Rainbow Cup fixtures announced but final plans still unconfirmed
Cross-hemisphere decider could take place in Italy in June
Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
The organisers of the Guinness Pro 14 Rainbow Cup have published the remaining fixtures for rounds four, five and six of the competition, with kick-off times and broadcast details confirmed.
Teams in the northern section of the competition will play a total of five games across six rounds prior to the final, and will receive a bye week on the weekends they were originally scheduled to host a South African team between rounds four to six.
Meanwhile, the South African sides will play a total of six games across seven weeks and take a bye weekend on May 28th.
Supporters in the UK and Ireland can watch all the Rainbow Cup SA action on Eir Sport and Premier Sports.
However, there is still no indication as to whether the final, scheduled for Saturday, June 19th, will be a cross-hemisphere playoff between the respective winners of the northern and southern sections, or whether there will be a final between the top two in the northern half of the competition.
Apparently the organisers are of a mind to hold a cross-hemisphere final between the respective table toppers, with a venue in Italy being explored as a preferred option. Failing that, then there will presumably be a final between the top two teams in the northern half of the tournament.
Friday, May 14 th
Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 6pm
Leinster v Ulster, RDS, 8.15pm
Saturday, May 15th
Lions v Stormers, Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg 1.30pm (12.30pm Irish time)
Scarlets v Cardiff Blues, Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli, 3pm
Benetton v Zebre, Stadio de Monigo, Treviso, 6.15pm (5.15pm Irish time)
Bulls v Sharks, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, 6.15pm (5.15pm Irish time)
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors, Muurayfield, 7.35pm
Sunday, May 16th
Dragons v Ospreys, Rodney Parade, 1pm
Saturday, May 22nd
Sharks v Stormers, Kings Park, Durban, 1pm (Noon Irish time)
Lions v Bulls, Emirates Airlines Park, 3.30pm (2.30pm Irish time)
Friday, May 28th
Munster v Cardiff Blues, Thomond Park, 7.35pm
Saturday, May 29th
Ulster v Scarlets, Kingspan Stadium, 3pm
Benetton v Connacht, Stadio di Monigo, 6.15pm (5.15pm Irish time)
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors, TBC, 7.35pm
Friday, June 4th
Bulls v Stormers, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, 7pm (6pm Irish time)
Connacht v Ospreys, The Sportsground, 6pm
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster, Scotstoun, 8.15pm
Saturday, June 5th
Edinburgh v Ulster, Murrayfield, TBC
Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park, 4pm (3pm Irish time)
Cardiff Blues v Zebre, Cardiff Arms Park, TBC
Friday, June 11th
Zerbe v Munster, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, 7pm (6pm Irish time)
Leinster v Dragons, RDS, 8.15pm
Saturday, June 12th
Stormers v Lions, Cape Town Stadium (4pm /3pm Irish time)
Sharks v Bulls, Kings Park, 6.15pm (5.15pm)
Ospreys v Benetton, TBC, 7.35pm
Sunday, June 13th
Scarlets v Edinburgh, Parc y Scarlets, 1pm