The Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings have joined the Guinness PRO14 and the Championship will move to a Conference format.
Martin Anayi, CEO PRO14 Rugby, commented: “Our expansion into South Africa has the future of the Championship at its heart – more sustainable clubs, attracting the best players, taking on different styles of rugby and entertaining the fans from whistle to whistle – and the release of these fixtures aims to immediately deliver on that.
With all the exciting news that has surrounded the unveiling of the Guinness PRO14 we know the fans have been eager to see the fixture list, but hopefully the wait has been worthwhile as we believe these fixtures will further enhance the excitement across each of the Championship’s five territories.”
The new season opens on the evening of Friday 1st September as Ulster take on Toyota Cheetahs live on BBC Northern Ireland, the game will also be screened live in South Africa with our broadcaster who will be confirmed in the coming days.
The next day sees champions Scarlets welcome the Southern Kings at Parc Y Scarlets.
Last season the Kings scored notable away wins in Super Rugby against the Bulls and the Waratahs and will be eager to make an early statement against a Welsh team packed full of international talent.
In 2016/17 the Guinness PRO12 featured 295 internationals and for the forth coming Championship season organisers of the Guinness PRO14 have worked closely with each of the unions to ensure that where possible derby games do not clash with international call-ups.
To close the season fans from all the regions will be treated to a round of full-blooded derby action on Super Saturday in Round 21.
The Guinness PRO14 Final Series will begin on May 4 with the Quarter-Final stages and the Semi-Finals are slated for May 18.
The two teams who emerge from these fixtures will meet in the Guinness PRO14’s showpiece Final on Saturday, May 26.
Click the following link for the full list of PRO14 clashes: