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The next United Rugby Championship (URC) season is 50 days away, but SA teams have to wait a week longer to get the ball rolling.
All 18 rounds of the tournament that kicks off on September 16 have been confirmed, but broadcast selections and kickoff times are set to be confirmed early in August.
SA teams will not be in action on the opening weekend, which means the Stormers will only start the defence of their title a week later at home against Connacht.
The Bulls, finalists in the inaugural competition, are also at home at the start when they host last season’s quarterfinalists Edinburgh. The Sharks are away to Parma and the Lions will visit the Ospreys as their first engagements in this edition of the tournament.
The competition will feature seven rounds before the start of the Autumn Nations Series.
The URC format will again have all 16 teams ranked across a single table which will reward the top eight teams with their places in the quarterfinals, followed by the semifinals and Grand Final.
“The diversity of our league we so proudly celebrate, is also a reason for the immense complexity of putting together our season two fixtures,” said Martin Anayi, the CEO of the URC.
“We have seen the success of our tournament format culminating in the grandest of grand finals last season and we look forward to going on this journey with our fans and with our stakeholders to another successful year of world-class rugby in action.”
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.