• Opening Rainbow Cup fixtures confirmed

    The Vodacom Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers’ first foray into Europe has been confirmed with the news that the PRO14 Rainbow Cup will kick-off on the weekend of 24 April, with fixtures for the first three rounds now established.

    Three weekends of derby action will be followed by cross-hemisphere fixtures where the existing Guinness PRO14 teams will face SA’s ‘Super’ teams for the very first time.

    The schedule has been designed to limit travel where possible with the opening three rounds accounting for derby fixtures across Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.

    Rounds four to six will see the four South African teams play their away games in Europe and those fixtures will be confirmed once all appropriate travel approvals have been confirmed by the relevant authorities and governments. The format means that no teams from Europe will travel to South Africa for Rainbow Cup games because of prevailing COVID-19 conditions.

    The PRO14 Rainbow Cup fixtures will be a foretaste of the rivalries to come later in the year when it is expected a significant number of players from the Welsh, Irish and Scottish clubs will be part of the British & Irish Lions touring party to take on the Springboks in South Africa.

    The PRO14 Rainbow Cup will feature a total of six rounds (eight games per round) and will feature all teams ranked in a single log. The top two teams will then play each other in the PRO14 Rainbow Cup Final on 19 June.

    David Jordan, Tournament Director, PRO14 Rugby said: ‘Everyone is glad that we can now put some certainty into the rugby calendar in what has been an unpredictable period.

    ‘Planning for a cross-hemisphere competition where the situation has been so fluid has provided many challenges, but we believe we have found a solution that is practical and safe to deliver a unique competition that supporters can get excited about.’

    ‘Throughout the PRO14 season, we have liaised with our unions and their governments to ensure we are meeting the conditions set out for elite sport to operate. We are very grateful for that support, without which a cross-border competition such as ours could not have taken place,’ added Jordan.

    PRO14 Rugby is currently consulting with broadcast partners to select kick-off times and will confirm the scheduling as soon as possible.

    FIXTURES

    ROUND 1 

    24 April 2021

    Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions

    DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks

    Ulster v Connacht

    Leinster v Munster

    Benetton v Glasgow Warriors

    Edinburgh v Zebre Rugby Club

    Ospreys v Cardiff Blues

    Dragons v Scarlets

    ROUND 2

    1 May 2021 (EPCR semi-final weekend)

    DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls

    Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions

    8 May 2021

    Connacht v Leinster

    Munster v Ulster

    Zebre v Benetton

    Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh

    Cardiff Blues v Dragons

    Scarlets v Ospreys

    ROUND 3

    8 May 2021

    Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks

    Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers

    15 May 2021

    Munster v Connacht

    Leinster v Ulster

    Benetton v Zebre

    Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors

    Scarlets v Cardiff Blues

    Dragons v Ospreys

    ROUND 4: Weekend of 29 May

    ROUND 5: Weekend of 5 June

    ROUND 6: Weekend of 12 June

    FINAL: Weekend of 19 June

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    Post by

    Craig Lewis