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Page last updated at 13:21 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Two Italian teams to join Magners

Andy Powell
Cardiff Blues' Andy Powell playing against Calvisano this season

The Celtic Rugby Board has agreed in principle to introduce two Italian teams into the Magners League.

The board has advised the Italian Rugby Federation that it is considering the move in time for the start of the 2010-11 season.

If that went ahead, it would see the Magners League increasing in size from 10 to 12 teams.

The board says it would be subject to certain conditions in terms of playing and facility standards.

"[The conditions] fall under main headings of playing and facility standards, finance and commercial including television. This will be a comprehensive process and will take some time," said a Celtic Rugby statement.


"The board therefore decided that participation could not commence before 2010-2011 season."

Welsh Rugby Union chief Roger Lewis welcomed the introduction of an Italy presence in the Magners.

"This is an exciting possibility for the Magners League and for Welsh rugby and for Welsh fans," said the WRU chief executive.

"But there are a number of hurdles that need to be jumped before [it happens].

"What they [the Italians] have to do is satisfy the criteria from the rugby perspective and put in teams that can add to the competition and certainly hold their own."

This is an exciting possibility for the Magners League and for Welsh rugby and for Welsh fans

Roger Lewis

At the moment the main clubs in Italy are Calvisano and Treviso, who both competed in this year's Heineken Cup.

Those two teams play in a 10-club Italian League, but it could be that the Celtic League board look to have one of their two Magners teams based in Rome.

Rugby chiefs hope having two Italian teams in the Magners League would help to develop the national team, who were whitewashed in this season's Six Nations and who have struggled to compete on a consistent basis since entering the tournament in 2000.

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see also
Italy confirm Magners League move
19 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
Smith makes Italian Magners plea
13 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
Italians may join Magners League
05 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
Magners set to bring in play-offs
11 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
European Challenge Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
WRU Challenge Cup archive
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Welsh Premiership
11 Apr 07 |  Welsh
Swalec Leagues
11 Apr 07 |  Welsh
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment

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