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DHL Stormers’ 2023/24 Vodacom URC fixtures

PUBLISHED: July 11, 2023


The DHL Stormers’ fixtures for the 2023/23 Vodacom United Rugby Championship campaign have been confirmed.

With 102 days until the new Vodacom United Rugby Championship season kicks off the league has confirmed its fixture schedule in full for the 2023/24 campaign.

This represents the earliest release of the 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.

The DHL Stormers will host the Vodacom Bulls and the Cell C Sharks in two massive year-end Summer Sundowner derbies at DHL Stadium, while the iconic stadium will also play host to the likes of Leinster Ulster and Edinburgh in the new season.

Just like last season fans can download fixtures directly into their devices by using this link:

Vodacom URC Fixtures 2023/24

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.

The DHL Stormers will feature in the first derby of the year as they travel to Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg to face the Emirates Lions.

Vodacom URC champions Munster will begin their title defence on Saturday when they host the Cell C 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 Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers contest the first derby of the year.

In Wales, Dragons will host Edinburgh and Cardiff welcome Benetton to the Arms Park. The following day the Vodacom Bulls take on Scarlets before a clash between two of last season’s Play-Off 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.

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).

The DHL Stormers will take on Glasgow Warriors, Benetton, Munster and Cardiff in their first tour in November and will then travel again in May to face the Dragons and Connacht away.

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 Vodacom 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, Vodacom 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 Vodacom URC’s supplier arrangement with Ligalytics, a German sports scheduling firm who work with many sports including rugby, football, cricket, basketball and hockey.

Martin Anayi, United Rugby Championship CEO, said: “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 Vodacom 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.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you explain the process of how the fixtures are created in the first place?

Once the Vodacom URC rounds within the rugby calendar have been identified clubs are asked to submit any venue restrictions that would require them to play away from home in any particular round. Two-week blocks for travel by northern teams to South Africa are also identified.

Each territory also provides their requests for sequencing of derby games over the Christmas and New Year period. Due to broadcast agreements certain fixtures need to occur in separate rounds and when all factors have been considered they are formulated into rules and conditions using the Ligalytics scheduling software.

The Ligalytics platform allows multiple schedules to be produced in a short amount of time in order to find the best balance of home and away cadence while taking into consideration all of the conditions that are related to venues and broadcast agreements.

A number of fixture lists graded by strength were then presented to the Sports & Regulatory Committee for decision and approval and then shared with our broadcast partners to identify kick-off times.

Are there other conditions or rules that influence the fixture list?

Rules related to fixtures include ensuring that tours to South Africa from teams visiting from the north play two games in succession – meaning they cannot be scheduled across breaks in calendar. For example, a team cannot be scheduled to play in South Africa in the final round before the November Internationals as it would require a second trip to complete their two-game tour a month later.

Likewise, the preference for South African teams is to play three-week tours in Europe so that the need for long-haul travel is reduced. In previous season three tours have occurred, to fit this into two tours the teams from South Africa will do a four-week tour at the start of the season and a two-week tour after the Six Nations window.

From season to season unique requests may also occur due to works taking place at a stadium, other events occurring at the venue or in the local vicinity or a commercial opportunity may arise to play a fixture at a different ground.

How are kick-off times decided?

With seven different broadcasters operating across our five territories mixed across Free to Air (FTA) and Pay TV, it is a demanding process to schedule eight games per weekend that works with available time slots and the preferences of host broadcasters.

The league also has to try and balance the requirements of clubs who have varying kick-off times that suit their local markets. The host broadcaster on each game holds the right to set the kick-off time in a pre-defined time slot although other broadcasters can ask for consideration on a different time if that is suitable.

Where challenges occur is that while Pay TV broadcasters have multiple channels, FTA broadcasters usually only have one and that limits the number of games that can occur in certain time slots. All broadcasters also hold rights to other sports properties and that can also impact channel availability.

Broadcast agreements generally prevent more than two games being scheduled in any one time slot to allow for live coverage in multiple territories or because a broadcaster’s rights may extend to a specific time slot. FTA broadcasters in the same country will not compete with each other so for example on Fridays, two Irish teams cannot play at the same time and two Welsh teams cannot play at the same time.

This is a general rule also applied in South Africa with their four teams. All of this is considered during a group meeting with all broadcasters present and when all kick-off times are decided it is presented back to the SRC committee and clubs for final review.

What other factors have an impact on scheduling of rounds or kick-off times?

Clubs may have restrictions around venue availability for a number of reasons at certain times of the year. Teams that share grounds with football or other sports teams may have to avoid certain weekends or may only have one day in a weekend with access to the stadium.

