The fixtures for the 2021/22 season of the United Rugby Championship has been revealed with the opening round kicking off on 24th September.
The competition will see four South African clubs Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls joining the regular Pro14 teams and will have 144 regular season matches spread across 18 rounds.
"We believe these fixtures will ensure that the URC could deliver on its promise of a new era for our league where the very best from South Africa go head-to-head with our Celtic and Italian teams," said Martin Anayi, CEO of United Rugby Championship.
"As we carefully manoeuvre out of the pandemic, the URC will take its place as one of the leading leagues in global rugby and this fixture list should ignite our competition and take it to the next level."
The opening round will see South African side Emirates Lions travel to Parma to take on Zebre on 24th September, Friday which will also feature games involving Ulster, Glasgow Warriors, Cardiff Blues and Connacht.
Stormers will play their first game on 25th September with an away fixture against Benetton while Bulls will take on defending champions Leinster at Aviva Stadium on the same day. The fourth South African side will be locking horns with Munster at Thomond Park while Edinburgh will host Scarlets in their new stadium.
The final round will come to a conclusion on 26th September with a clash between Dragons and Ospreys.
“This schedule is the most complex we have ever produced and the efforts of every one of our stakeholders to help us piece it together in the current climate have been monumental," added Anayi.
"We now have a format that will heighten competition, showcase our clubs, elevate our athletes and bring great excitement to fans and TV audiences right across our territories and beyond.”
Round 1 Fixtures:
Friday, September 24
Zebre v Emirates Lions
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff v Connacht
Saturday, September 25
Benetton v DHL Stormers
Leinster v Vodacom Bulls
Munster v Sharks
Edinburgh v Scarlets
Sunday, September 26
Dragons v Ospreys