Saturday, 22 August has been selected as a target date for the 2019-20 PRO14 season to restart across all five competing territories.
The target date was agreed at the PRO14 board meeting on Tuesday, 9 June based upon the information currently available from each jurisdiction in which the competition is played.
With rigorous protocols outlined for training, game-day logistics and match play, PRO14 Rugby is confident that proposals submitted by its unions to governments across the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa, will allow the teams get back on the pitch. Discussions around these proposals will be on-going between each union and their respective governments.
The 2019-20 season will have an abbreviated finish that features the most attractive matchups and rivalries from the PRO14 with two rounds of derby games in each territory counting towards final positions. This will cut the regular season from 21 game rounds to 15. Games postponed prior to the indefinite suspension will be deemed 0-0 draws as previously stated by PRO14 Rugby on 28 February 2020.
The postponed round-13 fixtures – Zebre Rugby Club vs Ospreys and Benetton Rugby vs Ulster – have now been deemed 0-0 draws and all four teams will have two points added to their totals as a result. The updated tables can be viewed at www.pro14.rugby/match-centre/table/2020
Derby rounds in Italy, Scotland and South Africa will have the two teams from each territory play back-to-back fixtures. The derby fixtures for the teams in Ireland and Wales have yet to be confirmed and will be announced in line with kick-off times and broadcast selections.
The season will be concluded across four consecutive weekends with the Guinness PRO14 final targeted for Saturday, 12 September. The two teams which finish top of their conferences will qualify for a semi-final stage in order to compete for places in the final. PRO14 Rugby will consider the latest information in the territories that knockout games could take place before making a final decision on the venue(s).
Tournament director comment
David Jordan, tournament director of the PRO14, said: ‘Safety has been, and will continue to be, the highest priority as we look to activate our plans to restart the 2019-20 season. We are very fortunate to be in a position where everyone involved is confident that we can conclude the season on the field of play.
‘The work and diligence of our leading medical personnel at our unions, our clubs, World Rugby and key stakeholders to get us to this point have been immense. Operating across five territories often brings different complexities to the Guinness PRO14 but our unions have worked hard to bring proposals to their governments so we may put plans into action.’
Proposed game rounds
Round 14: Saturday, 22 August
Round 15: Saturday, 29 August
Semi-Finals: Saturday, 5 September
Final: Saturday, 12 September
Venues, timings & cross-border travel
When venues across all five territories are agreed upon, consultations will begin with broadcast partners and all key stakeholders around suitable kick-off times. The respective unions involved in the PRO14 are in continued discussion with their relative authorities and governments regarding travel protocols and protective measures.