The 35-year-old brings with him experience gained in both Super Rugby and the Top 14 and will join the United Rugby Championship in November once he has completed international duties during the Autumn Tests.

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said:

“Duane is clearly a world class player who, as the current World Champions’ starting 8 and MVP from the last RWC Final, is set to bring depth and experience to our really talented group of back rowers.

“As well as being an undeniable talent on the pitch, I know Duane will play an important role going forward in strengthening the winning mindset we are building as a squad.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to recognise Bryn Cunningham’s brilliant work in orchestrating this deal from start to finish. It was always going to be a difficult ask to find a difference-making 8 but Bryn has definitely achieved that.”

Duane Vermeulen added:

“Ulster and myself had detailed discussions about the club’s values, expectations and the potential role I can play going forward. It appealed and resonated with me to a point where I got very excited and decided to commit myself to this Ulster journey. I cannot wait to become part of the Ulster family and to serve as best I can.”

Ulster Rugby has been actively seeking a world class addition to the squad following the planned deal with Leone Nakarawa falling through in June.

Source – Ulster Rugby

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