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A cursory glance at the fixture list for the SA franchises in the coming season should be enough to understand why it is so crucial for this country that the Rugby Championship that starts in Mbombela on Saturday is the last in its current time slot.

The United Rugby Championship (URC), meaning the franchise competition, kicks off a week before the end of the international competition with a similar name. The SA teams will have a bye that first weekend, but the final game of the southern hemisphere international competition will coincide with local team commitments...

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