South African rugby union franchises the Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings have joined the new Guinness PRO14 tournament. The teams will join separate sides of two newly expanded conferences, ahead of the 2017/18 Championship.
The new Guinness PR014 Championship looks set to become one of the fiercest rugby union competitions in the world. The tournament will be comprised of two seven-team conferences with an equal geographical split, and include teams from The UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.
Every team will play each other at least once, with Irish, Scottish and South African teams playing an additional derby fixture to balance out the schedule. The top teams from each conference will earn themselves a spot in the semi-finals, and the second and third teams will compete in a playoff format to decide the second semi-final match.
To combat the additional travelling time for both the South African teams and teams journeying to South Africa, tournament organisers have granted a seven-day turnaround. Travelling teams are expected to play South African sides back-to-back.
Our advice: Forget trying to keep up with the complicated schedule, and check RedZoneSports for the latest news and upcoming fixtures.