Pro14: South African teams confirmed in expanded tournament

The Pro12 will be expanded to include South African side Southern Kings and Cheetahs from September, organisers have confirmed.
The expanded tournament will be called the Pro14 and see the teams split into two conferences of seven made up of two Welsh, two Irish and one team each from Scotland, Italy and South Africa.
The conferences have been decided based on last season’s results.
Cheetahs and Kings will play their home games in South Africa.
They will play only Saturdays, and there will be five travel-free days before matches.
The first round of matches is due to be played on the weekend of 1-3 September, with the first fixtures to be announced on 7 August.
It is understood the addition of the two new teams will bring in an extra £6m a year in revenue.

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Pre-Register for RWC Sevens in San Francisco


This time next year the Sevens World Cup gets under way in San Francisco. ‘Everybody’s Favourite City’ will host 24 teams, who will compete for the title of World Sevens Champions.

Not only will there be great rugby on display San Francisco also has a huge amount to offer its visitors. Scenic beauty, diverse cultural attractions and world class cuisine plus views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge make this a great venue for the tournament.
Sign up here to register your interest and be the first to receive our packages when they go on sale.

Fill out my online form.

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2017/18 Sevens Series Dates Announced:

2017/18 Sevens Series Dates Announced:

Following the conclusion of the 2016/17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London on Sunday, the world governing body confirmed the dates for next season. The 2017/18 Sevens World Series will again consist of ten tournaments, while a couple of changes will be made. The New Zealand leg will be moved from the capital Wellington and will be hosted in Hamilton. The 2018 Commonwealth Games, to be hosted by Australia’s Gold Coast, will take place between the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments. In addition to the Commonwealth Games, the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens will take place in the USA’s San Francisco between 20 – 22 July, well after the conclusion of the Sevens World Series.

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2017-18 Dates:

Round1 – Dubai: 1-2 December 2017
Round2 – Cape Town: 9-10 December 2017
Round3 – Sydney: 26-28 January 2018
Round4 – Hamilton: 3-4 February 2018
Round5 – Las Vegas: 2-4 March 2018
Round6 – Vancouver: 10-11 March 2018
Round7 – Hong Kong: 6-8 April 2018
(Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold Coast: 14-15 April 2018)
Round8 – Singapore: 28-29 April 2018
Round9 – Paris: 26-27 May 2018
Round10 -London: 2-3 June 2018
(Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, San Francisco: 20-22 July 2018)

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Richie McCaw wishes Ulster U11’s Good luck on NZ Tour (VIDEO)

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Tour Celebrity Robert Jones Interview

Rob Jones to Join LWTL in New Zealand for his 3rd tour with LWTL

Living With The Lions Sports Travel are very excited to announce another one of our ambassadors on the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Ex-scrum-half, Robert Jones, won 54 caps for Wales and 3 for the British Lions. He is also widely remembered for his part in the start of the Battle of Ballymore in 1989.

Many felt that Jones also had the finest pass in the game during his career and any rugby aficionado will recall that fantastic reverse pass he delivered to Jonathan Davies prior to the fly half scoring arguably the individual try of the 1988 5 Nations tournament. Wales went on to win the Triple Crown that year.

We caught up with Rob and asked him for his views on the upcoming tour, some stand out memories from his career, a list of his favourite players (past and present) and a prediction for the New Zealand series. At LWTL we can’t wait for the tour to get started and for Robert to be part of it.
Tour Celebrity Robert Jones Interview RobJones

1. What are you most looking forward to about the tour to New Zealand?

Being amongst rugby loving people in the most fanatical of all rugby nations. The Lions is special for all of us in the 4 Nations, players and supporters, and we get the chance to be part of it every 4 years. In NZ, they love the sport so much and they only get to play against the Lions every 12 years, that’s why this is so huge for them, and makes this tour extra special.

2. Which current Lions squad member would you be most excited to play with and why?

There are so many great players on this tour, Gatland has had a difficult decision in selection about who to leave out, not just who to take. Justin Tipuric is from my home village of Trebanos and he is a fantastic athlete and rugby player. His game awareness and skill levels are exceptional and I just think he adds a new dimension to back row play. The question is whether he will start the Tests with so much backrow talent and Sam as captain!

3. Two Scottish players selected: critical oversight by the coaching team or a justifiable response to the defeat by England?

Not an oversight, just the reality of the strength in depth we have in British rugby at the moment. Whilst you can put a case for a number of Scots who performed well in the 6 Nations, there are probably stronger arguments for those players Gatland has selected. The Gray brothers are two good examples – great players but would you select them ahead of the locks going, probably not. The same can be said of Finn Russell, probably the unluckiest in my eyes. Farrell and Sexton were certainties, then a toss-up between Ford, Russell and Bigger, with Gatland going for the safe pair of hands in Dan Bigger, someone he knows and can rely upon.

