Four South African teams, the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks, will join 12 clubs from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a brand new competition called the Vodacom United Rugby Championship (URC), which has emerged from the PRO12 and later PRO14. The competition kicks off in September 2021, with all the teams split into four conferences, with home and away matches against all the competing sides part of the schedule.
The Championship originated in 1999 when the Welsh and Scottish unions created a competition for their teams, and in 2001 four Irish provinces were added to create the Celtic League. The ambition amongst the three unions in 2001 was to create a vibrant and competitive professional club competition that would provide their players with the best preparation for Test level rugby. In 2010, two Italian teams were welcomed as the competition began to look boldly towards a more diverse future – this was reflected in the name change to PRO12 in later seasons. In a historic move in 2017, the Championship expanded to South Africa and, in keeping with its cross-border DNA, added the Cheetahs and the Southern Kings to become a cross-hemisphere club rugby tournament known as the PRO14.
24 Sep | Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma (Italy)
24 Sep | Kingspan Stadium, Belfast (Ireland)
24 Sep | Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff (Wales)
25 Sep | Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso (Italy)
25 Sep | Aviva Stadium, Dublin (Ireland)