SA Rugby has announced an amended fixture list for the Preparations Series which gets underway next weekend, with the Lions hosting the Pumas in the opening match on Friday evening.
Also, all 16 fixtures will be broadcast by SuperSport.
Eight local unions will each play four matches – two at home and two away – from next Friday until Sunday, 28 March.
The seven teams that contested the Currie Cup will be joined by newcomers, the EP Kings, who’re coached by former Springbok boss, Peter de Villiers.
The series of warm-up encounters has been specifically designed by the Rugby Department of SA Rugby and the competing unions to meet teams’ high-performance needs against the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prepare the players for the season ahead.
And, instead of weekly encounters, matches will be played on a 10-day cycle to manage COVID testing protocols. The eight teams have been split into two groups and will play cross-pool matches.
Pool A consists of the Bulls, Lions, Griquas and Cheetahs, and they will play the four sides in Pool B, namely the Sharks, Stormers, Pumas and Eastern Province.
Updated fixtures (home teams named first, all matches live on SuperSport)
Friday 26 February: Lions v Pumas 7pm
Saturday 27 February: Stormers v Cheetahs 5.15pm
Sunday 28 February: Bulls v Eastern Province 3pm, Sharks v Griquas 5.15pm
Tuesday 9 March: Cheetahs v Sharks 4.45pm, Pumas v Bulls 7pm
Wednesday 10 March: Eastern Province v Lions 4.45pm, Griquas v Stormers 7pm
Friday 19 March: Pumas v Cheetahs 4.45pm, Bulls v Stormers 7pm
Saturday 20 March: Eastern Province v Griquas 2pm, Lions v Sharks 4.15pm
Friday 26 March: Sharks v Bulls 7pm
Saturday 27 March: Griquas v Pumas 3pm, Stormers v Lions 5.15pm
Sunday 28 March: Cheetahs v Eastern Province 3pm