As PRO14 Rugby and SA Rugby worked towards an agreement to include the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings, a fixture list was prepared alongside these discussions.
Until an agreement had been signed with the SA Rugby then it was not feasible to release a fixture list to our clubs and broadcasters.
That process will clubs consulted first, then our broadcasters – Sky Sports, BBC Wales, BBC Northern Ireland, BBC ALBA, TG4, S4C and our South African broadcaster – make their selections for live TV coverage before a final consultation with our clubs who can then arranged travel.
Thanks to the endeavours of our broadcasters last season we were able to announce the first 13 rounds of the season with kick-off times, which was a considerably high number based upon previous fixture announcements.
Rotation of Home & Away games each season
The number of away games played by a team against opponents from the other Conference will switch each season. Teams will play either 10 or 11 away games per season, so for example, if Scarlets play 11 away games in 2017/18 then the goal when putting together the fixture list in 2018/19 will be to ensure they play 10 away games.
The initial balance of away fixtures was predicated on a number of factors including: stadium availability; club preference; player welfare and the accommodation of mini-tours involving fixtures with South African clubs.
In the case of the extra derby game for the Italian, Scottish & South African teams, the club which hosts two of the three fixtures in 2017/18 will then be away from home in two of the three derby fixtures in 2018/19 and so on.