PRO12 Chiefs could potentially axe two teams

Italian clubs could face Guinness Pro12 axe.

The PRO12 commitee could be set to axe Italian teams Treviso and Zebre in the biggest shake-up since the two teams were added to the competition back in 2010.

Wales and Scotland are said to be in favour of axing both, while Ireland have remained silent due to their Rugby World Cup 2023 bid.

Iain Morrison a reporter for The Scotsman Newspaper , alleges that a senior Pro12 executive wrote a letter to the Italian Federation of Rugby after the Six Nations in which he accused the Italians of bringing almost nothing of commercial value to the Pro12 table in terms of sponsors, TV deal, fans and so on.

He also said that apparently an American franchise based in Houston and a Canadian franchise based in Toronto are reportedly set to join the PRO12, with this report suggesting they will replace the Italian teams, as opposed to being added to the league instead.

Morrison even goes as far as saying that the long-term plan could be to for the USA to replace Italy in the Six Nations for commercial reasons above all else.

If true it would be devastating for Italian rugby and would represent a body blow to their domestic teams.

While the idea of adding North American teams to the competition might sound exciting, logistically it would prove expensive for the celtic teams to travel to their away games in the USA and Canada.

On the flip side, any Canadian or American teams would have to be well funded and sponsored in order to finance the costly road trips to Europe.

If the plans were to go ahead, then it would likely see the Houston and Toronto teams make three week trips to Europe and set up base here to play a series of three home games, then head home to play three home games.

It would certainly add and extra dimension to the Pro12 but again, it would have to be properly bankrolled to protect the integrity of the competition.


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