South African teams will not compete as planned in the Rainbow Cup, with the Pro 14 stating there will be a "dual tournament" which sees them play a series of games against each other.

With no formal approval allowing the South African teams to enter the Ireland or the United Kingdom, the competition now has a very different look.

The Pro 14 claim all options for the South African teams to travel to Europe safely were explored and exhausted but South Africa's presence on the red list of the territories involved has made it an impossible task.

They added that they also had "great support of governments and health authorities in all jurisdictions".

The 'northern’ Rainbow Cup will still take place on the dates previously published.

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The fixtures for Rounds 4, 5 and 6 had already been scheduled and provided to clubs, but will now have the South African teams removed and kick-off times may be modified ahead of publishing.

The ‘southern’ tournament will be called Rainbow Cup SA and will include the four South African sides. They are Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and Vodacom Bulls.

In total, 12 venues across the UK, Ireland and Europe were considered as base camps for the South African teams to operate out of or to use as a quarantine destination before entering the UK and Ireland.

South African Rugby also explored another four locations. Further, destinations in the Middle East were also explored as potential hosts for fixtures involving South African teams.

Pro 14 CEO Martin Anayi said: "A staggering volume of work has been undertaken to provide a number of proposals and options to accommodate this – all as we navigated the challenges of the second and third waves of Covid-19 as well as the South African variant which constantly changed the landscape we were operating in.

"Among our unions, our own staff and SA Rugby there is no more that could have been asked in terms of designing plans that were medically sound, however, there has been no perfect solution found in time to allow for South African teams’ entry into our territories.

"Whilst the outcome is clearly different from what we had intended, our relationship and partnership with SA Rugby has been greatly strengthened and enhanced by this experience.

"We are looking forward to the two Rainbow Cup competitions and in due course sharing our intentions about our future partnership that will be boosted by the experiences and project-planning involved to this point ahead of the 2021/22 season.

The full fixture schedule including kick-off times will be released shortly.

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