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PRO14 Champion Leinster will begin his first United Rugby Championship (URC) campaign with a home game against South African giant Bulls.
Leo Cullen’s men will be however, do not compete against a full Bulls outfit as the rugby championship is still ongoing, which means that their Springbok players will be in international action.
Since the rugby championship will not end before October 2nd the four South African franchises – the Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions – can do without their front runners for the opening rounds of the URC.
Munster will likely miss its Springbok stars Damian de Allende and RG Snyman as well, as Johann van Graan had a first URC fight against the sharks planning.
Leinster, who has won the last four PRO14 titles, wants to dominate the new competition, which will take place next month on the weekend of April 24th, 25th and 26th. Set to begin September, claim again.
The tournament organizers have been working on the schedule to ensure the cross-hemispheric competition can avoid as many Covid-19-related issues as possible.
Official confirmation is expected next week, as soon as the kick-off times with the relevant broadcasters are set.
Since Leinster will welcome the Bulls at RDS and Munster will host the Sharks, who will have the former Irish U-20 boss Noel McNamara on board as attack coach, Connacht will be on the trip on his way from Andy Friend to Cardiff. the latest insights from our rugby correspondent Rúaidhrí O’Connor.
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With Covid continuing to create widespread problems in South Africa, teams from that part of the world are not expected to travel to the Rainbow Nation until later this year, or in some cases in 2022.
The Bulls, Sharks, Stormers and Lions play their opening games in Ireland and Italy. With South Africa on the UK’s “red list”, which means that those arriving from the country will have to spend 10 days in quarantine, the URC organizers are aiming for the tournament to start off as smoothly as possible.
Munster could be the first Irish team to travel to South Africa in December, with Connacht, Leinster and Ulster potentially looking to 2022.
Though it was difficult for the teams to come up with concrete plans a little over five weeks before the new season started the current schedule, which was sent to the clubs last week, will be announced to the public shortly.
The provinces have been back in preparation training for several weeks, with the respective Lions players following their successes in South Africa in the summer take a longer break.
The URC is scheduled to start the last weekend in September and run for six weeks in a row.
Sixteen teams have been divided into four regional pools – iris ch, Welsh, Italian and Scottish and South African.
In a single league table, the eight best teams qualify for the knockout phase, with a betting system established to ensure home advantage before the first URC final on the weekend of 23. /24./25. June 2022 to be determined.
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