The traditional sporting schedule has long since been a thing of misty memory and the Guinness PRO14 will break new ground with the start of the new season next month as it introduces prime-time Monday Night Rugby to the schedule.

Monday nights have proven a winner for the Premier League and the NFL and there is little reason to believe it will not be the same here.

The concept is being given a kick start as well with Thomond Park the first venue on October 26th when Munster host the Cardiff Blues with an 8-15 kick-off.

We cannot forecast how many fans might be allowed in by that time but the game will be televised live on eir Sport in Ireland and on Premier Sport across Britain.

With the new campaign now less than two weeks away, dates and times have been confirmed for the first eight weeks of action.

There will be no South African representation in the early stages but hopes are rising that some of the stronger teams from the region, that have up until now played Super Rugby instead, might yet be tempted into a Northern Hemisphere orbit.

In total, 14 Monday night fixtures will take place between Rounds 3 and 8 with scheduling aimed at preventing direct clashes with the extended international calendar, allowing fans to put their full support behind club and country.

With the finale of the Guinness Six Nations and the Autumn Nations Cup taking place from October through to early December, the majority of Guinness PRO14 fixtures during this time will take place on Sundays and Mondays.

Rounds 9, 10 and 11 of the Guinness PRO14 will feature the fierce derby matches across the UK, Ireland and Italy and the scheduling for those games will occur in due course.

“In a time of such uncertainty, we are incredibly grateful to our broadcast partners and sponsors for their continued support,” said Martin Anayi, CEO of PRO14 Rugby.

“No business has been unaffected by the pandemic, but the team spirit and willingness displayed by our broadcasters, our title sponsor Guinness and partners such as Gilbert and Macron has really encouraging.”

“Sport is as important as it ever has been in society, our partners recognise that and are keen to play a vital role in keeping rugby front and centre.”

Leinster’s opening fixture against the Dragons will be televised on both eir Sport and TG4 as will Connacht’s opening game on Saturday, October 3rd at home to Glasgow Warriors.