URC 2023:24 fixture list
URC 2023:24 fixture list
This represents the earliest release of the URC league’s fixtures (with kick-off times) in the history of the competition which will provide teams and fans with greater time to plan for the season ahead.
Just like last season fans can download fixtures directly into their devices by using this link URC Fixtures 2023/24 (updates can take up to an hour based on demand).
The league’s 23rd season will kick off on Saturday, October 21 with six games taking place followed by a further two on Sunday, October 22. URC champions Munster will begin their title defence on Saturday when they host the Sharks from Durban at 17:15 in Thomond Park.
The first fixture of the regular season’s 144 games will come from Italy when Ulster travel to face Zebre Parma, before Connacht host Ospreys at the same time that the Lions and Stormers contest the first derby of the year.
In Wales, Dragons RFC will host Edinburgh and Cardiff Rugby welcome Benetton to the Arms Park. The following day the Bulls take on Scarlets before a clash between two of last season’s Playoff sides as Leinster visit Scotstoun to take on Glasgow Warriors.
After a two-year window of home or away fixtures against non-Shield opponents, the sequencing has been refreshed. The home and away sequence from this season will be reversed for the 2024/25 campaign to ensure a fair balance of home and away games against the same opponents over a two-year cycle.
ALSO READ: South African crowned best coach in URC
In a new approach aimed at reducing long-haul travel across the league, the South African teams will tour twice rather than three times. This means a four-match tour to Europe in the early part of the season followed by a two-game tour after the Six Nations (a balance of two three-game tours will be implemented if future calendars allow for it).
Additionally, the earlier generation of fixtures will assist all teams in their cross-hemisphere travel with improved access to different seat classes and cost efficiencies related to bookings made further in advance.
The opening weekends of the URC will see games played across Saturday and Sunday afternoons to avoid clashes with Rugby World Cup fixtures on Friday and Saturday nights.
With no November Test series break, URC teams will take on a schedule of 11 consecutive weekends of rugby (including EPCR) so January will also provide two relief weekends for teams to take a break in play and to accommodate traditional festive fixturing on December 26 (Tuesday) in Wales and Ireland.
Further efficiencies in fixture generation and grading have also been made possible due to the URC’s supplier arrangement with Ligalytics, a German sports scheduling firm who work with many sports including rugby, football, cricket, basketball and hockey.
The league would also like to thank Dragons RFC and Ospreys Rugby, who both share venues with football teams, to allow the scheduling work to begin ahead of the publication of the EFL fixture list. This has allowed for a considerable amount of progress to occur much earlier than in previous years and to deliver earlier publishing of the fixtures.
Also, in the previous season, all derby games in Wales will occur in afternoon or late afternoon slots thanks to the support of all broadcasters involved.
ALSO READ: Good riddance to the URC shield system
“The fixture list is the central pillar to the operation of our league and teams and providing certainty to fans, clubs and broadcasters earlier than ever will have a positive impact. Providing a set of fixtures that aims to balance kick-off times which encourage attendance and deliver big broadcast while factoring in the travel necessary to compete in the URC is a monumental task that cannot be underestimated.
“Each year we feel we are learning more and more about how to refine and improve our process and the final fixture list itself and I must express great gratitude to our broadcast partners who have supported so many requests from the league and our clubs. To deliver this fixture list 102 days ahead of kick-off is unprecedented for our league and gives us another target to beat again next year.”