PRO14 Rugby hopes August return won’t be kicked for touch

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PRO14 Rugby hopes August return won’t be kicked for touch

The regular season will be cut from 21 game rounds to 15, but teams will be compensated

Sports reporter
Howard Mnisi of the Southern Kings during a PRO14 match against Connacht Rugby at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on March 1.
raring to go Howard Mnisi of the Southern Kings during a PRO14 match against Connacht Rugby at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on March 1.
Image: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images

The return of competitive rugby in SA has a target date.

The PRO14 is due to resume on August 22 across all five of its competing territories‚ which means the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings are set for combat that weekend.

The date‚ however‚ is subject to government and SA Rugby ratification.

“That’s the way I understand it, but this is very exciting‚” enthused Robbi Kempson‚ Southern Kings’ high-performance director.

“Obviously the governments in the UK‚ Ireland‚ Italy and here have different protocols and requirements in place‚ so we’ll have to wait and see, but at least we have a target date‚” he said.

The sides will be involved in derby matches earmarked for the two competing PRO14 teams respectively in Italy‚ Scotland and SA. The two teams from each territory play back-to-back fixtures‚ while the derby fixtures for the teams in Ireland and Wales have yet to be confirmed and will be announced in line with kickoff times and broadcast selections.

The date was agreed at a PRO14 board meeting last week and based on the information available from each jurisdiction in which the competition is played.

“Since announcing an indefinite suspension of match action in March‚ the tournament team at PRO14 Rugby has worked alongside key medical personnel at our unions and clubs, as well as key stakeholders, such as World Rugby, to map out a return to action‚” the competition said in a statement.

With rigorous protocols outlined for training‚ game-day logistics and match play‚ PRO14 Rugby is confident that proposals submitted by our unions to governments ... will allow our teams to get back on the pitch.
PRO14 Rugby

“With rigorous protocols outlined for training‚ game-day logistics and match play‚ PRO14 Rugby is confident that proposals submitted by our unions to governments across the UK‚ Ireland‚ Italy and SA will allow our teams to get back on the pitch. Discussions around these proposals will be ongoing between each union and their respective governments.”

The 2019-20 season will have an abbreviated finish that features the most attractive matchups and rivalries from the competition, with two rounds of derby games in each territory counting towards final positions.

This will cut the regular season from 21 game rounds to 15. Games postponed before the indefinite suspension will be deemed 0-0 draws, as previously stated.

The postponed round 13 fixtures of Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys and Benetton Rugby v Ulster have been deemed 0-0 draws and all four teams will have two points added to their totals as a result.

The season will be concluded across four consecutive weekends with the PRO14 final targeted for September 12. The two teams that finish top of their conferences will qualify for a semifinal stage to compete for places in the final.

PRO14 Rugby will consider the latest information in the territories that knockout games could take place before making a final decision on the venues.

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