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Guinness Pro 12 League : latest updates

WE are into the month of August so expect plenty of early season action over the coming few weeks as the 2014/15 seasons gets underway.
There is already plenty of activity on the Guinness Pro 12 front so keep up to date by following this Limerick-based rugby website.
Here are some of the news stories of the past few days:
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons fullback and Welsh International Lee Byrne will lead by example as he takes over the captaincy of the regional side for the coming season.
The Welsh International signed a two-year deal with the men of Gwent meaning that he will stay with the region until May 2016.
Before signing for the Dragons Byrne was associated with Top 14 French team Clermont Auvergne and has been rated amongst the best fullbacks in the world.
On becoming skipper of the Welsh region side for the 2014/15, Byrne added: “It’s probably one of the best pieces of news that I have ever had. Throughout my rugby career I have had both highs and lows, and this for me is right up there in the highs.
“Becoming captain of the Dragons will be a massive challenge for me, but now it’s time for us to make sure that we deliver as a team. We have been given the best of everything this season, including the squad, coaches and the new training facility.”I want to lead by example and I hope that the youngsters can learn from my attitude and the experience that I have gained through my international career and through playing in France.”
ULSTER launched their new home and away jerseys combine eye-catching design with the latest in sports technology.
Designed by the Kukri team in Lisburn, the 2014-15 home jersey is made from Taloc fabric, which is lightweight but durable.
The jers ey incorporates Ulster Rugby’s traditional colours of White, Red and Black on the body and sleeves.
The design itself is sublimated, which means it’s printed onto the fabric as it’s made to keep it lightweight. The Ulster Rugby and Kukri logos are embroidered._
A colourful alternative to the home jersey, the purple away jersey incorporates Ulster red across the chest and collar. It is Kukri’s Elite Rugby Jersey, which is made from brand-new 4D Tech fabric with 4-way stretch, and a new, super-strong collar called ‘The Bridge’.
The new away jersey will be worn for the first time when the Province play Exeter Chiefs in a pre-season friendly match at Kingspan Stadium on 22nd August.
SOME of Connacht Rugby’s senior players are on track to return to action in the coming weeks following different surgical procedures over the summer months.
Gavin Malouf, Head Physiotherapist, provided an update on a number of players which came as good news for Pat Lam and his coaching team five weeks out from the start of the new season.
As part of pre-season preparations, a squad of approximately 40 players will travel to France next Monday August 4th where, in the town of Issoire, they will take part in a rigorous week-long training session. The away trip will conclude with a game against Top 14 heavyweights Clermont Auvergne on Friday, August 8th as part of the 2014 Challenge Auvergne de Rugby.
There are a small group of players who will not travel next week due to their ongoing rehab schedules.
Ireland international Robbie Henshaw, who was forced to withdraw from the Summer Tour to Argentina in June due to an exacerbated hand ligament injury, is progressing well following surgical repair. The 21-year-old back is due to resume full team training towards the end of August.
Having dislocated his shoulder during Connacht’s final home game against Cardiff Blues last season, Jason Harris-Wright had the required reconstruction surgery in May. The 25-year-old hooker, who started 17 games last season, is currently excluded from contact training and will not travel to France. His expected ‘return to play’ date is late September.
Ronan Loughney had groin surgery three weeks ago and has resumed running this week. The Galway-born prop is likely to be back in the frame for selection ahead of the pre-season friendly away to Wasps on August 23rd.
Back row forward Mata Fifita will also remain in Galway next week having undergone shoulder arthroscopy in May. Rehab is going well for the 25-year-old Tongan who, while currently restricted in terms of contact training, is expected to be available for selection mid-September.
While the following players continue to work on their rehab they are all on schedule to resume team training and will travel to France next week.
Tighthead prop Nathan White is recovering from minor back surgery he had in early June. The 33-year-old will travel to France for training and is expected to be match-fit ahead of the pre-season game away to Wasps on August 23rd.
Hooker Sean Henry, who underwent neck surgery in March, has been integrated into team training in recent weeks. The 26-year-old from Sligo will travel to France to push for some game time ahead of his second season with his home province.
It has been a long road to recovery for New Zealand born flanker Jake Heenan who had shoulder reconstruction surgery back in February. The 22-year-old is now in the final stages of rehab before he resumes full training. He is expected to be available for selection ahead of the Wasps game.
Two months after his ankle reconstruction procedure, Academy graduate Jack Carty has made good progress to resume team training. The young outhalf will travel to France in a bid to play a part in the game with Clermont on Friday August 8th.
Connacht Rugby kick off the official season with a home game against Newport Gwent Dragons on the weekend of September 5/6/7. Fixture dates and kick off times for the PRO12 are to be confirmed in the coming days.
Connacht Pre-Season Fixtures:
Friday August 8th – Clermont Auverne v Connacht Rugby – Issoire, 8pm local time
Saturday August 23rd – Wasps v Connacht Rugby – High Wycombe, 2:30pm

WARRIORS prop Jon Welsh has undergone shoulder surgery and is expected to be out of action for the first few months of the season.
The 27-year-old had the operation to fix a recurring shoulder problem.
Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’re disappointed for Jon that he’s going to miss the first few weeks of the new season.
“He played a lot of rugby for us last season and he worked hard to become a consistent performer.
“His recent surgery will allow him to train fully on his return and play even better next season. We wish him all the best in his recovery period.”
NEWPORT Gwent Dragons can confirm that fly half Kris Burton has left the Welsh Region.
The 33-year-old had one season with the men of Gwent whilst also appearing for premiership sides Bedwas and Cross Keys.
The Italian international made 15 appearances for the Dragons during last season.
Newport Gwent Dragons chief executive Gareth Davies commented: “Kris is very professional both on and off the field. He handled himself well during the season he was with us.
“We wish Kris and his family the very best with their move back to Australia.”

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