Guinness PRO14 officials have finally confirmed its exact fixtures schedule for next month’s restart of the suspended 2019/20 season,  the five-country league getting underway on Friday, August 21, with an Italian derby featuring Benetton and Zebre in Treviso.

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Three games will follow on the Saturday, Scarlets hosting Cardiff Blues in Llanelli, Edinburgh taking on Glasgow at Murrayfield and Leinster hosting Munster at the Aviva Stadium. The restart weekend then concludes on the Sunday with Ospreys hosting Dragons in Swansea followed by the meeting of Connacht and Ulster in Dublin. 

However, while there has been a green light for the resumption of the league in Italy, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, the two participating South African clubs, Cheetahs and South Kings, will remain idle as the ongoing pandemic is too severe yet in that country for rugby to restart just yet. 

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Cheetahs and Kings were supposed to play each other twice on consecutive weekends but that will not be possible in August. It’s a delay, though, that won’t affect the knockout stage scheduling as both teams are not in contention for the semi-finals on the weekend of September 5. 

A statement from the PRO14 read: “At this point, no dates have been fixed for the Guinness PRO14 derby games between the Cheetahs and Southern Kings. Due to the current conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, both teams have only been allowed to return to non-contact training this week. PRO14 Rugby remains in constant dialogue with SA Rugby and the clubs and aim to identify appropriate dates for the two derbies when possible.”

Tournament director David Jordan added: “So far we have been encouraged by the developments that have allowed all of our teams to return to training. Thanks to the great efforts of our clubs and unions, the willingness of governments and the support of our broadcasters we now have a fixture list to look forward to.

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“Everyone who makes our games possible has had to adapt to a new way of working under the restrictions of the pandemic and the response of all our key stakeholders has been very impressive. With these fixtures now confirmed we are all geared to the safe delivery of these games and to the welcome return of rugby after such a long period without the sport.”

Guinness PRO14 Restart Fixtures

Round 14

Friday, August 21: Benetton Rugby v Zebre | Stadio Monigo, Treviso at 19:00 (20:00 ITA).

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Saturday, August 22: Scarlets v Cardiff Blues | Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli at 15:00 UK; Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors | BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh at 17:15; Leinster v Munster | Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 19:35.

Sunday, August 23: Ospreys v Dragons | Liberty Stadium, Swansea at 14:15; Connacht v Ulster | Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 16:30 (live on TG4).

Round 15

Friday, August 28: Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh | BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh at 19:35.

Saturday, August 29: Dragons v Scarlets | Rodney Parade, Newport at 17:15; Ulster v Leinster | Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 19:35.

Sunday, August 30: Munster v Connacht | Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 15:00; Cardiff Blues v Ospreys | Rodney Parade, Newport at 17:00; Zebre v Benetton Rugby | Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma at 19:00 UK (20:00 ITA).

Guinness PRO14 Final Series

Semi-Finals: To be played on the weekend of September 4/5/6.

Finals: To be played on Saturday, September 12.

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