16 teams compete in the United Rugby Championship, including four Irish teams, two Italian teams, two Scottish teams, four South African teams and four Welsh teams.
These teams are split into four regional pools, with the Scottish and Italian teams featuring in the same pool to make four pools of four teams.
Sides then play against their regional pool rivals at home and away. They’ll also play a further 12 matches by featuring in an even number of home and away matches against sides from the other pools.
The results from these fixtures will form one league table. At the end of the rounds, the top eight sides in the United Rugby Championship table will qualify for the quarter finals. These matches will be followed by semi-finals and a grand final.
The top side from each regional pool in the United Rugby Championship will also qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup (all points won in the competition count in these rankings). The remaining four places in the competition will then go to the highest ranked teams who have not yet qualified. The eight remaining teams will then play in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.