Pro12 aims to go west in American expansion
They’re looking to kickstart franchises in the US and Canada
The new format has been dubbed the ‘Guinness Atlantic Rugby Championship,’
The Scotsman are reporting that the new league format will be named the ‘Guinness Atlantic Rugby Championship,’ and is planned to kick off as early as the 2018-19 season.
While Ireland were taking on Scotland in the opening round of the Six Nations a couple of weeks back, Pro12 boss Martin Anayi was in Houston, Texas scouting possible locations for the US franchise.
A former Irish international is also said to be fronting a consortium for a franchise that they want based in New York, with Harlequins also said to be interested.
It is planned to home the Canadian franchise in Toronto, utilising the BMO Stadium – which currently houses Toronto FC – where Scotland’s rugby team played Canada in 2014.
Two new additional teams would extend the Pro12 to 14 clubs and there are plans to split those 14 teams into two leagues, let’s call them A and B. Every team in the A League plays every other team in the A League twice each season, home and away, for 12 games. In addition they would play every team in the B League but only once, home or away, for an additional six matches.
The teams in the B League obviously do the opposite. The regular season would consist of 18 games, four fewer than the current model.