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Leinster face early tour of South Africa as Pro14 fixtures released

Ulster’s opening fixture versus the Cheetahs will be broadcast on South African tv.

ULSTER’S OPENING FIXTURE in the revamped Pro14 will see them host the Cheetahs at Kingspan Stadium, with the game scheduled to be broadcast in South Africa as well as BBC Northern Ireland.

The broadcaster will be confirmed “in the coming days,” as per the statement which was released alongside the fixtures for the upcoming season, which kicks off on Friday 1 September.

Last year’s beaten finalists Munster will host Benetton at Irish Independent Park the same evening, with kick-off in both fixtures at 19:35.

Leinster and Connacht will take to the field a day later, with Leo Cullen’s men visiting Rodney Parade to face the Dragons at 15:15 on Saturday 2 September, and the westerners hosting Glasgow at the Sportsground at 19:35. Dragons versus Leinster will be shown live on Welsh channel S4C as well as Sky Sports, while Connacht’s opener will feature on TG4.

Also on TG4 will be the Cheetahs’ visit to Thomond Park in week two, with kick-off at 17:15 on Saturday 9 September. At 19:35 that same night, Connacht will host the Southern Kings at the Sportsground, with their first taste of South African action set to immediately follow Munster-Cheetahs on TG4.

Leinster will be the first Irish province to visit South Africa when face the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on Saturday 16 September. That, too, will be shown live on TG4, and will kick-off at 13:15 Irish time. A week later, they’ll play the Cheetahs at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein.

Rounds 6 and 7 of the new campaign fall on either side of the European window, and will see big derbies for the Irish and Welsh teams, with Munster visiting Leinster in Round 6 at the Aviva, and Scarlets hosting the Blues in Round 7. There will be further derbies for the Irish provinces in Rounds 11 and 12.

For the travelling Red Army, Munster’s first trip to South Africa won’t be until Round 19, on the weekend of 6/7/8 April, with a solid date yet to be confirmed. Connacht will travel to the Cheetahs a month prior, with Ulster making the 9,000-mile round trip as soon as Round 8 at the start of November.

The full fixture list can be found here.

Martin Anayi, CEO of Pro14 Rugby, said of the new season: “Our expansion into South Africa has the future of the Championship at its heart – more sustainable clubs, attracting the best players, taking on different styles of rugby and entertaining the fans from whistle to whistle – and the release of these fixtures aims to immediately deliver on that.”

“With all the exciting news that has surrounded the unveiling of the Guinness Pro14 we know the fans have been eager to see the fixture list, but hopefully the wait has been worthwhile as we believe these fixtures will further enhance the excitement across each of the Championship’s five territories.”

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