Prem and URC to make October starts


The Premiership and United Rugby Championship (URC) will both start in October for the upcoming season, with each of their finals taking place in June.

Both leagues will avoid large chunks of the Rugby World Cup, with the Premiership getting underway the weekend after the group stages (13 October) while the URC starts the weekend after the quarterfinals (21 October).

Both finals, the Premiership on 8 June and URC on 22 June, will be held well after the conclusion of the European Challenge and Champions Cup finals, which will be played on the 24 and 25 May respectively.

Although the Premiership’s fixtures have yet to be released, and will only be revealed next Tuesday, the URC did release their fixtures over 100 days before the competition is set to start.

Reigning champions Munster host the Sharks in the opening round, with the Scarlets heading to the Bulls to start a two-week trip to South Africa which is followed by a game at last year’s finalists and 2022 champions Stormers.

Ospreys travel to Connacht to start their season, and though they won’t be affected in their first home game against Zebre, they will have to make alternative arrangements for hosting three matches this season which will clash with Swansea City FC home games.

Cardiff and Dragons host Benetton and Edinburgh respectively on the opening weekend before the two Welsh sides face each other the day after the World Cup Final in round two on 29 October.

“The fixture list is the central pillar to the operation of our league and teams and providing certainty to fans, clubs and broadcasters earlier than ever will have a positive impact,” said URC chief executive Martin Anayi.

“Providing a set of fixtures that aims to balance kick-off times which encourage attendance and deliver big broadcast while factoring in the travel necessary to compete is a monumental task that cannot be underestimated.

“Each year we feel we are learning more and more about how to refine and improve our process and the final fixture list itself and I express great gratitude to our broadcast partners who have supported requests from the league and our clubs.

“To deliver this fixture list 102 days ahead of kick-off is unprecedented for our league and gives us another target to beat again next year.”

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