Stuart Lancaster expects playoffs if Rainbow Cup is cancelled
Rainbow Cup was set to see South African sides face Pro14 teams in new competition
Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster believes the Pro14 will have a Plan B if the Rainbow Cup does not go ahead. Photograph: Inpho
With the Rainbow Cup in April increasingly unlikely due to South Africa’s difficulty controlling Covid-19, the Pro14 have provided their European teams with some short-term certainty. The fixture list up to March 22nd has been confirmed with a final between the winners of Conference A and B pencilled in for the following weekend.
Munster are 11 points clear of Connacht after 10 rounds in Conference B while Leinster are one point behind Ulster, with a game in hand, at the top of Conference A.
“If the Rainbow Cup gets cancelled there is an opportunity to play the [South African] Franchise Cup,” said Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus ahead of next month’s decision that will also impact the British and Irish Lions tour.
Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster believes the “Pro 12” will revert to its usual end of season play-offs if the South African teams are unable to journey north.
“We’ve got fixtures until the end of the Six Nations,” said Lancaster. “Obviously the plan then was to host some form of final and then the Rainbow Cup.
“I assume - this is me just speculating as I have not heard - if the Rainbow Cup doesn’t take place the Pro 12 would extend to a regular 22 game season and you would have some sort of play-off system at the end, which would be Plan B, I would say.
“I am assuming Plan A is still the Rainbow Cup.”
The next round of interprovincials happens the week before Ireland face Scotland at Murrayfield with Connacht down in Limerick on March 5th and Leinster up to Belfast on March 6th.
Leinster are expected to include Tadhg Furlong, Dan Leavy and Ryan Baird in the pack that plays the Scarlets on Saturday in Llanelli.
Remaining rescheduled fixtures
Saturday, January 30th
R5: Benetton v Munster – 5pm Stadio Monigo, eir Sport 1, Premier Sports
R8: Scarlets v Leinster – 7.35pm Parc y Scarlets, Premier Sports, eir Sport 1, TG4
Friday, February 5th
R5: Dragons v Connacht – 7.35pm Rodney Parade, TG4, eir Sport 1 (deferred)
Friday, February 12th
R7: Dragons v Edinburgh – 7.35pm Rodney Parade, eir Sport 1
Saturday, February 13th
R11: Glasgow Warriors v Benetton – 2.30pm Scotstoun Stadium, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Friday, February 19th
Dragons v Leinster – 7.35pm Rodney Parade, eir Sport, TG4
Glasgow Warriors v Ulster – 7.35pm Scotstoun Stadium, eir Sport
Saturday, February 20th
Scarlets v Benetton – 3pm Parc y Scarlets, eir Sport
Connacht v Cardiff Blues – 7.35pm The Sportsground, Premier Sports, Eir Sport (deferred)
Ospreys v Zebre – 5.15pm Liberty Stadium, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Edinburgh v Munster – 7.35pm BT Murrayfield, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Friday, February 26th
Benetton v Connacht – 5.30pm Stadio Monigo, Premier Sport, TG4, eir Sport (deferred)
Cardiff Blues v Munster – 8pm Cardiff Arms Park, Premier Sports, eir Sport, TG4
Ulster v Ospreys – 8pm Kingspan Stadium, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Saturday, February 27th
Edinburgh v Scarlets – 12pm BT Murrayfield, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Zebre v Dragons – 5.15pm Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, eir Sport, Premier Sports
Sunday, February 28th
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors – 5.30pm RDS Arena, eir Sport, Premier Sport
Friday, March 5th
Munster v Connacht – 7.35pm Thomond Park, eir Sport, Premier Sports
Saturday, March 6th
Zebre v Glasgow Warriors – 2pm Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Ulster v Leinster – 7.35pm Kingspan Stadium, Premier Sport, eir Sport
Sunday, March 7th
Edinburgh v Benetton– 3.15pm BT Murrayfield, Premier Sport, eir Sport
Ospreys v Dragons – KO TBC
Friday, March 12th
Glasgow Warriors v Ospreys – 8pm Scotstoun Stadium, Premier Sport, eir Sport
Zebre v Leinster – 5.45pm Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, eir Sport, Premier Sports
Munster v Scarlets – 8pm Thomond Park, eir Sport, Premier Sport, TG4
Saturday, March 13th
Connacht v Edinburgh – 7.35pm The Sportsground, TG4, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Dragons v Ulster – 7.35pm Rodney Parade, Premier Sport, eir Sport
Sunday, March 14th
Benetton v Cardiff Blues – 1pm Stadio Monigo, Premier Sport; eir Sport
Friday, March 19th
Munster v Benetton – 6pm Thomond Park, TG4, eir Sport, Premier Sport
Ulster v Zebre – 8.15pm Kingspan Stadium, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Leinster v Ospreys – 8.15pm RDS Arena, eir Sport, TG4, Premier Sports
Sunday, March 21st
Dragons v Glasgow Warriors – 3pm Rodney Parade, Premier Sports, eir Sport
Monday, March 22nd
Scarlets v Connacht – 8pm Parc y Scarlets, Premier Sports, eir Sports, TG4
Cardiff Blues v Edinburgh – 8pm Cardiff Arms Park, Premier Sports, eir Sport
*All kick-off times and TV details are for an Irish audience