Conferences unchanged for 2018/19 season
The team line-ups for the Guinness PRO14 Conferences will remain unchanged for the upcoming season to ensure a balance of fixtures for all teams across the initial two seasons following expansion.
This decision comes after consultation with clubs across the Guinness PRO14 to determine the best course of action for the Championship and all of the teams who compete in it.
The overriding factor in this decision was the ability to ensure equal home and away fixtures for each team across a two-year window. It also means that each team will have played away to all of the other sides in that same period meaning no fan will miss out on the diverse spread of talent that exists in the Guinness PRO14.
The first Guinness PRO14 season proved a hit with attendances, viewership and digital audiences all growing while the Championship set a new try-scoring record thanks to the fastest rucks in world rugby (81% three seconds or less).
Entering his 15th season as Tournament Director, David Jordan, said: “We are very satisfied with how the tournament, our teams and broadcasters handled the expansion into South Africa in the first Guinness PRO14 season and it is our responsibility to ensure we build upon that.
“Initially, we envisioned the Conference line-ups changing from year to year but having reviewed the previous season it was felt that our clubs would be better served working in a two-year cycle to ensure the balance of fixtures.
“Naturally, our clubs have been energised by the expansion, but as key stakeholders in the Championship it was important to adjust the format to help them harness this enthusiasm in order to be successful on and off the pitch. The Guinness PRO14 was highly competitive last season and we have no doubt that we will see the standards rise yet again across both Conferences in the upcoming season.”
The proposal to retain the Conference line-ups was reviewed by the Championship’s Rugby Sub-Committee which includes representatives from the board of Celtic Rugby and key figures from the clubs, including Glasgow Warriors MD, Nathan Bombrys,.
Nathan Bombrys, Managing Director of Glasgow Warriors, said: “We’re really looking forward to the new Guinness PRO14 season, a competition which just gets tougher and tougher every year.
“Retaining the same Conferences from last season means our inter-conference rivalries will continue to develop, whilst also ensuring our supporters get to see Ulster, Dragons and Scarlets at Scotstoun next season.
“The South African teams have added an intriguing new dimension to the Championship, and Benetton Rugby and Zebre won a record number of games last year. We travel down to Cheetahs and Southern Kings on back-to-back weekends early in the campaign, and also visit Treviso and Parma, all trips that will present a real challenge to our players and a fantastic experience for our traveling supporters.
“At home in Glasgow we will aim to repeat the achievement of the past two seasons where we sold out every Guinness PRO14 match at Scotstoun.”
- Glasgow Warriors
- Munster Rugby
- Toyota Cheetahs
- Cardiff Blues
- Connacht Rugby
- Leinster Rugby
- Edinburgh Rugby
- Ulster Rugby
- Benetton Rugby
- Southern Kings
The fixtures for the 2018/19 season will be released at 2pm today
Jonny Gray joined the Warriors as a Scottish Rugby Elite Development player in the summer of 2012 after a number of standout displays for Hamilton and Scotland under-20.