THE fixture schedule for the first three rounds of the Guinness PRO14’s Rainbow Cup competitions has been unveiled, with Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors set to play each other twice more on the weekends of 8th and 5th May.

Those will be the fifth and sixth meetings between the two sides since rugby came out of lockdown last August. It is likely that the first of those matches, which is at Scotstoun, will count as the third leg of this year's 1872 Cup, although that has not been confirmed.

The Rainbow Cup was announced in December as a means of assimilating four South African franchises – DHL Stormers, Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks and Emirates Lions – into the PRO14 ahead of them becoming regular members of the PRO14 during the 2021-22 season. The four South African teams previously played against New Zealand, Australian, Argentinean and Japanese opposition in the southern hemisphere's Super Rugby competition but have decided that joining the PRO14 makes more sense logistically and financially. 

Nailing down the fixture schedule for the Rainbow Cup has been a complicated business due to the challenges presented by Covid, leading to the format of the competition being abbreviated into six rounds of matches with the teams ranked on a single league table. All the games will be played in Europe and the top two teams after round six will go on to play in a final on June 19th. 

The tournament will kick-off on the weekend of 24th April and the first three rounds up to 15th May will consist of ‘derby’ matches, before the South African sides travel north for rounds four to six, which will be played between 29th May and 12th June. As there are only four South African sides and 12 European sides, it is inevitable that each of the European sides will play only one match against either the Stormers, the Bulls, the Sharks or the Lions.  

PRO14 Rugby is currently consulting with its broadcast partners to select kick-off times for rounds one to three, while the fixture schedule for rounds four to six will be announced once all appropriate travel approvals have been confirmed by the relevant authorities and governments.  

“Everyone is glad that we can now put some certainty into the rugby calendar in what has been an unpredictable period,” said David Jordan, the tournament director for PRO14 Rugby. “Planning for a cross-hemisphere competition where the situation has been so fluid has provided many challenges, but we believe we have found a solution that is practical and safe to deliver a unique competition that supporters can get excited about. 

“Throughout the Guinness PRO14 season, we have liaised with our unions and their governments to ensure we are meeting the conditions set out for elite sport to operate. We are very grateful for that support, without which a cross-border competition such as ours could not have taken place.” 


Round One – Weekend of April 24, 2021: Ulster v Connacht, Leinster v Munster, Benetton v Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh v Zebre Rugby Club, Ospreys v Cardiff Blues, Dragons v Scarlets, Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks 

Round Two – Weekend of May 1, 2021 (EPCR Semi-Final Weekend): DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions 

Round Two – Weekend of May 8, 2021: Connacht v Leinster, Munster v Ulster, Zebre v Benetton, Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh, Cardiff Blues v Dragons, Scarlets v Ospreys 

Round Three – Weekend of May 8, 2021: Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks, Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers 

Round Three – Weekend of May 15, 2021: Munster v Connacht, Leinster v Ulster, Benetton v Zebre, Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors,Scarlets v Cardiff Blues, Dragons v Ospreys 

Round 4: Weekend of May 29. 

Round 5: Weekend of June 5. 

Round 6: Weekend of June 12. 

Final: Weekend of June 19.