Sun, 15 Dec 2019

PRO14 season to kick off on South African soil

News24
17 Jul 2019, 23:42 GMT+10

Cape Town - South Africa will raise the curtain on the new PRO14 campaign when the Cheetahs host 2015 champions Glasgow Warriors in Bloemfontein on Friday, September 27.

FIXTURES: Click for all the 2019/20 PRO14 fixtures

All five unions within the PRO14 will host a game in Round 1 with Ulster and Ospreys also playing on opening night in Belfast as Benetton Rugby, Scarlets and Edinburgh complete the slate of home fixtures with all the action screened live.

The Cheetahs and Glasgow Warriors fixture will kick off a mammoth 152 match schedule that will culminate in the toughest run-in yet, as local and international rivals set their sights on lifting the PRO14 trophy won by Leinster in May.

From Rounds 14-21 there will be only two weekend breaks in play as teams compete for precious placings in the PRO14 final series with seedings and Champions Cup qualification will all be up for grabs in a nine-week stretch. Details on the knock-out stages will be confirmed in due course.

The derby games that sit at the heart of the PRO14's intense rivalries are spread across eight rounds. This season, the calendar has allowed for the Welsh derby games to return to their traditional Boxing Day slot with Cardiff Blues facing Dragons in the east and Scarlets hosting Ospreys in the west.

The kick-off times for Round 21 will be set in early 2020 with a full round of derby matches providing added intrigue to the final day of the regular season. The first five rounds of the campaign will take place during the Rugby World Cup to help avoid a clash with the Six Nations which has led to only one weekend in a direct overlap with Test matches throughout the season (R12).

Due to the time difference in Japan there will be no direct clashes with kick-off times in the PRO14 so fans will able to take in all of the rugby on offer during this period.

The number of traditional 15:00 kick-off times in the UK and Ireland has increased by 75% from the 2018/19 season and sees 30 games scheduled for that time slot in the new campaign.

Fans in the UK can watch every game live on Premier Sports with FreeSports UK and S4C providing live and deferred Free-To-Air coverage throughout the season each weekend. FreeSports UK will confirm all of their selections later this summer.

The location, date and kick-off time of the 2020 PRO14 final will also be confirmed in the near future.

With 14 teams from five countries competing in the PRO14 across two hemispheres the process to formulate the fixture list comes with an extensive list of criteria to fulfil in terms of player welfare, working with the requests and needs of clubs in addition to the requirements of broadcasters.

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