The United Rugby Championship has released a new schedule, adjusted to compensate for the Covid disruption it suffered last month.
A number of South African derbies have been brought to consecutive weekends in January and February in order to minimise inter-continental travel in the short term, while postponed fixtures from November and December which were due to take place in South Africa will now be moved to the weekends of March 11/12 and March 18/19, with more details to follow in the new year.
To avoid further rescheduling in the immediate calendar, fixtures involving South African teams due to take place in Ireland and Italy have been rescheduled to the final weekend of February.
In a statement, the league executive said: “The URC is fully committed to playing all games as scheduled but will ensure that the welfare of teams and players comes first.
“The league is greatly encouraged by the decision of the UK government to ease travel restrictions with respect to South Africa and will continue to comply with directions set out by the health authorities and government departments in our various jurisdictions.
“The URC Medical Advisory Group will continue to provide regular guidance and updates to our Clubs regarding best practice and health and safety measures in relation to Covid-19 protocols.”