Premier Sports set for huge season


The Guinness PRO14 returns this weekend and Premier Sports, the home of the all-action Championship will once again bring rugby fans every minute of 152 live rugby fixtures throughout the competition with a stellar line-up rugby’s most experienced and entertaining pundits and presenters leading the coverage.

As rugby takes centre stage and excitement reaches fever pitch during the World Cup, supporters can now add all the drama of the PRO14 competition to their rugby viewing with seven big live games to enjoy this weekend at the launch of a brand new season.

Records were broken last season in the Guinness PRO14, with Premier Sports there every step of the way showing a stunning 880 tries scored during the regular season, a new record attendance at the 2019 Guinness PRO14 Final as well as milestones for Leinster winning their 6thChampionship title, Benetton reaching their first Final Series and referee Nigel Owens overseeing his 180th game and 6th Final in the Championship.

With 116 players from the Guinness PRO14 teams selected for the Rugby World Cup 2019, it’s now a test of which sides can ensure their vital opening games count, with a batch of new stars ready to hit the spotlight and take hold of the reins during start of the PRO14 campaign.

There are new Conference make-ups this season and a more intense run-in to the end of the season with a summer season finish in June 2020 and Premier Sports is proud to provide every second of action as it happens.

Battling it out in Conference A will be Glasgow Warriors, Leinster Rugby, Ulster Rugby, Ospreys Rugby, Dragons Rugby, Zebre Rugby Club, Toyota Cheetahs.

Contenders in Conference B will be: Edinburgh Rugby, Munster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, Cardiff Blues, Scarlets, Benetton Rugby, Isuzu Southern Kings.

The campaign will kick-off on South African soil for the first time as recently crowned Currie Cup champions, Toyota Cheetahs, take on last season’s beaten finalists and 2015 champions, Glasgow Warriors, in Bloemfontein on Friday (Sept 27th) evening live on Premier Sports 2 from 5.55pm.

That’s closely followed by a big opening night of live rugby at Kingspan Stadium as Ulster host Ospreys in Belfast (Premier Sports 1 from 7pm) along with five games back-to-back on Saturday.

Former 70 cap Wales international Tom Shanklin is part of the Premier Sports team giving insight into the opening weekend of PRO14 action and says it’s a great time for the sport: “It’s a fantastic time if you love rugby, the World Cup has served up some brilliant games already with plenty of drama, shocks and controversy and now throw in all the PRO14 action which will come thick and fast every weekend – it’s an exciting time for our sport and with so much on offer it’s engaging more and more people to watch.

“This will be vital time for PRO14 teams to make their mark during the opening games with a number of experienced players who haven’t made the trip to Japan playing key roles as well as stars in the making who will have even more pressure and responsibility on their shoulders.

“They’ll all want to start strongly, it’s going to be a competitive and exciting opening weekend and we’ll get a measure of how well these teams have prepared during the summer for this first phase of the Championship.”

On the four Welsh regions' campaigns this season Shanklin added: “It’s tough for the Ospreys with so many away on international duty right now and it will be good to see Luke Price (10) have a run of games to show how consistently he can perform plus having the experience of Scott Williams in the ranks and Dan Evans at 15 will be key to them.

Cardiff Blues need to start well and it’s a plus from a team bonding and morale point of view to be out in South Africa together at the start of the season; it’s like a mini tour and we know that teams that are tight and get on well off the field often produce the goods on the field.

“Scarlets have a fresh voice and new philosophy with a new coaching set-up and we know if they play well they have such tempo and width in their game that they will stretch opponents – we’ve come to expect a lot from them.

"For the Dragons, they are in a rebuilding phase and will miss Moriarty and Wainwright (who has been a revelation for Wales) in the pack - but they’ve made smart signings and we’re hearing good things. Getting Dean Ryan in to lead rugby and give the team inspiration and a blueprint to play from will be positive - he will not mess around; and bringing in Sam Davies as a recognised 10 to control the game and put them in the right areas is something that’s been missing from the Dragons for a while.”

Your commentary teams this weekend on Premier Sports are:

  • Live from Ulster v Ospreys: Graham Little, Mark Robson, Lauren Jenkins, Stephen Ferris, Tom Shanklin
  • Live from Edinburgh v Zebre: Dougie Vipond, Rory Hamilton, Jenny Drummond, Hugo Southwell, Tom Shanklin

All seven PRO14 games will be shown live on Premier Sports as follows:

  • Fri 27th Sept 2019 Cheetahs v Glasgow Warriors KO 6.05pm Live on Premier Sports 2 (from 5.55pm)
  • Fri 27th Sept 2019 Ulster v Ospreys KO 7.35pm Live on Premier Sports 1 (from 7pm)
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019 Munster v Dragons KO 3pm Live on FreeSports (from 2.55pm)
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019 Kings v Cardiff Blues KO 3pm Live on Premier Sports 2 (from 2.55pm)
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019 Scarlets v Connacht KO 5.15pm Live on Premier Sports 2 (from 5pm)
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019 Benetton v Leinster KO 5.15pm Live on Premier Sports 1 (from 5.10pm)
  • Sat 28th Sept 2019 Edinburgh v Zebre KO 7.35pm Live on Premier Sports 2 (from 7.20pm)

Premier Sports customers can now enjoy an even bigger package of great live sports coverage for just £99 per year with all 152 Guinness PRO14 games live on Premier Sports 1, Premier Sports 2 and FreeSports plus LaLiga and Serie A, MLS , Eredivisie, Scottish Cup football NASCAR and NHL.

Premier Sports is available in 16 million UK homes across Sky and Virgin platforms and to everyone via the Premier Player https://www.premierplayer.tv/ while FreeSports is available to 22 million UK homes across six different platforms.

Rugby fans can subscribe on Sky or the Premier Sports Player. Visit www.premiersports.com to sign up to see all the live action.

They’ve made smart signings and we’re hearing good things... Getting Dean Ryan in to lead rugby and give the team inspiration and a blueprint to play from will be positive...
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