By Denis J. Croke
The Pro14 will return after a five-month Covid-19 pandemic hiatus with derbies from Saturday 22 August.
The season will have an abbreviated finish that features the most attractive match-ups and rivalries from the Pro14 with two rounds of derby games in each territory counting towards final positions. This will cut the regular season from 21 games to 15.
Teams from the same nation will play against each other home and away before the season is concluded with semi-finals and a final. Those finishing in the top two places in Conference A and B will contest the semi-finals. The final is scheduled to take place on Saturday 12 September with the venue to be confirmed.
Matches postponed prior to the indefinite suspension will be deemed 0-0 draws as previously stated by Pro14 Rugby on 28 February. The postponed Round 13 fixtures Zebre v Ospreys and Benetton v Ulster have now been deemed 0-0 draws and all four teams will have two points added to their totals as a result.
Four consecutive weekends from the restart date have been earmarked to conclude the campaign.
Defending champions Leinster and Edinburgh lead Conference A and B respectively.
European qualification will be based on finishing positions after round 13, which has already been finalised along with the unplayed games deemed draws.
Once the competition formats for the 2020/21 season have been announced by EPCR, then Pro14 Rugby will confirm its qualifying teams for the Heineken Champions Cup. Connacht are set to join the other three Irish side in the Champions Cup next season based on this judgement.