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Pro12 confident Italians will not be forced out of league


Ulster's Rory Best selected in Guinness Pro12 Dream Team

Ulster's Rory Best selected in Guinness Pro12 Dream Team


Ulster's Rory Best selected in Guinness Pro12 Dream Team

Guinness Pro12 organisers remain confident of resolving their issues with the two Italian regions and continuing the status quo into next season.

Reports in England have suggested that bottom sides Treviso and Zebre could be forced to leave the league at the end of this season if they cannot come up with the €1.5m in membership fees before the end of this month, but negotiations have progressed to a point where both sides are hopeful of resolving any issues.

That would mean the prospect of London Welsh and London Scottish joining the league remains a distant one, despite the two sets of Exiles expressing an interest in coming on board and giving the league an English presence.

Unsurprisingly, there was no Italian representation on the Guinness Pro12 Dream Team announced yesterday, and Leinster's poor campaign also went unrewarded as they were one of three teams who failed to earn a spot after finishing fifth.

Connacht pair Robbie Henshaw and Denis Buckley made the cut, along with Munster's CJ Stander and Tommy O'Donnell, while Ulster, Glasgow and Ospreys had three players each, with the northern province represented by Craig Gilroy, Rory Best and Franco van der Merwe.

The team will be honoured at an awards dinner in the Guinness Storehouse on Sunday.

Guinness Pro12 Dream Team - L Williams (Scarlets); T Seymour (Glasgow), R Henshaw (Connacht), P Horne (Glasgow), C Gilroy (Ulster); D Biggar (Ospreys), R Webb (Ospreys); D Buckley (Connacht), R Best (Ulster), WP Nel (Edinburgh); AW Jones (Ospreys), F van der Merwe (Ulster); CJ Stander (Munster), T O'Donnell (Munster), J Strauss (Glasgow).

Irish Independent