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United Rugby Championship release new fixture list after Covid-19 disruptions

FILE - A view of a scrum during the United Rugby Championship game between Edinburgh and the Bulls at The DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh. Photo: Craig Watson/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

FILE - A view of a scrum during the United Rugby Championship game between Edinburgh and the Bulls at The DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh. Photo: Craig Watson/INPHO/Shutterstock/BackpagePix

Published Dec 20, 2021


Johannesburg — The United Rugby Championship (URC) on Monday released its renewed plans and schedule to get the tournament back on track after a recent bout of matches in South Africa were cancelled due to the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions imposed on the country.

Released via statement, the URC revealed that fixtures involving the SA franchises for the weekend of January 7 to be hosted in Ireland and Italy have been moved to the end of February to avoid any further disruptions due to Covid-19.

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Moreover, the home matches of the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers that were postponed at the end of November, have now been rescheduled for the weekends of March 11 and March 19, while several SA derbies have also been adjusted to accommodate the revised schedule. That now includes an earlier round of derbies on Saturday, January 22, which will see the Lions v Sharks at 3pm and the Bulls host the Stormers at 5pm.

This round of matches will be the first bout of matches that the SA franchises play in the new year in the competition after a month-long hiatus.

In a statement, organisers said they were fully committed to playing all games as scheduled but would ensure that the welfare of teams and players came first.

The statement read: “The league is greatly encouraged by the decision of the UK government to ease travel restrictions with respect to South Africa and will continue to comply with directions set out by the health authorities and government departments in our various jurisdictions.

“The URC Medical Advisory Group will continue to provide regular guidance and updates to our Clubs regarding best practice and health and safety measures in relation to Covid-19 protocols.

“The dates and kick-off times for Round 18 will be confirmed next month after consultation with our broadcast partners who have been of great assistance during this process.”

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Rescheduled fixtures

Round 10 – Saturday, January 8: Edinburgh v Cardiff, Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys, Munster v Ulster, Scarlets v Dragons

Round 8 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, January 22: Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks, Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers

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Round 11 – Friday, January 28: Ulster v Scarlets, Dragons v Benetton; Saturday, January 29: Emirates Lions v Vodacom Bulls, Connacht v Glasgow Warriors, Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers, Zebre Parma v Munster, Ospreys v Edinburgh, Cardiff v Leinster

Round 9 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, February 5: Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks

Round 12 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, February 12: Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks

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Round 12 – Friday, February 18: Munster v Edinburgh, Cardiff v Zebre Parma; Saturday, February 19: Leinster v Ospreys, Scarlets v Connacht, Glasgow Warriors v Benetton, Sunday, February 20: Dragons v Ulster

Round 10 (Rescheduled) – Friday, February 25: Zebre Parma v Vodacom Bulls, Leinster v Emirates Lions; Saturday, February 26: Connacht v DHL Stormers, Benetton v Cell C Sharks

Round 13 – Friday, March 4: Ulster v Cardiff, Edinburgh v Connacht; Saturday, March 5: Benetton v Leinster, Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors, Munster v Dragons; Sunday, March 6: Ospreys v Zebre Parma

Round 6 (Rescheduled) - Weekend of March 11/12/13: DHL Stormers v Zebre Parma, Cell C Sharks v Scarlets, Vodacom Bulls v Munster, Emirates Lions v Cardiff

Round 7 (Rescheduled) – Weekend of March 18/19/20: Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets, Cell C Sharks v Zebre Parma, Emirates Lions v Munster, DHL Stormers v Cardiff

Round 14 – Friday, March 25: Emirates Lions v Ospreys, Munster v Benetton: Saturday, March 26: Zebre Parma v Scarlets, DHL Stormers v Ulster, Cell C Sharks v Edinburgh, Cardiff v Glasgow Warriors, Vodacom Bulls v Dragons, Connacht v Leinster

Round 15 – Friday, April 1: Cell C Sharks v Dragons, Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Parma; Saturday, April 2: Benetton v Connacht, Vodacom Bulls v Ulster, Emirates Lions v Edinburgh, DHL Stormers v Ospreys, Leinster v Munster, Scarlets v Cardiff

Round 13 (SA Derbies) – Saturday, April 9: DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions

Round 16 – Friday, April 22: DHL Stormers v Glasgow Warriors, Ulster v Munster, Edinburgh v Zebre Parma; Saturday, April 23: Vodacom Bulls v Benetton, Emirates Lions v Connacht, Dragons v Scarlets, Cardiff v Ospreys, Cell C Sharks v Leinster

Round 17 – Friday, April 29: Vodacom Bulls v Glasgow, Munster v Cardiff; Saturday, April 30: Emirates Lions v Benetton, Cell C Sharks v Connacht, Zebre Parma v Dragons, DHL Stormers v Leinster, Ospreys v Scarlets, Edinburgh v Ulster

Round 18 – Weekend of May 20/21/22 (To Be Confirmed in January 2022): Connacht v Zebre, Parma, Leinster v Edinburgh, Ulster v Cell C Sharks, Dragons v Emirates Lions, Scarlets v DHL Stormers, Ospreys v Vodacom Bulls, Glasgow Warriors v Munster, Benetton v Cardiff

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