The Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) has announced that it has selected two franchises based in Rome - Praetorians - and Viadana - Aironi - as the two sides to be considered for participation in the Magners League in 2010/11.
The two new clubs have now until 30 September 2009 to demonstrate their professional viability and will then be subject to approval from the Board of the Magners League.
The FIR has also offered additional financial support to the new franchises if they can attract selected Italian internationals to join the new outfits in the coming seasons.
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.