Four South African sides to compete with Guinness PRO14 sides in Rainbow Cup

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Email:

ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Four South African sides to join Guinness PRO16 in April

The Guinness Pro14 trophy

THE current Guinness PRO14 campaign will end in March allowing South Africa’s four ‘Super’ teams and existing clubs to finish the season with a 16-team “Rainbow Cup” competition ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour, it has been confirmed this Wednesday

After consulting with key PRO14 stakeholders, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup was chosen as the best pathway to finish up the current campaign and introduce South Africa’s four ‘Super’ teams: the Vodacom Bulls; Emirates Lions; Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers.

This decision also allows our European-based sides to earn qualification for European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) tournaments in 2021/22 in a fair and equitable manner.

Ahead of the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will provide a ground-breaking spectacle for fans who will see international star players from north and south establish new rivalries in their bid for the ultimate Test selection.

Right through until the last kick of the ball in the Rainbow Cup in June, fans will be able to watch it all unfold with our broadcast partners Premier Sports, eir Sport, S4C, TG4, DAZN and Super Sport.

How It Will Work:

– The 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 campaign will finish after 16 rounds with the Conference winners facing each other in a final in late March

– Qualification for EPCR tournaments in 2021/22 will be decided by rankings after Round 16

– On April 17, 2021, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will kick-off and introduce the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers and their World Cup-winning Springboks

– The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will consist of a pool stage (two pools of eight teams) and a final between the two pool winners

Final Chapter Of Guinness PRO14

Rounds 12 to 16 will take place from February 20 and conclude on March 20. A final will then take place at the home venue of the highest-ranked team.

This abbreviated fixture list will aim to ensure home and away in-conference fixtures are completed and each team plays all of its cross-conference matches also. Further clarification will be available when fixtures are confirmed.

The scheduled dates for the conclusion of the 2020-21 Guinness PRO14 campaign are:

R12: February 20
R13: February 27
R14: March 6
R15: March 13
R16: March 20
Final: March 27

Once Round 16 has been completed, the top-ranked teams from each conference will qualify for the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup. Requirement for play-offs is under review.