ERC hopeful over Heineken Cup future
ERC chiefs are still hopeful that a deal can be thrashed out to decide the future of the Heineken Cup -- but it may take as long as nine months.
Speaking at the launch of this season's competition in London, chief executive Derek McGrath also expressed his surprise at the manner in which Premiership clubs signed an exclusive deal with BT vision, in direct competition to the existing Sky deal.
"There was a lot of surprise and there continues to be in terms of the decision to pre-judge an outcome," McGrath said.
"We have a centralised approach to marketing.
"That is what all the unions have approved and that's what is recognised under the International Rugby Board (IRB) regulations, so to do things in a different way is not only pre-judging an outcome, it's also doing it outside the institutions that are set down and respected by everyone.
"While there have always been challenges, there always has been respect for each other's country and cultures, etc. This has changed the agenda.
"We shouldn't be afraid to consider any issues, proposals or challenges to the business, but there are some fundamentals in terms of how we approach that and how we have always approached doing business together."
Connacht injury crisis worsens
CONNACHT'S injury crisis shows little sign of abating as they go on the hunt for a second successful inter-provincial clash away to Ulster, following their stunning 34-6 win in Galway last Friday against European champions Leinster.
Michael Swift, Friday's captain Nathan White and try scorer Ronan Loughney are all suffering from knocks.
Frank Murphy (knee) is expected to be unavailable for selection for six to eight months and Dave Nolan (leg) is also a long-term absentee, while there are another 11 players still out injured.
Steyn ruled out of Boks' Ireland visit
SOUTH AFRICAN centre Frans Steyn will miss the November international against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium as he will undergo surgery on an ankle injury.
"Losing Frans is a big blow as he is one of our most experienced players," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.
"However, it's better that he gets the ankle sorted out properly as he still has a long rugby career ahead of him and can play many more Tests for South Africa."