The Guinness Pro14 will be replaced by the United Rugby Championship from next season as South Africa’s four former Super Rugby franchises join the 12 European teams.
In a 16-team competition Cardiff Rugby will play 18 regular season games, facing our Welsh rivals home and away, and the other 12 teams either home or away, with conferences done away with as we return to having just one league table. At the end of the season the top eight sides will qualify for the play-offs.
All 16 teams are eligible to qualify for the 2022/23 European competitions, with the four top teams from Wales, Ireland, South Africa and jointly Italy and Scotland qualifying for the Heineken Champions Cup, as well as the next four sides based on league table ranking.
The league has committed to retaining this format for at least five years, putting to an end the recent habit of changing the league format every two-to-three years and giving supporters some continuity, as well as reducing clashes between international test matches and league games, ensuring the best players are available more regularly.