Turnaround times are also a big factor in ensuring teams have enough time to recover and prepare for their next fixture and six-day turnarounds are the shortest that generally occur. Five-day turnarounds on fixtures are avoided unless absolutely necessary and agreed by the clubs involved. This list is not exhaustive, but should provide some clarity on the various factors at play when it comes to scheduling.

How do home and away fixtures work, my team is playing away to the same team two seasons in a row?

Teams will play all non-Shield opponents once a season. Over each two-year period they will face those teams once at home and once away. The fixture list for 2021/22 was reversed for 22/23 and entering 2023/24, the home and away sequencing starts afresh.

This means some teams who were away versus a non-Shield opponent last season, may be away again in 2023/24 but they will then be at home the following season in 2024/25.

Who are Ligalytics?

Since 2022, the URC has used the Ligalytics scheduling platform which provides a custom made solution for the league which is built on sophisticated algorithms. Their advanced platform is used the German Football Federation, Bundesliga and the IPL with the URC standing as one of three clients in rugby alongside LNR and EPCR.

2023/24 Vodacom United Rugby Championship Fixtures

Round One

Saturday, October 21
Zebre Parma v Ulster | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Connacht v Ospreys | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
Emirates Lions v DHL Stormers | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Dragons RFC v Edinburgh | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Cardiff Rugby v Benetton | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Munster v Cell C Sharks | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA

Sunday, October 22
Vodacom Bulls v Scarlets | 14.00 IRE & UK / 15.00
Glasgow Warriors v Leinster | 16.00 IRE & UK / 17.00

Round Two

Saturday, October 28
Ospreys v Zebre Parma | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
DHL Stormers v Scarlets | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
Leinster v Cell C Sharks | 16.55 IRE & UK / 17.55 ITA & SA
Edinburgh v Emirates Lions | 17.00 IRE & UK / 18.00 ITA & SA

Sunday, October 29
Benetton v Munster | 14.00 IRE & UK / 15.00 ITA & SA
Dragons RFC v Cardiff Rugby | 14.30 IRE & UK / 15.30 ITA & SA
Ulster v Vodacom Bulls | 17.00 IRE & UK / 18.00 ITA & SA

Round Three

Friday, November 3
Glasgow Warriors v DHL Stormers | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Ospreys v Cell C Sharks | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, November 4
Zebre Parma v Vodacom Bulls | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Leinster v Edinburgh | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA
Scarlets v Cardiff Rugby | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Munster v Dragons RFC | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Connacht v Ulster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Sunday, November 5
Benetton v Emirates Lions | 13.30 IRE & UK / 14.30 ITA / 15.30 SA

Round Four

Friday, November 10
Zebre Parma v Cell C Sharks | 17.30 IRE & UK / 18.30 ITA / 19.30 SA
Cardiff Rugby v Vodacom Bulls | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Ulster v Munster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, November 11
Benetton v DHL Stormers | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Scarlets v Emirates Lions | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Edinburgh v Connacht | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Sunday, November 12
Dragons RFC v Leinster | 13.15 IRE & UK / 14.15 ITA / 15.15 SA

Round Five

Friday, November 17
Edinburgh v Vodacom Bulls | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Ulster v Emirates Lions | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Zebre Parma v Cardiff Rugby | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, November 18
Cell C Sharks v Connacht | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Dragons RFC v Ospreys | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Munster v DHL Stormers | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Leinster v Scarlets | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Glasgow Warriors v Benetton | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35

Round Six

Friday, November 24
Cardiff Rugby v DHL Stormers | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Edinburgh v Benetton | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, November 25
Emirates Lions v Zebre Parma | 12.55 IRE & UK / 13.55 ITA / 14.55 SA
Vodacom Bulls v Connacht | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Cell C Sharks v Dragons RFC | 17.05 IRE & UK / 18.05 ITA / 19.05 SA
Leinster v Munster | 18.30 IRE & UK / 19.30 ITA / 20.30 SA
Glasgow Warriors v Ulster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Sunday, November 26
Ospreys v Scarlets | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA

Round Seven

Friday, December 1
Munster v Glasgow Warriors | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, December 2
Vodacom Bulls v Cell C Sharks | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Cardiff Rugby v Scarlets | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Emirates Lions v Dragons RFC | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA
DHL Stormers v Zebre Parma | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Ulster v Edinburgh | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Connacht v Leinster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Benetton v Ospreys | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Round Eight

Friday, December 22
Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Ulster v Connacht | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, December 23
Zebre Parma v Benetton | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
DHL Stormers v Vodacom Bulls | 17.00 IRE & UK / 18.00 ITA / 19.00 SA

Tuesday, December 26
Cardiff Rugby v Dragons RFC | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Scarlets v Ospreys | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Munster v Leinster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, January 6
Cell C Sharks v Emirates Lions | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA

