Dates and times confirmed for Irish province's return to rugby
White smoke from Sandyford.
Guinness PRO14 officials have confirmed the dates, times and venues for the concluding rounds of the 2019/20 season. Provisional dates have also been provided for what is being called the 'Final Series'.
It has long been known that the August 22-23 weekend was the targeted date for the league to resume - following a lengthy break due to the Covid-19 pandemic - but plans have now been finalised and released.
Leinster and Munster will kick off professional rugby's return on these shores with a game at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, August 22 at 7:35pm. The following day, at the same venue, Connacht will face off against Ulster.
One week later, Leinster and Ulster are pencilled in for another evening kick-off (7:35pm on August 29) with Connacht and Munster going at it from 3pm on Sunday, August 30.
On travel for the condensed knock-out stages and final of the league, a PRO14 statement reads:
'Our respective unions involved in the Guinness PRO14 are in continued discussion with their relative authorities and governments regarding travel protocols and protective measures. It is expected that cross-border travel will be permitted for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.'
At present, Leinster have already secured a home semi-final - most likely against Munster - while Ulster could find themselves travelling to Edinburgh for their semi.
The two South African sides, Cheetahs and Southern Kings, have no dates set for their derby games as both have only returned to training this week. The league will follow the advice of South African officials and medical experts about a safe return to play.
Planning is already underway for the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season with the start date for round one provisionally set for October 3.
The full details are below, with all games live on eir Sport and Premier Sport (for those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and on TG4 when indicated.
Friday, 21 August
Benetton Rugby v Zebre (Stadio Monigo, Treviso at 7pm/8pm Italian)
Saturday, 22 August
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues (Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli at 3pm)
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors (BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh at 5.15pm)
Leinster v Munster (Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 7.35pm)
Sunday, 23 August
Ospreys v Dragons (Liberty Stadium, Swansea at 2.15pm)
Connacht v Ulster (Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 4.30pm, live on TG4)
Friday, 28 August
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh (BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh at 7.35pm)
Saturday, 29 August
Dragons v Scarlets (Rodney Parade, Newport at 15.15pm)
Ulster v Leinster (Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 7.35pm)
Sunday, 30 August
Munster v Connacht (Aviva Stadium, Dublin at 3pm)
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys (Rodney Parade, Newport at 5pm)
Zebre v Benetton Rugby (Stadio Lanfranchi, Parma at 17pm/8pm Italian)
Guinness PRO14 Final Series
Semi-Finals: To be played on the weekend of 4th/5th/6th September
Finals: To be played on Saturday, 12th September
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