Let’s start with the changes to Pro12/Pro14 still not decided or announced. A change in the structure of the PRO12 will see a huge reduction in the number of Munster v Leinster clashes that take place over the course of this new season.Under proposals set to be announced in the coming week, two South African sides are set to join the championship – making it the PRO14, in effect – with two separate conferences being set up.
The Cheetahs and the Kings will join the Pro12, which will now be broken up into two separate groups of seven teams each.Teams will face those in their own conference twice, home and away, but will only face those in the opposite conference once.
Adding Ulster and Connacht into the mix, it means that the number of matches between the Irish provinces will be reduced by a third from next season onwards, from 12 games to eight games.Leinster and Munster are set to be kept apart as the league prepares to make its new structure known on Tuesday.
The composition of the two conferences will be based on last season’s final table after 22 matches.That would see Conference A made up of Munster, Scarlets, Ulster, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Zebre and either the Cheetahs or Kings.Conference B, by contrast, would involve Leinster, Ospreys, Glasgow, Connacht, Treviso, Dragons and again, either the Cheetahs or the Kings.Once the 19-game tables are fully decided, play-offs would then presumably take place between the top two sides in each conference. While nothing is 100% yet and after an extremely long season already. The last thing Leinster need with numerous players injured is long road trips to South Africa. Only time will tell how much of a toll this games will take on the squad and also larger squad. While the Pro12 has to evolve, I’m not sure this is the path to improvement financially or in a rugby sense.
Problems for Leinster continue to mount ahead of next season after Garry Ringrose was recently ruled out for up to five months after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
The province is also worried on news from New Zealand with Sean O’Brien and Johnny Sexton requiring scans after both went off injured in the final Test for the Lions, while Robbie Henshaw will miss the first two months of the season at least as he recovers from the torn pectoral muscle he also suffered on tour.New signing James Lowe is also unlikely to be available until November given his commitments with Tasman, meaning Leinster are extremely short on front-line backs.
Sexton may have damaged his ankle ligaments during the first-half of the final Lions game.O’Brien hurt his shoulder in a collision with Jerome Kaino and O’Brien has previously undergone surgery on the same shoulder.
- Sean O Brien
- Carbery- Relapse of ankle injury- Not confirmed
- Rob Kearney- No concrete update over summer
- Heaslip- No concrete update over summer
Player In and Out
Australia Scott Fardy from Australia Brumbies
New Zealand James Lowe from New Zealand Chiefs
Ireland Andrew Porter promoted from Academy
Ireland Ross Byrne promoted from Academy
Ireland Joey Carbery promoted from Academy
Ireland Nick McCarthy promoted from Academy
Ireland Rory O’Loughlin promoted from Academy
Ireland Peadar Timmins promoted from Academy
Ireland James Ryan promoted from Academy
South Africa Zane Kirchner to Wales Dragons
Ireland Mike Ross retired
New Zealand Hayden Triggs retired
Ireland Mike McCarthy retired
Ireland Dominic Ryan to England Leicester Tigers
Season Ticket Sales
Leinster Rugby can confirm that Season Ticket sales for 2017/18 have already passed last year’s total of 11,103, with seven weeks of sales still to go. Impressive stuff from Leinster rugby and its marketing team.