Round Nine

Saturday, December 30
Benetton v Zebre Parma | 13.30 IRE & UK / 14.30 ITA / 15.30 SA
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
DHL Stormers v Cell C Sharks | 17.00 IRE & UK / 18.00 ITA / 19.00 SA

Monday, January 1
Ospreys v Cardiff Rugby | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Dragons RFC v Scarlets | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Leinster v Ulster | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Connacht v Munster | TBC

Saturday, January 27
Vodacom Bulls v Emirates Lions | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA

Round 10

Friday, February 16
Scarlets v Munster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Zebre Parma v Edinburgh | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, February 17
Emirates Lions v Vodacom Bulls | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Leinster v Benetton | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Cell C Sharks v DHL Stormers | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA
Cardiff Rugby v Connacht | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons RFC | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Sunday, February 18
Ospreys v Ulster | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA

Round 11

Friday, March 1
Edinburgh v Ospreys | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Munster v Zebre Parma | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, March 2
Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Benetton v Glasgow Warriors | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
Vodacom Bulls v DHL Stormers | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA
Connacht v Scarlets | 17.05 IRE & UK / 18.05 ITA / 19.05 SA
Cardiff Rugby v Leinster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Ulster v Dragons RFC | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Round 12

Friday, March 22
Glasgow Warriors v Cardiff Rugby | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Ospreys v Munster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, March 23
Cell C Sharks v Ulster | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Scarlets v Benetton | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA / 17.00 SA
DHL Stormers v Edinburgh | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA
Connacht v Emirates Lions | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Zebre Parma v Leinster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Dragons RFC v Vodacom Bulls 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Round 13

Friday, March 29
Dragons RFC v Zebre Parma | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Leinster v Vodacom Bulls | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Saturday, March 30
Benetton v Connacht | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Cell C Sharks v Edinburgh | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA / 15.00 SA
Ospreys v Emirates Lions | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA / 17.05 SA
DHL Stormers v Ulster | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA / 19.15 SA
Munster v Cardiff Rugby | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA
Scarlets v Glasgow Warriors | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA / 21.35 SA

Round 14

Friday, April 19
Ulster v Cardiff Rugby | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Glasgow Warriors v Cell C Sharks | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Saturday, April 15
Emirates Lions v Leinster | 14.00 IRE & UK / 15.00 ITA & SA
Benetton v Dragons RFC | 14.00 IRE & UK / 15.00 ITA & SA
Vodacom Bulls v Munster | 16.05 IRE & UK / 17.05 ITA & SA
DHL Stormers v Ospreys | 18.15 IRE & UK / 19.15 ITA & SA
Connacht v Zebre Parma | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Edinburgh v Scarlets | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Round 15

Friday, April 26
Scarlets v Cell C Sharks | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Ulster v Benetton | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Saturday, April 27
Zebre Parma v Glasgow Warriors | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Vodacom Bulls v Ospreys | 14.00 IRE & UK / 15.00 ITA & SA
Cardiff Rugby v Edinburgh | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Emirates Lions v Munster | 16.00 IRE & UK / 17.00 ITA & SA
DHL Stormers v Leinster | 18.05 IRE & UK / 19.05 ITA & SA
Dragons RFC v Connacht | 20.00 IRE & UK / 21.00 ITA & SA

Round 16

Friday, May 10
Dragons RFC v DHL Stormers | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Edinburgh v Zebre Parma | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Saturday, May 11
Vodacom Bulls v Glasgow Warriors | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Cell C Sharks v Benetton | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Scarlets v Ulster | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Emirates Lions v Cardiff Rugby | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Munster v Connacht | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Leinster v Ospreys | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Round 17

Friday, May 17
Zebre Parma v Scarlets | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Edinburgh v Munster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Saturday, May 18
Vodacom Bulls v Benetton | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Ospreys v Dragons RFC | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
Emirates Lions v Glasgow Warriors | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Connacht v DHL Stormers | 17.05 IRE & UK / 18.05 ITA & SA
Cell C Sharks v Cardiff Rugby | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Ulster v Leinster | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Round 18

Friday, May 31
Glasgow Warriors v Zebre Parma | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA
Leinster v Connacht | 19.35 IRE & UK / 20.35 ITA & SA

Saturday, June 1
Benetton v Edinburgh | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
DHL Stormers v Emirates Lions | 13.00 IRE & UK / 14.00 ITA & SA
Scarlets v Dragons RFC | 15.00 IRE & UK / 16.00 ITA & SA
Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Bulls | 15.05 IRE & UK / 16.05 ITA & SA
Cardiff Rugby v Ospreys | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA
Munster v Ulster | 17.15 IRE & UK / 18.15 ITA & SA

Quarter Final

Friday, June 7
TBC
Saturday, June 8
TBC

Semi Final

Saturday, June 15
TBC

Grand Final

Saturday, June 22
TBC