Leinster head to South Africa to face Southern Kings and Cheetahs in new Pro14

DECLAN MURPHY Roar Guru

By DECLAN MURPHY, DECLAN MURPHY is a Roar Guru

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    A Leinster side beset by injuries have named an under-strength side for their 11-day odyssey to South Africa.

    Rob Kearney, Jaimie Heaslip, Dan Leavy, Gary Ringrose and Richard Strauss are just some of the players who will miss the tour, while locks Devin Toner and Scott Fardy have also been ruled out, as both their wives are in the last stages of pregnancy.

    Leinster flew out on Tuesday to face the Southern Kings on Saturday, September 16, then face the Cheetahs the following Friday, before returning to Dublin on the Saturday.

    Very few of the Leinster payers picked for the ‘tour’ have prior experience of playing in South Africa, where both games are held at an altitude greater than 4000 feet. They are the first Northern Hemisphere team to travel to the Republic as part of the all-new Pro14 league.

    Only last month, it was announced that both the Kings and the Cheetahs would be added to the Pro12, with the league now breaking off into two separate ‘conferences’.

    Conference A comprises Munster, Glasgow, Connacht, Ospreys, Cardiff, Zebre and the Cheetahs.

    Conference B comprises Scarlets, Leinster, Edinburgh, Ulster, Treviso, Dragons and the Southern Kings.

    The teams play every other team in their own conference twice, and the other conference once. Except where derbies are concerned (teams from the same country), they will play each other twice.

    Where a country has only two teams competing (e.g. Italy, South Afirca, Scotland), extra games will be played to make sure that each team plays a total of 21 fixtures – so Zebre might end up playing Edinburgh three times.

    At the end of the league, the top teams will advance to the quarter-finals. The top three teams from each conference will also qualify for inclusion in the European Rugby Champions Cup, while the next best team will also gain qualification – although this excludes the two South African teams, who aren’t eligible to compete in the ERCC.

    Pro14 bosses have announced plans to include yet more teams, including the possibility of a participant from the USA.

    The Kings and Cheetahs have not fared well in tournament’s opening games, losing both matches heavily. It will have to be seen if their fortunes take a turn for the better while playing at home. It also remains to be seen what kind of crowds Leinster can draw in South Africa.

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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • September 14th 2017 @ 3:01am
      DavSA said | September 14th 2017 @ 3:01am | ! Report

      It is indeed a backhanded insult to SA rugby that they feel an understrength team would suffice. ………painfull truth is they are correct. …… How did those song lyrics go ….It doesn’t have to be that way… How the hell did it all get to this ?

      • September 14th 2017 @ 10:09am
        Bakkies said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        It is quiet common for the Irish sides due to player management rules to only start fielding internationals just prior to the start of the not the Heineken sponsored by Heineken.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 7:08am
      Carlos the Argie said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Oops! They will be missing their kiwis, I read somewhere else.

      Apparently, politics between the two countries are so and that kiwis require visas to get in. Is it the same fro SA in NZ?

      • September 15th 2017 @ 3:26pm
        DavSA said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

        Yes Carlos , unfortunately South Africa has been identified by Intellgence Agencies abroad as a popular safe haven and transit destination for both international crime syndicates as well as Islamic fundamentalists . We have a large Muslim population who are very sympathetic to the Jihad cause . The knock on to that is SA citizens traveling are now subject to increased scrutiny.

        • September 15th 2017 @ 10:11pm
          DavSA said | September 15th 2017 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

          Ha the moderators finally release a moderate and I might add factual comment. Took some time though.

    • Roar Guru

      September 14th 2017 @ 7:48am
      Derm McCrum said | September 14th 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      Both matches played at altitude greater than 4000 ft?

      Bloemfontein – 4600 ft elevation
      Port Elizabeth – 207 ft. It is a port on the coast.

      “so Zebre might end up playing Edinburgh three times.”

      Glasgow and Edinburgh will contest the 1872 Cup across three matches instead of two.

      Zebre and Benetton will play each other three times. Cheetahs and Kings the same.

      Fijian international and Leinster captain, Isa Nacewa, and back-up Kiwi scrum half, Jamison Gibson Park, sent back to Ireland due to visa “issues” with NZ citizens created in response to NZ visa restrictions on SA citizens brought in earlier this year, according to media reports. Weird.

      Leinster touring without:

      McGrath, Strauss, Furlong, Toner, Fardy, O’Brien, Leavy, Heaslip, Gibson Park, Sexton, Henshaw, Ringrose, Nacewa, Kearney.

      Should make for interesting games.

      • September 14th 2017 @ 9:01am
        Atlas said | September 14th 2017 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Rugby Pass news states the opposite reason:

        “The Irish Times have reported that the entry refusal is due to new visa regulations for New Zealand citizens entering South Africa. Both Nacewa and Gibson-Park are New Zealand nationals.”

        Will the ABs be allowed in for their next test? Cunning plan that one … Win by default!

        • Roar Guru

          September 14th 2017 @ 10:54am
          Derm McCrum said | September 14th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          No it’s not the opposite reason. The SA ones are in response to NZ ones apparently. Bureaucracy at its best.

          From SA media:
          “It is claimed the visa regulations are a reciprocal measure after New Zealand implemented a visa system in October 2016 relating to South African nationals.”

          • Roar Guru

            September 14th 2017 @ 1:55pm
            Machpants said | September 14th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

            Either way you’d think the management would have checked the visa requirement for all their players, before flying out! And I don’t mean asking the closest kiwi who’s been to S.A. before….

