This season’s full United Rugby Championship fixtures have been revealed.
Due to the Rugby World Cup, the tournament will kick-off later than normal on Saturday, October 21 with the Grand Final on June 22. The Scarlets have by far the toughest start to the season with two away fixtures in South Africa against the Vodacom Bulls and the DHL Stormers, respectively.
Cardiff begin with home fixture against Benetton while the Dragons host Edinburgh. Fans won’t have to wait long before the first Welsh derby of the season which comes in the second weekend as the Dragons welcome Cardiff to Rodney Parade.
The Ospreys have a tricky trip to face Connacht in Galway to get their season under way, while they take on Zebre Parma in Swansea in the second round of fixtures. Staying true to tradition, the regions will play derby games over the Christmas period with the Ospreys facing the Scarlets in Llanelli on Boxing Day while the Dragons take on Cardiff at the Arms Park on the same day.
After a two-year window of home or away fixtures against non-Shield opponents, the sequencing has been refreshed. The home and away sequence from this season will be reversed for the 2024/25 campaign to ensure a fair balance of home and away games against the same opponents over a two-year cycle.
In a new approach aimed at reducing long-haul travel across the league, the South African teams will tour twice rather than three times.
“The fixture list is the central pillar to the operation of our league and teams and providing certainty to fans, clubs and broadcasters earlier than ever will have a positive impact,” said URC CEO Martin Anayi. “Providing a set of fixtures that aims to balance kick-off times which encourage attendance and deliver big broadcast while factoring in the travel necessary to compete in the BKT URC is a monumental task that cannot be underestimated.
“Each year we feel we are learning more and more about how to refine and improve our process and the final fixture list itself and I must express great gratitude to our broadcast partners who have supported so many requests from the league and our clubs. To deliver this fixture list 102 days ahead of kick-off is unprecedented for our league and gives us another target to beat again next year.”