The Guinness PRO14 have provisionally planned to finish its suspended 2019/20 season with two rounds of August derby fixtures before staging semi-finals and a final in September in a schedule that also allows for the restart of the delayed Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments.
Officials in Ireland last month revealed the weekend of August 22 as their return to play date, part of a draft PRO14 proposal that will see derby fixtures also held that same weekend and the following weekend – August 29 – in Wales, Scotland, Italy and South Africa.
Just 13 of the scheduled 21 rounds of fixtures were played when the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Rather than try and hold all eight remaining rounds, it has been reported in Wales that officials will host just two before moving on to the semi-finals which could see holders Leinster take on Munster in Dublin with Edinburgh hosting Ulster in the other semi-final.
As it stands, unbeaten Leinster currently lead Conference A with 61 points, 20 clear of second-place Ulster who have a seven-point lead on third-place Glasgow. In Conference B, Edinburgh are two points ahead of Munster with third-place Scarlets eight points behind the Irish province.
The weekend of September 19 has been set aside for the 2019/20 final, with European quarter-finals potentially taking place the week before that date and European semi-finals happening the week after.
No match has been played in the five-nation league since Connacht’s win over Southern Kings on March 1 in Port Elizabeth. Provided the PRO14’s restart plans are green-lighted by the various governments, it will see a 25-week break in total in between matches.
PROPOSED FIXTURE SCHEDULE
AUGUST 29: Ulster v Leinster, Cardiff Blues v Ospreys, Dragons v Scarlets, Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh, Benetton v Zebre, Cheetahs v Southern Kings, Munster v Connacht.
SEPTEMBER 5: Winner Conference A v Runner-up Conference B, Winner Conference B v Runner-up Conference A.
SEPTEMBER 12: European quarter-finals.
SEPTEMBER 19: PRO14 final.
SEPTEMBER 26: European semi-finals.
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