The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will kick-off on the weekend of April 23rd-24th with Leinster and Munster set to meet in the opening round (LIVE on eir sport 1 Sat, April 24th from 7pm).
Ulster and Connacht are also set to meet in round one (LIVE on eir sport 1 from 8pm on Fri. April 23rd), with Connacht set to host Leinster and Munster to take on Ulster at Thomond Park in round two on May 8th.
Leinster host Ulster in round three on May 15th, with Connacht travelling to Limerick to face Munster.
The opening three weekends of derby action will be followed by cross-hemisphere fixtures where the existing Guinness PRO14 teams will face the Vodacom Bulls, the Emirates Lions, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers for the very first time.
Changes to scheduling and format of the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup have been made to limit travel where possible with the opening three rounds accounting for derby fixtures across Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.
Rounds four through six will see the four South African ‘Super’ franchises play their away games in Europe and those fixtures will be confirmed once all appropriate travel approvals have been confirmed by the relevant authorities and governments.
This format means that no teams from Europe will travel to South Africa for Guinness Rainbow Cup games.
A total of six rounds (eight games per round) will take place with all teams ranked in a single league table.
The top two teams will then meet in the final on June 19th.
PRO14 Rugby is currently consulting with broadcast partners to select kick-off times and will confirm the scheduling as soon as possible.
“Everyone is glad that we can now put some certainty into the rugby calendar in what has been an unpredictable period," David Jordan, PRO14 Rugby Tournament Director, said.
"Planning for a cross-hemisphere competition where the situation has been so fluid has provided many challenges, but we believe we have found a solution that is practical and safe to deliver a unique competition that supporters can get excited about.
“Throughout the Guinness PRO14 season we have liaised with our unions and their governments to ensure we are meeting the conditions set out for elite sport to operate.
"We are very grateful for that support, without which a cross-border competition such as ours could not have taken place.”
Rainbow Cup Schedule
Round 1: April 23rd-24th
Ulster v Connacht
Leinster v Munster
Benetton v Glasgow Warriors
Edinburgh v Zebre Rugby Club
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues
Dragons v Scarlets
Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions
DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks
Round 2: May 8th
Connacht v Leinster
Munster v Ulster
Zebre v Benetton
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh
Cardiff Blues v Dragons
Scarlets v Ospreys
DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls (May 1st)
Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions (May 1st)
Round 3: May 8th-15th
Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks (May 8th)
Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers (May 8th)
Munster v Connacht
Leinster v Ulster
Benetton v Zebre
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues
Dragons v Ospreys
Round 4: Weekend of May 29th
Round 5: Weekend of June 5th
Round 6: Weekend of June 12th
Final: Weekend of June 19th
***Watch the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup LIVE on eir sport. Go to https://www.eirsport.ie/rugby for more details.