Rugby kicks off in August

Ireland’s Andrew Conway in action for Munster against Saracens at Thomond Park, Limerick, on Dec. 7. INPHO/OISIN KENIRY

Leinster and Munster will restart professional rugby in Ireland next month as the Guinness PRO14 confirmed its return with an interprovincial clash at Aviva Stadium on Aug. 22. Connacht and Ulster will also meet at the Aviva on Aug. 23. PRO14 organizers released fixtures and kick-off times last week for the abbreviated end to the 2019-20 season, which has been suspended since March 12, when the Covid-19 outbreak began to sweep across Europe. The final is fixed for Sept. 12, but obviously organizers will wait to see who the finalists are, before confirming a venue. Then the Heineken European Cup recommences on the following weekend with Leinster playing Saracens at the Aviva on Sept. 19 and Ulster away to Toulouse the following day.

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Meanwhile the final two rounds of games in the delayed 2020 Six Nations will be played at the end of October, with Ireland home to Italy on Oct. 24 and away to France on Oct. 31.

-- Sean Creedon