The United Rugby Championship (URC) fixtures have been confirmed with the first matches taking place in 50 days’ time on the weekend of September 16th-18th which is notable for the first Irish interprovincial derby of the season when Ulster host Connacht at the Kingspan stadium.
The league stage of the tournament incorporates 18 rounds of matches with the specific dates, times, and broadcast schedule to be confirmed early next month. Some traditions remain intact, Munster will host Leinster at Thomond Park over the Christmas period with Connacht welcoming Ulster to Galway.
The Irish provinces will ring in the New Year a second dose of sibling rivalry with Leinster hosting Connacht at the RDS and Munster making the trip to Belfast to take on Dan McFarland’s side. The DHL Stormers, will play their opening game in the defence of the title they won so memorably last season against Connacht in round two – the Stormers game against the Sharks listed for round one will take place in February.
Andy Friend’s Connacht are the first of the Irish provinces to head for South Africa and after playing the Stormers in Cape Town and then travelling to Pretoria to take on the Bulls. Ulster, who beat Leinster in both league encounters last season, will be hoping to continue that run when they take on Leo Cullen’s side in round three.
Graham Rowntree’s first home game as Munster head coach takes place the same weekend when the province hosts Zebre Parma. Connacht welcome Munster and Leinster to Galway on successive weekends before Rowntree and his charges head for Dublin where Leinster await in round six.
The tournament will break for a month to accommodate the November Test series window and again for a couple of weeks apiece in December and January for the Heineken Champions Cup pool fixtures.
There will be two rounds of URC fixtures during the seven weeks of the 2023 Six Nations Championship, both of which will take place on the break weekends during the latter tournament.
Munster and Leinster will be in South Africa at the same time in mid-April for the final two rounds of the league format. Leinster will play the Lions in Johannesburg and the Bulls in Pretoria while Munster face the Stormers in Cape Town and the Cell C Sharks in Durban.
The URC format will see all 16 teams ranked across a single table which will reward the top eight teams with their places in the quarter-final, followed by semis and a Grand Final. The final positions in the league will also act as a qualification process for Europe.
URC fixtures 2022-2023
R1 – September 16th/17th/18th: Edinburgh v Dragons RFC; Ulster v Connacht; Benetton v Glasgow Warriors; Zebre Parma v Leinster; Scarlets v Ospreys; Cardiff v Munster; Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers **Feb (3rd/4th) Emirates Lions v Vodacom Bulls **Feb (3rd/4th)
R2 – September 23rd/24th/25th: Zebre Parma v Cell C Sharks; Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff; Leinster v Benetton; DHL Stormers v Connacht; Vodacom Bulls v Edinburgh; Scarlets v Ulster; Ospreys v Emirates Lions; Dragons RFC v Munster.
R3 – September 30th/October 1st/2nd: Cardiff v Emirates Lions; Ulster v Leinster; Benetton v Scarlets; DHL Stormers v Edinburgh; Vodacom Bulls v Connacht; Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors; Munster v Zebre Parma; Dragons RFC v Cell C Sharks.
R4 – October 7th/8th/9th: Edinburgh v Emirates Lions; Zebre Parma v DHL Stormers; Glasgow Warriors v Vodacom Bulls; Connacht v Munster; Benetton v Dragons RFC; Scarlets v Cardiff; Leinster v Cell C Sharks, Ulster v Ospreys.
R5 – October 14th/15th/16th: Edinburgh v Benetton; Ospreys v DHL Stormers; Emirates Lions v Ulster; Cell C Sharks v Glasgow Warriors; Munster v Vodacom Bulls; Scarlets v Zebre Parma; Cardiff v Dragons RFC; Connacht v Leinster.
R6 – October 21st/22nd/23rd: Connacht v Scarlets; Benetton v Vodacom Bulls; Zebre Parma v Edinburgh; Emirates Lions v Glasgow Warriors; Cell C Sharks v Ulster; Dragons RFC v Ospreys; Cardiff v DHL Stormers; Leinster v Munster.
R7 – October 28th/29th/30th: Scarlets v Leinster; Glasgow Warriors v Benetton; Cardiff v Edinburgh; Dragons v Zebre Parma; Munster v Ulster; Ospreys v Connacht; Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks (**Feb 10th/11th); Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers (**Feb 10th/11th)
R8 – November 25th/26th/27th: Benetton v Edinburgh; Emirates Lions v Dragons RFC; Vodacom Bulls v Ospreys; Cell C Sharks v Cardiff; Munster v Connacht; DHL Stormers v Scarlets; Leinster v Glasgow Warriors; Ulster v Zebre Parma.
R9 – December 2nd/3rd/4th: Edinburgh v Munster; Zebre Parma v Glasgow Warriors; Cell C Sharks v Ospreys; DHL Stormers v Dragons RFC; Emirates Lions v Scarlets; Vodacom Bulls v Cardiff; Connacht v Benetton; Leinster v Ulster.
R10 – December 24th/25th/26th: Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh; Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions; DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls; Benetton v Zebre Parma; Dragons RFC v Cardiff; Connacht v Ulster; Munster v Leinster; Ospreys v Scarlets.
R11 – December 30th/31st/January 1st: Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors; Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Bulls; DHL Stormers v Emirates Lions; Zebre Parma v Benetton; Scarlets v Dragons RFC; Leinster v Connacht; Ulster v Munster; Cardiff v Ospreys.
R12 – January 6th/7th/8th: Dragons RFC v Vodacom Bulls; Glasgow Warriors v DHL Stormers; Benetton v Ulster; Connacht v Cell C Sharks; Cardiff v Scarlets; Munster v Emirates Lions; Ospreys v Leinster; Edinburgh v Zebre Parma.
R13 – January 27th/28th/29th: Ulster v DHL Stormers; Zebre Parma v Ospreys; Benetton v Munster; Dragons RFC v Glasgow Warriors; Connacht v Emirates Lions; Scarlets v Vodacom Bulls; Edinburgh v Cell C Sharks; Leinster v Cardiff Rugby.
R14 – February 17th/18th/19th: Glasgow Warriors v Ulster; Munster v Ospreys; Zebre Parma v Connacht; Scarlets v Edinburgh; Leinster v Dragons RFC; Cardiff Rugby v Benetton; Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers; Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks.
R15 – March 3rd/4th/5th: Munster v Scarlets; Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Parma; Cardiff v Ulster; Dragons RFC v Connacht; Edinburgh v Leinster; Ospreys v Benetton; Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions; DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks.
R16 – March 24th/25th/26th: Benetton v Emirates Lions; Ulster v Vodacom Bulls; Scarlets v Cell C Sharks; Zebre Parma v Cardiff; Leinster v DHL Stormers; Ospreys v Dragons RFC; Connacht v Edinburgh; Munster v Glasgow Warriors.
R17 – April 14th/15th/16th: Cell C Sharks v Benetton; Connacht v Cardiff; Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets; Vodacom Bulls v Zebre Parma; Emirates Lions v Leinster; Edinburgh Rugby v Ospreys; DHL Stormers v Munster; Ulster v Dragons RFC.
R18 – April 21st/22nd/23rd: DHL Stormers v Benetton; Glasgow Warriors v Connacht; Emirates Lions v Zebre Parma; Vodacom Bulls v Leinster; Ospreys v Cardiff; Dragons RFC v Scarlets; Cell C Sharks v Munster; Ulster v Edinburgh Rugby.