The Guinness Pro14 has confirmed it is targeting a Saturday 22nd August return as it looks to complete the 2019/20 season in a truncated fashion.
A statement from the league explained that “the target date was agreed at the PRO14 Board meeting on Tuesday (June 9) based upon the information currently available from each jurisdiction in which the Guinness PRO14 is played.”
There will be two rounds of regular season games on the final two weekends of August, with the Scottish, Italian and South African teams playing back-to-back friendlies, while the Welsh and Irish teams will play against two of their fellow countrymen, with venues, kick-off times and broadcasters to be confirmed.
A leaked fixture list last month suggested that Cardiff Blues would play the Scarlets away in the first round of games before acting as the home side against Ospreys the following week. The Arms Park is unlikely to be available due to the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig with an announcement expected shortly on the club’s training and playing locations.
The season will then be concluded via a shortened knockout stage with the top two teams in each Pro14 Conference entering the play-offs in the first two weeks of September.
It has been decided that European qualification will be decided on the positions of teams after round 13, with the postponed games of Ospreys v Zebre and Benetton v Ulster being deemed as 0-0 draws. This means that Cardiff Blues drop to sixth in Conference B and will play in the 2020/21 Challenge Cup.
The Pro14 also announced that the weekend of October 3rd has been earmarked for the start of the 2020/21 season.