How the United Rugby Championship works

THE URC includes 16 teams in one single division - unlike the PRO14, which was made up of two “conferences”. At the end of the regular season, the top eight progress to single-leg play-offs, the draw for which is based on final places (first plays eighth and so on).

But, for the purposes of European qualification and to ensure an 18-match regular season, the teams are also divided into four pools: Welsh, Irish, South African and Scottish/Italian. Every team plays the other three in their pool home and away - in Glasgow’s case, Edinburgh, Benetton and Zebre - totalling six matches. They also play the other 12 teams once each - either home or away.

The four teams that top their pools will qualify for the Champions Cup, as will the four other highest-placed teams from the final league table.


Glasgow Warriors

Danny Wilson endured a demanding first campaign at the helm, but by its end had the team playing in a coherent and convincing fashion. This season we are likely to see his distinctive stamp on the team right from the first match, thanks in part to some very promising recruitment over the summer.

Experienced international forwards Fraser Brown and Ryan Wilson will share the duties.

Players in
Duncan Weir (Worcester), Jack Dempsey (Waratahs), Josh McKay (Crusaders), Sione Tuipulotu (Shizuoka), Sebastian Cancelliere (Jaguares), Domingo Miotti (Western Force), Lewis Bean (Northampton Saints), Jamie Bhatti (Bath), Simon Berghan, Ally Miller, Murray McCallum (all Edinburgh) 

Players out
Huw Jones (Harlequins), Adam Hastings (Gloucester), Leone Nakarawa (Toulon), Niko Matawalu (Montauban), D’Arcy Rae (Bath), Aki Seiuli (Dragons), Fotu Lokotui (Agen), Robbie Nairn, George Thornton (both Ayrshire Bulls), Alex Allan (Hong Kong Scottish). Released: Mesu Dolokoto, Lee Jones, Ian Keatley, Paddy Kelly. Retired: Chris Fusaro, Bruce Flockhart. 

Last season
Fourth in Conference A - qualified for Champions Cup. Third in Rainbow Cup after winning four out of five matches.

With some high-quality signings such as Jack Dempsey added to young Scottish talent like Ross Thompson and Rufus McLean, the Warriors look set to put an indifferent couple of years behind them and again become a dynamic attacking force. This particular incarnation of the team is likely to take a season or two to hit its peak, but it will be in with a good shout of winning its pool.