Rainbow Cup fixtures confirmed
The Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers’ first foray into Europe has been confirmed with the news that the PRO14 Rainbow Cup will kickoff 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, SA and Wales.
Rounds 4 to 6 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 SA for Rainbow Cup games because of prevailing Covid-19 conditions.
“This is exciting news for the four franchises that will move into Europe and I’m sure they will be eager to get the ball rolling in terms of preparing to face a whole new set of opponents,” said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby.
“We’ve seen the quality of rugby produced in the Guinness PRO14 this season, under difficult circumstances, and it will be great for our sides to test their mettle against some of the best club sides in the world, bringing with them new challenges."
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 SA.
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.
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