            • Roar Guru

              September 14th 2017 @ 2:12pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 14th 2017 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

              Agree with Machpants.

              This falls first and foremost on Leinster and secondly on Pro14. Poor planning. Poor information.
              But stuff like this is sort of expected. There will always be some child-diseases after a big change to/in the set-up.

              They will learn from it 😉

            • Roar Guru

              September 15th 2017 @ 3:24am
              Derm McCrum said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:24am | ! Report

              Yep. Buck stops with Leinster. They’ve said it’s their fault that it got missed.

      • Roar Guru

        September 14th 2017 @ 2:57pm
        Cadfael said | September 14th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        A query on the Currie Cup. The Cheetahs play in this but also in the Pro 14. Is the Cheetahs team in the Currie Cup their reserve grade side?

        • September 14th 2017 @ 11:26pm
          Bakkies said | September 14th 2017 @ 11:26pm | ! Report

          It’s been discussed at the moment to get the Cheetahs in to the Currie Cup semis to defend their title. The Currie Cup is being review again after this year especially in regards to the time slot.

          I’ve seen talk floating around that the Cheetahs are opening their stadium free for the Zebre match and guaranteed 24,000 to attend the match at least through their sponsor.

    • September 14th 2017 @ 2:18pm
      taylorman said | September 14th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

      These matches will be interesting…matches with SA sides are heavily influenced by home and away…

      • Roar Guru

        September 15th 2017 @ 3:38am
        Derm McCrum said | September 15th 2017 @ 3:38am | ! Report

        Yep. A home win dependency might not get them playoff spots though. Previously you needed to win about a minimum 12/13 games to get into top 6. With two conferences it might be different if it turns out that one conference is more hotly contested

        • September 16th 2017 @ 2:24pm
          Taylorman said | September 16th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          Oh absolutely, just interested in the home and away differences for now. Have any matches been played in SA yet?

    • Roar Guru

      September 15th 2017 @ 7:55am
      Charging Rhino said | September 15th 2017 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      Kings play in PE which is sea level mate 🙂

      Disappointing start for the SA, although they are missing better players they had in their Super Rugby campaigns. Hopefully they pull it together!

      • September 16th 2017 @ 12:17am
        DavSA said | September 16th 2017 @ 12:17am | ! Report

        I lived in P.E for 23 years . It is South Africa’s best kept secret . Absolutely wonderful city to live in . …The altitude will .not be an issue, but the heat will . It will be hot and unlike the Highveld does not cool down come evening time . The NH sides will feel ….the heat.

        • Roar Guru

          September 16th 2017 @ 6:33am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 16th 2017 @ 6:33am | ! Report

          Will you go to any Pro14 game this season?
          Very curious what kind of attendance numbers the SA teams in Pro14 will attract.

          • September 16th 2017 @ 2:19pm
            DavSA said | September 16th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

            Unfortunately no ,NV I do not live there anymore . Am in the Johaanesburg region for a ew years now . This is where the business is. P.E will support rugby . They have a tremendous rugby culture . Some of the all time greats of the game are from there. Danie Gerber a good example. Alastair Coetzee by the way is home grown .They turned their backs on The Kings because they were sick and tired of the politics that Cheeky Watson as well as his predecessor Philip Joseph brought in at the expense of good rugby. We’re just starting to return towards the end of Last Superugby season and you well remember the crowd at the test match a few weeks ago . They have some of the best schoolboy teams and a great club rugby set up. Crusaders rugby club Is the oldest in SA …..under correction but think also in the world . The University has a food sports science facility and what a great stadium . P.E is also indisputably the home of black rugby in SA . Kolisi is a local lad . So they have so much going for them rugby wise which makes it sad that a few over ambitious individuals should have ruined it for them. But I don’t expect huge crowds , may be wrong . The p.E folk like any other in the world support teams that win . Let’s see.
            L

            • Roar Guru

              September 16th 2017 @ 7:35pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 16th 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

              Thanks for an amazing comment DavSA

              How about them All Blacks? 😉

              • September 17th 2017 @ 3:38am
                DavSA said | September 17th 2017 @ 3:38am | ! Report

                Am feeling some pain . But emotional pain only has meaning with introspection . And introspection only has meaning with action.

              • September 17th 2017 @ 5:26am
                DavSA said | September 17th 2017 @ 5:26am | ! Report

                While I am punting P.E. NV , within an hour or 2 driving distance you can surf the world famous super tubes or visit some of South Africa’s best game reserves. But it is on the edge of the Karoo that gets me going . This is a semi desert region the size of Germany that is very special. You mentioned on Another post about the Northern Lights , something I have ever experienced . What I have though is the Karoo night sky. It is awe inspiring . One cannot even begin to describe the intensity of stars . You feel you can reach out and touch them . One can sit under the coolness of the worlds largest grapevine in Graaf Reinnette sampling the local wine and eating the famous Karoo lamb or …and this is another best kept secret …..visit a tiny town called Nieu Bethesda . An artist colony literally in the middle of nowhere where the pub only opens at 5.00 pm and the sense of peace and tranquility amongst its inhabitants is impossible to articulate . You may never want to leave . Every small village or town has a rugby field , usually as prominent as the town hall.

    • September 17th 2017 @ 7:58pm
      Damo said | September 17th 2017 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

      Where was the crowd?
      I always wondered where the appetite would be to watch these SA teams in a fairly pale imitation of Super Rugby and judging by that crowd there isn’t one

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