• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

United Rugby

mdaclarke

Bench Player
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
740
Country Flag

Wales

Club or Nation

Wales


South African teams to take part in United Rugby Championship

The new PRO Rugby competition including the four South African teams has been announced as the United Rugby Championship on Tuesday morning.

The United Rugby Championship will kick off in September 2021 as the top clubs from South Africa (the Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls) combine with the PRO14 to create a 16-team league.

This game-changing agreement between SA Rugby and PRO14 Rugby will strengthen their existing partnership and drive greater growth of the game to the benefit of all 16 teams in the league.

The URC will use one league table to rank the teams who will reach the knockout stages and compete to reach the ***le and become the champions.

The regular season of the United Rugby Championship will take place across 18 rounds with each team’s fixtures comprising six home AND away fixtures against their regional pool opponents and 12 home OR away fixtures against the remaining teams in the league.

One league table will be used to rank teams and after 18 rounds the top-eight sides will qualify for the playoffs. Teams will be seeded from one to eight and will receive home advantage according to their seeding.

A full round of quarter-finals and semi-finals will take place to produce two teams who will qualify for the grand final.

Regional pools

Irish pool: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster

Welsh pool: Dragons, Cardiff Rugby, Ospreys, Scarlets

South African pool: Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls

Italian & Scottish pool: Benetton Rugby, Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors, Zebre Rugby Club.


A total of eight teams from the United Rugby Championship will qualify each season for the following season’s European Champions Cup. The balance of teams will participate in the Challenge Cup.

Subject to the finalisation of contract terms with EPCR, South African teams will be eligible to qualify for the European Champions Cup from the 2022-23 season if they have finished in the United Rugby Championship qualification places from the prior season.
 

TRF_Olyy

English Arrogance
Staff member
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Messages
100,006,419
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Sale

Terrible name, but the format is as good as you'll get from a grouped tournament

EPCR are going to have to rename in 2022 then, if they're allowing South African franchises in
 

Groundhog

Grond van der Hogg
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
8,127
Country Flag

Aaland

Club or Nation

Munster

Can we be in the Welsh pool please? European qualification surely the biggest take away from this. Format looks ok to me. More derbies, one table and variety of games looks good to me.
 

Redman7

Academy Player
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
64
Finally excited about provincial rugby again. This is great for the league as it badly needed a boost. Not sure about a team qualifying for the champions cup from each regional pool. Could end up with some very week teams qualifying.

They looked at 140 names. I would love to see some of those names! The name they went with could apply to literally any league in the world. Its very boring. When I first saw it flash up on my phone I thought it was something to do with the US and the the cheetahs and Kings were involved. I like the new font though.
 

big ginger 8

Hall of Fame
TRF Legend
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
10,333
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

Simple nice format, only potential issue I see is the Irish and SA teams being hurt by having to play more games against stronger sides. Could lead to similar results as the Rainbow but hopefully over the longer season it'll even itself out and the Irish teams will probably have similar rotation against each other as they do over the Christmas period currently.

Definitely not a name that jumps out.
 

Al Bangor

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
2,870
Country Flag

United States

Club or Nation

United States

I just checked my email and got the good news. I like the URC name and logo better than PRO16, which is what I thought they'd call it. The four pools and seeding makes sense.


1623755151884.png
 
Last edited:

big ginger 8

Hall of Fame
TRF Legend
Joined
Jul 4, 2011
Messages
10,333
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

That's the problem - it is anything but.

With 16 teams across 5 countries and 2 continents I think it's as simple as could be hoped for. I think as an NFL fan as well this is certainly a lot more intuitive.
 

Groundhog

Grond van der Hogg
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Apr 6, 2011
Messages
8,127
Country Flag

Aaland

Club or Nation

Munster

I think the format is pretty straight forward too. Its a straight up league table, top 8 make the knockouts with no terrible conference like this year. As fair and straight forward as it can be while still protecting the tournaments marquee games; the derbies (esp the Irish ones lets be real).

European qualification is a slightly different story, with the top team in each pool (1 Irish, 1 Welsh, 1 SA, 1 Scottish/Italian) qualifying as well as the next four teams in the overall table. Problematic in a sense that a team in the top 8 could be screwed out of qualification though.

On the name, I liked Rainbow Cup well enough. URC is kinda like a non licensed Rugby Challenge tournament, but its..... fine.
 

Redman7

Academy Player
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
64
I wonder are Guinness no longer sponsors or have they ditched the ***le sponsor altogether?

Looking at their website, the branding/presentation is a lot slicker than previous versions of the league. Although it has improved as the years have gone on. Hopefully that's a small sign of more money for marketing etc..

All the little logos for each team is really cool and each pool has a logo aswell. They manage to be modern without tacky like an American football team.. or some of the MLR teams
 

Al Bangor

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
2,870
Country Flag

United States

Club or Nation

United States

I hope they keep their broadcast contract with ESPN+. I've been streaming the games for the past four years and would like to continue to do so.
 
Last edited:

dullonien

International
TRF Legend
Joined
Nov 2, 2006
Messages
5,477
Country Flag

Wales

Overall I'm pretty positive. I like the format a lot, very clear and simple imo. One table will really help after having split conference tables.

European qualification is understandable and reasonably fair imo. There should be a strong representative from each pool, even if technically a stronger team might miss out. We're not talking the Italian whipping boys of Heineken Cup of yesteryear, because the Scottish sides should keep them honest.

In reality though the league really needs the Welsh regions to stand-up and be consistently competitive. All 4 regions have 'decent' squads now who on paper should compete with everyone (almost), but all too often they fall short, or are hugely inconsistent. There's been some big improvements on the coaching front over the past 2 seasons (Scarlets+Peel tbc), so we now really need to see that translate into good seasons for all 4 (minimum 2). If that happens, and Glasgow, Edinburgh and Benetton do likewise (haven't got too much hope for Zebre), then the league could be hugely interesting.

Even if that doesn't transpire, at least the SA should give the Irish provinces some serious competition, something which has been lacking with any real consistency probably since the Ospreys were at their peak!
 

higgik

Academy Player
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
492
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

Saracens

That's the problem - it is anything but.
No it is simple.

You play everyone home or away and then your own 'country' in reverse fixtures.

The play off qualification will, effectively, be 4 group winners and then 4 next best records.
 

Old Hooker

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
4,294
Country Flag

England

As an Englishman I’m ambivalent how this competition is structured. Everyone seems happy enough, which is great.

I don’t though like the idea of the SA sides in the Champions Cup. Used to have a clear purpose in establishing Europe’s premier club - still a local dust up but a step up from leagues and a bit more exotic. Now it won’t be continental, or even hemispherical. Best in time zone perhaps? The SA teams will bring something to the party and others will see it differently, but for me the competition will lose a bit of identity and soul.
 

mdaclarke

Bench Player
Joined
Oct 10, 2015
Messages
740
Country Flag

Wales

Club or Nation

Wales

As an Englishman I’m ambivalent how this competition is structured. Everyone seems happy enough, which is great.

I don’t though like the idea of the SA sides in the Champions Cup. Used to have a clear purpose in establishing Europe’s premier club - still a local dust up but a step up from leagues and a bit more exotic. Now it won’t be continental, or even hemispherical. Best in time zone perhaps? The SA teams will bring something to the party and others will see it differently, but for me the competition will lose a bit of identity and soul.

It lost its identity and soul when it sold it to Cvc
 
Top