4. Do you have a standout memory and an opponent you would preferred to have played with rather than against from the tour in 1989?

My obvious memory is the punch up with my old friend Nick Farr Jones in the second test which became known as the battle of Ballymore! Ian McGeechan identified a major strength in the Aussie captain’s influence on their first test performance and decided that I would be the man to ‘focus on knocking him off his game’!!!! The rest is history as they say! Australia had some great players, Lynagh, Farr Jones, Cutler to name a few. However, one of their greatest, who actually had a poor test series that year, David Campese, was something different. He will go down as one of the greatest attacking players we have ever seen and having been on the wrong side of his trickery on so many occasions, I would have loved to have played alongside him.

5. It’s a World Cup Final Wales are playing Australia and you’re at scrum half. Who would you like at No 8. and Fly half? Past or present.

Another difficult question with so many great players at 8 and 10 throughout the years but I will stick with who I know and admire at 10, Jonathan Davies(Jiffy). A fantastic all round fly half who oozed confidence and self-belief. We never saw the best of him in Union, but he was a special talent. At 8, well a tough choice, with Phil Davies, Paul Moriarty and Stuart Davies all great Welsh performers during my day, but I’m going for a guy who has now established himself on the World game and could have a big influence on the Series result in NZ, Taulupe Faletau! Outstanding with ball in hand, defensively and at the breakdown, and up with Reid as the best 8’s in the world game.

6. And a prediction: 1st test final score and who comes out on top in the series…?

Not going to be popular, but I think NZ will win the series 2 – 1, although I think it will go down to the final test, with NZ winning the first, say 32 – 21 and the Lions claiming the second. This could all change overnight if either of the teams lose key players, but NZ rugby, and the incredible depth of skilled talent they have, puts them, and has for so long put them, at the very top of world rugby.

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2018 Six Nations Dates Released






Saturday 3rd February 2018

WALES V SCOTLAND, Principality Stadium, 1425 (GMT)
FRANCE V IRELAND, Stade De France, 1545 (GMT)

Sunday 4th February 2018

ITALY V ENGLAND, Stadio Olimpico, 1400 (GMT)


Saturday 10th February 2018

IRELAND V ITALY, Aviva Stadium, 1415 (GMT)
ENGLAND v WALES, Twickenham Stadium, 1625 (GMT)

Sunday 11th February 2018

SCOTLAND v FRANCE, Murrayfield Stadium, 1500 (GMT)


Friday 23rd February 2018


Saturday 24th February 2018

IRELAND V WALES, Aviva Stadium, 1415 (GMT)
SCOTLAND v ENGLAND, Murrayfield Stadium, 1645 (GMT)


Saturday 10th March 2018

IRELAND V SCOTLAND, Aviva Stadium, 1415 (GMT)
FRANCE v ENGLAND Stade De France, Paris 1545(GMT)

SUNDAY 11th March 2018

WALES V ITALY, Principality Stadium, 1500 (GMT)


Saturday 17th March 2018

ITALY V SCOTLAND, Stadio Olimpico, 1130 (GMT)
ENGLAND v IRELAND, Twickenham Stadium, 1445(GMT)
WALES v FRANCE, Principality Stadium, 1700 (GMT)

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2019 World Cup Rugby Draw Complete

2019 POOLS

Pool AIreland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, play-off winner (Europe 2 v Oceania 3)
Pool B – New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, repechage winner
Pool CEngland, France, Argentina, Americas 1, Oceania 2
Pool D – Australia, Wales, Georgia, Oceania 1, Americas 2

England have been drawn with France and Argentina in a tough Pool C for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Scotland and Ireland are in Pool A, alongside the hosts.
Wales will face Australia in a repeat of the 2015 tournament, where both sides beat hosts England to qualify from the group stage, while Georgia join them in Pool D.
Reigning world champions New Zealand will take on South Africa and Italy in Pool B.
The World Cup runs from 20 September to 2 November 2019.
“It’s massively exciting, a unique country and unique culture,” said England head coach Eddie Jones, who led Japan at the last World Cup.
England face Argentina in two Tests in June with Jones saying they can “practice a little bit” against the Pumas.
Speaking about England’s Pool C opponent, Jones added: “France have really improved over the past two years and are certainly a dangerous team.”
England failed to advance from their “group of hell” in 2015, becoming the first hosts to exit before the knockout stage.
The 12 teams who automatically qualified by finishing in the top three of their groups at the last World Cup have been drawn.
The eight remaining teams have had their slots allocated and will be determined by the qualification process that ends in 2018.
England have also drawn the top North and South America qualifier [either USA or Canada], as well as the second-best Oceania qualifier, which will be one of Fiji, Samoa or Tonga.

