Pro14 sides to play South African franchises in new tournament
New competition will run after the end of the Pro14 season in March
Siya Kolisi leads out the Stormers for a match last February. Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images
South Africa’s four Super Rugby franchises are to take part in an end-of-season tournament with teams from the Guinness Pro14.
The existing Pro14 campaign will end with a final on March 27th, at which point the newly formed Rainbow Cup, involving Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions, Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers, will begin.
It comes in advance of the British and Irish Lions’ tour to South Africa and will form an important element of the Springboks’ build-up to next year’s showdown.
The regular 2020-21 Pro14 season will conclude after 16 rounds, at which point the conference winners will face each other in a final.
Qualification for next season’s Champions and Challenge Cups will be decided after the 16 rounds.
The Rainbow Cup launches on April 17th and will consist of two pools of eight teams — the 12 current Pro14 sides and the four South African additions — and a final between their respective winners on June 19th.
“At a time where our sport has faced its greatest challenge, we have promising news about an innovative solution to partner with South African rugby ahead of the Lions tour,” Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi said.
“With a Lions tour in South Africa to come it is hard to think of anything better to whet the appetite than the best players from the Celtic regions competing against World Cup-winning Springboks in the Rainbow Cup.”