In 72 days, South Africa will raise the curtain on the new Guinness PRO14 campaign when the Toyota Cheetahs host 2015 champions Glasgow Warriors in Bloemfontein on Friday, 27 September.
All five unions within the Guinness PRO14 will host a game in Round 1, with Ulster and Ospreys also playing on opening night in Belfast as Benetton Rugby, Scarlets and Edinburgh complete the slate of home fixtures.
For the first time ever, fans can plan their weekends right up until Round 20, with all kick-off times and dates laid out right to the penultimate weekend of the regular season.
The Toyota Cheetahs and Glasgow Warriors fixture will kick-off a mammoth 152 games schedule that will culminate in the toughest run-in yet, as local and international rivals set their sights on lifting the Guinness PRO14 trophy, won by Leinster in May.
From Round 14 to 21 there will be only two weekend breaks in play as teams compete for precious placings in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series with seedings and Champions Cup qualification will all be up for grabs in a nine-week stretch. Details on the knock-out stages will be confirmed in due course.
Tournament Director, David Jordan, was pleased to see the new season kick off in South Africa for the very first time: “After two years the Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings have begun to establish themselves in the Guinness PRO14 and with each side starting with three home games there is a real opportunity for both of them to become a greater threat.
“We’re also pleased to have increased the number of 3pm kick-off times on Saturdays which works well for fans with families and for the broadcast audience. It’s also going to be one of the toughest schedules we’ve put together and thanks to the new global season we have a run-in that barely pauses for breath over the final nine weeks of the regular season.”