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The PRO12 could be set for a dramatic overhaul with the addition of two more teams from the USA and Canada.
The Scotsman are reporting that that new league format will be called the ‘Guinness Atlantic Rugby Championship,’ and is planned to begin as early as the 2018-19 season.
While Ireland were taking in 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 a the USA 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.
The Canadian franchise is reportedly planned for Toronto.
Two new additional teams would extend the Pro12 to 14 clubs and there are plans to split those 14 teams into two leagues. Every team in each league plays every other team in their league twice each season, home and away, for 12 games. In addition they would play every team in the other league but only once, home or away, for an additional six matches.
The regular season would consist of 18 games, four fewer than the current season.