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Ulster U11’s New Zealand Pre-Tour Video Featuring Willie John Mcbride

LWTL Sports Travel are delighted to have arranged the Ulster U11 boys tour to NZ in 2017 to play rugby and to watch the second Test match in Wellington between New Zealand and the British & Irish Lions.

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LWTL Interview with Colin Deans

We are very excited to announce that ex Scotland hooker and captain, Colin Deans, is to be an LWTL ambassador on the upcoming British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
Capped 52 times by Scotland and a tourist with the Lions to New Zealand in 1983 Colin is well qualified to discuss the upcoming tour. He led Scotland into the 1987 World Cup quarter finals and even has the honour of being the first Scot to score against New Zealand in the Land of the Long White Cloud back in 1981.
Some opponents (well, they would!) pointed out that he spent a lot of his career offside – especially at the lineout – but many, Bill McLaren included, described him as being tactically astute and a hooker of flaring speed who formed a wonderful lineout partnership with David Leslie. He led Scotland, Hawick and South of Scotland to many victories.
We sat down with Colin and asked for his views on the tour and some favourite memories. I think you’ll agree his answers are insightful and will provide many talking points. We are lucky to have him along!
LWTL Sports Travel – What are you most looking forward to about the tour to New Zealand?
Colin Deans – The 2017 tour has the hallmark of being one of the most successful Lions tour since the 1974 tour to SA. The squad selected is one of the strongest and well balanced to leave our shores for a long time with raw fire power up front with pace, guile and experience in the backs. I’m also looking forward to catching up with the elderly ABs that I had the pleasure to play against from 1978-1987.

LWTL Sports Travel – Which current Lions squad member would you be most excited to play with and why?
Colin Deans – Would love to have played with all the current squad, but if I were to pick anyone it would be the Vunipola brothers, George Kruis in the second row, all the backrow combinations, Johnny Sexton and Stuart Hogg. Hogg I select, due to the fact that I played with his father in my home club rugby and he is one very exciting player who could light the tour up with his electric pace.

LWTL Sports Travel – Two Scottish players selected: critical oversight by the coaching team or a justifiable response to the defeat by England?
Colin Deans – My answer would be a bit of both, I thought that there may well have been another 2/3 Scottish players who could have been selected. Either Gray brothers and Hamish Watson, who nullified the Welsh backrow in the second half of the Scot V Wales game and played very well throughout the whole 6 nations.

LWTL Sports Travel – Do you have a standout memory and an opponent you would preferred to have played with rather than against from the tour in 1983?
Colin Deans – The AB’s I had the privilege to play against, they were of the same mould as now, pulling on the famous black jersey was the pinnacle of their rugby career. Players like Wayne Shelford, Murray Mexted, Andy Haden, Graham Mourie, Grant Fox, Wayne Smith, John Kirwin, I could go on and on.

LWTL Sports Travel – If you could choose 2 props (past and present) to hold onto for one final scrum who would they be?
Colin Deans – 2 Past props would be Ian Milne and Robert Paparemborde, present would be Mako Vunipola and Tadgh Furlong.
LWTL Sports Travel – And a prediction: Test score aggregate over the three games and who comes out on top…?
Colin Deans – Test score aggregate over the 3 test matches I would take a guess at 87 points for the Lions, with 71 points for the AB’s and a 2-1 series win for the Lions. I predict we will lose the first test and win the remaining 2.

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Lions Tour – Matches & Kick Off Times

Saturday 3rd June

Toll Stadium, Whangarei
2017 New Zealand Provincial Barbarians v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 5:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Wednesday 7th June 2017

Eden Park Auckland
Blues v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 5:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Saturday 10th June 2017

AMI Stadium Christchurch
Crusaders v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 5:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Tuesday 13th June 2017

Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Highlanders v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 5:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Saturday 17th June 2017

Rotorua International Stadium
Maori All Blacks v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 4:00pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Tuesday 20th June 2017

FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
Chiefs v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 5:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Saturday 24th June 2017

Eden Park Auckland
All Blacks v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 4:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Tuesday 27th June 2017

Westpac Stadium Wellington
Hurricanes v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 5:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Saturday 1st July 2017

Westpac Stadium Wellington
All Blacks v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 4:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

Saturday 8th July 2017

Eden Park Auckland
All Blacks v British & Irish Lions
Gates Open: 4:30pm, Kick Off: 7:35pm

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